Associate Professor Ian McShane

Ian McShane is a Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University's Centre for Urban Research. His research focuses on informal and formal education systems (especially museums, libraries and schools), local infrastructure and community services, and digital technologies.

Ian is currently researching shared use community infrastructure and service co-ordination, the development of publicly accessible wireless networks in Australia and internationally, and the representational politics of cultural diversity in Australian museums. Ian has had a long involvement with the Australian museum sector, working as a senior curator at the National Museum of Australia and consulting to other levels of government on museums and culture.

In 2013 Ian was appointed to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network external evaluation panel.

Expert commentary on...

Cultural heritage and institutions, especially museums; Social infrastructure; Informal education systems; Public policy and public management.

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Related Content


Planning for the 21st Century Municipal Markets in Victoria

2020 (ongoing)

The aim of this project is to draw on local and international expertise to develop and disseminate new models and planning guidelines for 21st century municipal markets in Victoria.

Democratic Urban Development in the Digital Age (DEMUDIG)


This international research project is examining citizens’ use of the Internet and social media to participate in urban development processes, and city governments’ efforts to engage and respond to citizens through these channels.

Building Connections: Schools as Community Hubs


Building Connections is investigating how best to plan, design, govern and manage schools to operate successfully as ‘more than a school’, encouraging the development of resilient and connected communities.

Representing Multicultural Australia in National and State Libraries

2018 (ongoing)

The project aims to investigate the representation of histories and cultures of migrants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in the National Library and select state library collections.

Collecting Institutions, cultural diversity and the making of citizenship in Australia since the 1970s


This project will analyse the innovative role played by the Australian collecting sector in documenting, promoting and managing cultural diversity.

Opportunity Spaces – Schools as Community Hubs


This project looks at renewed interest in developing schools as community hubs, analysing policy and practical dimensions of opening up schools for wider community use.

Practicing Safe Public Wi-Fi: Assessing and Managing Data and Security Risks


This project will produce the first Australian analysis of public Wi-Fi use, and the security and legal risks associated with the use patterns of public networks.

Analysing the Social and Economic Value of Community Playgroups


Community playgroups (CPs) are unique in Australia’s early years education and care environment. This project fills knowledge and policy gaps by appraising the social and economic value of CPs.

Public Wi-Fi as Urban Infrastructure – the Australian Case


This project is researching the current surge in government, market and community investment in public Wi-Fi in Australia.

Where do the Children Play? Facilities and Venues for Community Playgroups


This project analyses trends in the provision and management of community facilities impacting on the organisation of community playgroups in Australia.

News & Blog


Councils often ignore residents on social media. How can digital platforms ensure they have a say in planning?

16 June 2020

Local governments across Australia are mandated to consult their residents on urban development issues. They are increasingly using digital platforms to do this.


Footy is back, but what will it look like for die-hard fans during a global pandemic?

10 June 2020

As AFL fans across the country get excited for the return of footy on Thursday night, there is still an air of nervous anticipation as to what lies ahead. How do we enjoy our national sport in a time of COVID-19?


Meet Jodie Boyd: Expert in cultural history and policy

24 February 2020

What role do libraries have in the 21st century in shaping our national narrative? Dr Jodie Boyd explains how libraries are vital to preserving our story as a multicultural society.


Why public Wi-Fi? The rise of public networks in Australia

10 August 2018

Investment in public Wi-Fi provision by Australian local government authorities (LGAs) has surged in recent years. But why do LGAs choose to operate public networks, and what are these networks used for?


August 2018 edition of The Urban Observer out now

09 August 2018

With Australia’s population reaching 25 million this month, the liveability of our cities has become critically important for our national prosperity and sustainability.


Remaking Cities: 14th Urban History Planning History Conference Proceedings

30 May 2018

Remaking Cities was the theme of the 14th Urban History Planning History conference, a biennial and multi-disciplinary gathering of scholars and practitioners with interests in the histories of cities and urban planning.


Bright lights, smart city: Connecting our cities to a wireless future

18 May 2018

In recent years, Australian municipal governments have significantly expanded their investment in digital infrastructure and services, adding to their responsibility for physical infrastructure and community services.


Rethinking the relationship between educational and urban planning

18 August 2017

New research by RMIT academics calls for education and planning authorities to widen current policy discussion over the community use of school facilities and rethink how schools engage with their urban surroundings.


Public WiFi users choose convenience over cybersecurity: report

21 December 2016

Around two million Australians are risking data breaches each day doing their banking and conducting other financial transactions on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, a new study has found.


Playgroups offer vital support for mothers and benefits for community

19 May 2016

Community playgroups have significant social and economic benefits not just for children but also for their parents, particularly mothers, according to new research.


Playgroups offer vital support for mothers and benefits for community

19 May 2016

Community playgroups have significant social and economic benefits not just for children but also for their parents, particularly mothers, according to new research.


Researchers explore benefits of free public WiFi

25 March 2015

The Victorian free public WiFi initiative is an unknown commodity but the potential benefits could be great for all Victorians, according to RMIT researchers.


Delving into diversity


Rethinking Urban Schools

Jeffrey S. Brooks, Associate Professor Ian McShane, Tricia McLaughlin

RMIT Centre for Urban Research

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Public-Private Partnerships in Municipal Wi-Fi: Optimising Public Value

Association for Computing Machinery