Dr Kaja Antlej is a Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design and CADET Virtual Reality Lab Researcher – Museums/Heritage at the School of Engineering, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

Kaja’s interests lie in the intersection of human-centered design, museums/heritage, extended reality (XR) – virtual/augmented/mixed reality and 3D printing, space (space heritage, human exploration, newspace), futures thinking and entrepreneurship.

She has an MSc in Industrial Design (2008, 3D printing and 3D scanning) and a PhD in Museum and Heritage Studies (2013, VR/AR, serious games and 3D printing for museum exhibitions), both from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Between 2013 and 2014 Kaja was an EVS – European Voluntary Service volunteer in Rabat/Casablanca, Morocco, and completed an EU-funded 4-month entrepreneurship accelerator at RRA LUR – Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region in Slovenia. In 2015, Kaja completed her Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Canberra, funded by the Australian Government.

Kaja is an alumna of the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program 2021 (SHSSP21) at the International Space University and the University of South Australia. and is involved in several space-related associations including IAF ITTACUS, AIAA, SIAA and Space Renaissance.

She has been involved in various projects including NMC Horizon Reports (Museum Edition 2015, 2016), eCultValue (EC FP7), and ViMM – Virtual Multimodal Museum TA2.2 (EC Horizon 2020). At Deakin University, Dr Antlej is one of the initiators and leading researchers of the #TheLittleLProject, and #GeelongInventions, both aligned with Geelong’s recent designation as a UNESCO City of Design.

Recently, she has initiated a research project exploring how museums and heritage institutions could support the mental health and wellbeing of astronauts on long-duration space missions including on space stations, the Moon and Mars through AI-supported meaningful extended reality experiences for meditation and exercise purposes. More here.

Dr Kaja Antlej is the Co-founder and President of the SAAA – Slovenian Australian Academic Association, a member of VTIS – Association of Slovenes Educated Abroad and one of the mentors in the ASEF – American Slovenian Education Foundation Fellowship Program.

She is also a member of several museum and heritage associations including ICOM, AMaGA, Interpret Europe, AAM, and MuseWeb.