Slattery invited Greenshoot Consulting to our Melbourne office today to present on embedding Indigenous culture into place-making and design.  Presented by Jefa Greenway, one of Victoria’s only registered Indigenous architect and Theo Gouskos, Greenshoot’s Managing Director, this was a thought provoking discussion on the benefits of Indigenous engagement in the early phase of design, using the case-study of University of Melbourne’s New Student Precinct, demonstrating their four pillars to drive the conversation: Connection to Country, Connection to People, Art and Artefacts, Living Memory and History.

One of the strongest responses from students who were consulted in the design process was for Living Memory and History, normalising Indigenous culture into the everyday,  which manifests in multiple ways such as dual language wayfinding signage, reinstatement of water courses including eel and frog ponds, ceremonial spaces, transparency of materials, renaming of buildings as well as through procurement, to bring Indigenous people and culture to the fore.

Jefa also discussed his involvement in and the development of the important resource, the Indigenous Design Charter – both Australian and International versions, which is a self-regulated, professional best practice guide that aims to encourage a climate of learning through active practice, and promote understanding among the practitioners clients and the buyers of design including governments, corporations, businesses and not-for-profit organisations. The cultural protocols included in the Charter recognise the diverse cultures and traditions of international indigenous worldwide and suggests that appropriate representation of Indigenous peoples is best achieved when effective and respectful partnerships are established between relevant stakeholders.

The Charters have been officially endorsed by Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria (IADV) and peak professional design bodies, the  Design Institute of Australia (DIA) and the International Council of Design (ico-D).

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