On Country in the colony: reflections on relationality for designers
1 Formal CPD Point
Live webinar event 12:00-13:00 AEDT Thursday 23 November 2023
While humans have always actively designed the built environment, settlers occupying the continent now called Australia have dramatically transformed and interrupted systems of place, causing significant damage to peoples and ecologies. The revised National Standards of Competency for Architects, 2021, presents an opportunity to reflect carefully on our roles and responsibilities to peoples and place in our work on Aboriginal Country – everywhere on this vast continent. Engaging with critical Indigenous thinkers and designers, how do we understand the invitation to learn to live more lawfully in this place, acknowledging connections to and understanding of Country that stretch over 80,000 years of culture, or since time immemorial? Patrick Wolfe’s theorisation of Settler colonialism – the settlers have come to stay - gives us a framework to reflect upon our inheritance of the settler colonial project, as we collectively grapple with the consequences of the injustices of the past and present, and face the challenges of the future including climate and biodiversity emergency. The past, present and future are connected – how we decide to act now has consequences that reach through time.
This talk addresses non-Indigenous designers who are seeking a more ethical practice on Aboriginal Country, in relationship with First Peoples, picking up on the non-Indigenous responsibility to engage. It asks how do we engage with First People’s ontologies of Country without continuing the violence and erasure that is our colonial legacy?
Image: Wunggurrwil Dhurrung; Phographer: Peter Bennetts; used with permission