Following NAIDOC week in 2021 that centered on the theme of ‘Heal Country,’ Arcadia has collaborated with cultural leaders and experts to craft the research report, Shaping Country: Cultural Engagement in Australia’s Built Environment.
Budawang/Yuin researcher and spatial and cultural designer Dr Danièle Hromek and Yuin woman Kaylie Salvatori, Arcadia’s Indigenous Landscape Strategist, developed the report following NAIDOC week which concluded on the 11th of July.
‘Heal Country!’ called for the Australian community to put forth their support and protection to our environment, sacred sites, and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration and destruction. According to NAIDOC, our nation must recognise and take action to protect our country as something that is alive, and enriching us spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and culturally.
Moreover, NAIDOC is imploring Australians to recognise, protect and maintain First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia's heritage, and respect the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders as they do the cultures and values of all Australians.
The report aims to inspire a conversation and action to be taken in regard to the lack of Aboriginal values, traditions, and heritage in Australia’s built environment. Instead, it has been used as a tool for colonisation, displacement of First Peoples and is perpetuated by design professionals.
Despite a noticeable increase in the industry over recent years, with awareness, acknowledgment, and action, the report calls for further amendments to be made. Some of the key points include;
The value of an Indigenous-led and Country-centred approach to design
How we can increase collaboration with First Nations Knowledge Holders on individual projects
The importance of Indigenous representation within the industry as a whole
And a responsibility to ensure ongoing economic engagement with First Nations communities.
Significant strides in the design field to celebrate and incorporate Aboriginal heritage have resulted in changes to the Design Guide for Schools, and a new guide for the Healthcare sector that includes discourse on the need for Indigenous-led design.
Read the report here.