Symposium opens doors to Indigenous architecture

The contributions of Indigenous architecture to contemporary places, cultures and architectural practise will be the focus of a symposium at the State Library of Queensland today.

Led by The University of Queensland, the Indigenous Architecture Transforming and Transformed Symposium will feature contributors to the recently published Handbook of Contemporary Indigenous Architecture.

UQ School of Architecture senior lecturer and co-editor Dr Kelly Greenop said the event would create discussion and analysis around the latest developments and best practice in Indigenous architecture.

“We want to educate practitioners about ways to develop good partnerships with Indigenous communities in order to produce appropriate and effective designs,” she said.

“The symposium brings together important Indigenous voices already active in this field, from Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada and the Pacific Islands.

“It is rare and significant to have so many Indigenous architectural practitioners and scholars in one room, and it’s very exciting.

“We also want to encourage more Indigenous people to study architecture, bring their voices to the field and express their perspectives on Country and culture through architecture.”

Important buildings for Indigenous communities, such as cultural centres, schools, health facilities and courtrooms, will be discussed at the symposium by Indigenous and non-Indigenous presenters.

“There are comparatively fewer Indigenous architects in Australia, with only about 35 Indigenous people equipped with an architecture degree,” Dr Greenop said.

“This is despite an ongoing national conversation about if and how Indigenous identities in architecture could or should be used to address historical wrongs, as we’ve seen attempted in recent buildings in Australia and around the world.”

Dr Greenop said demand for the book demonstrated there was a global desire to learn more about architecture created by and with Indigenous people.

Caption: photo above – Co-editor and UQ Adjunct Associate Professor Elizabeth Grant with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

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