The Studio as Advocacy, Entrepreneurship and the Development of a Social Consciousness: A Design Project on Aboriginal Lands


Authors
Dr Steve Burroughs, University of Canberra
Dr Scott Heyes, University of Canberra

Abstract

This paper explores the studio experience of a University of Canberra landscape architecture subject that was partially undertaken in the field at the Aboriginal community of Cherbourg, Queensland, Australia. The twelve week studio program, which began in March 2013, required fifteen senior undergraduate students to develop design concepts for a proposed material recycling facility on the fringes of the Cherbourg community. Working together with Aboriginal community partners, and based on a design brief provided by the local Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council, a design studio was formulated that was framed on the concepts of design as advocacy and entrepreneurship, and how the design process can lead to the development of a social consciousness amongst designers. This paper explains the context of the studio, experiences in the field, and the educational benefits of the design collaboration to the students and the Aboriginal community itself. Further, the paper highlights the challenges of maintaining field-based studios in the face of the academy leaning towards the delivery of landscape architecture design content online.

Keywords

landscape architecture, studio, fieldwork, advocacy, Cherbourg

Introduction

The new landscape architecture double-degree course structure at the University of Canberra offers studio experiences in the final year of study that relate to the research activities of the teaching staff. Connecting teaching to research is part of a broader pedagogical strategy that is being adopted across the University and most other Universities in Australia. Accordingly, the Cherbourg design studio that features in this paper was generated to align with the research interests and activities of the authors, viz, Indigenous knowledge systems, Indigenous design methods, and Indigenous understandings of landscape. With the first author  commissioned by the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council to produce a detailed master plan of a material recycling facility for the community, he subsequently approached the University to develop a studio that provided scope for students to contribute to the design development of the facility.

To make the studio expectations manageable, students were required to develop refined concepts of the facility, and to conduct research and write about Indigenous concepts of recycling, as well as non-Indigenous methods of recycling that might be applicable to the Cherbourg context. Ultimately, the studio required students to develop concepts that were deeply connected to research about the people of Cherbourg, their current recycling practices, and the capacity for the community to independently operate a recycling facility that would add to enterprises activities in Cherbourg. While the studio had practical purposes such that students develop their design skills, conceptually, the studio aimed to promote how landscape architecture has the opportunity to help Aboriginal communities develop businesses and new employment prospects. Developing a studio framed around design problems in an Aboriginal community might not represent a typical landscape architecture studio, but as we will expand upon, such studios offer young design students the opportunity
to consider the altruistic nature of design, and how collaborating with Aboriginal communities can help to broaden the scope and skillset of landscape architecture practice.

Context of the Studio Site

Cherbourg is a remote and small Aboriginal community with a population of approximately 1200 people. It is situated about 250 km northwest of Brisbane in  Queensland, Australia. The proposed site for the material recycling facility is on the northern edge of the township, on the grounds of a defunct cattle farm that straddles the ephemeral Barambah Creek. The town includes a community radio station, a large school, college, hospital, art gallery, museum, and several other services. In recent years, the community has tried to establish major enterprises in an effort to lift employment figures, most of which have been unsuccessful. This includes a major abattoir, emu farm, and a mud-brick tourist resort. The closure of these enterprises has meant that the community has become ambivalent and sceptical about the merits and viability of new ventures; the material recycling facility project being no exception.

Supporting the creation of the recycling project on this occasion, however, was the Australian Government Department of Indigenous Business Australia  (IBA), whose mandate is to: “…provide the means for Indigenous Australians to create wealth and accumulate assets, take up investment opportunities, create business enterprises that provide additional employment opportunities, and purchase homes.” The financial support of IBA to see the project to the operational stage meant that the project was taken seriously by the Cherbourg community, the original proponents of the idea to establish a recycling facility in their township. To our knowledge, it appears that the proposed recycling facility in Cherbourg would represent the first major facility of its kind in an Aboriginal community in Australia. The landscape architecture students’ engagement in this project meant that they were participating in a ground-breaking and innovative venture, which had the potential to provide a model for implementing recycling facilities in other Aboriginal communities across Australia. The project had all the trappings of an exciting and educationally-rich studio: innovation, field work, collaboration, cultural exchange of knowledge, and the ability for the design product to make a substantial difference to the social and financial wellbeing of a community.

Operationalising an “Atypical” Studio

In landscape architecture, fieldwork is a necessary and integral component of the studio experience, yet it not always incorporated into studio programs. Admittedly, the ability to carry out fieldwork in studios is often constrained by budgets, staffing shortages, university fieldtrip policies, and the logistical challenges of organising time away. Funding support from Indigenous Business Australia, augmented by students contributing personal funds, made a fieldtrip to Cherbourg possible for one week. The field component of the studio was also made possible through in-kind contributions from the University of Canberra and the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council. Upon arriving in Cherbourg students were introduced to key members of the community as well as those made responsible for the design and implementation of recycling facility. This introduction included a guided tour of the community and surrounds. As customary, the staff explained the nature of the student visit on the community radio, which was broadcast the day of arrival. Importantly, students were also provided with cultural awareness training (comprising exercises, listening to elders, watching historic footage, and Q&A discussions), which was conducted by local members of the community who operate the local museum. This meant that before any design discussions occurred in the field, student’s had been given a comprehensive account of the history of the community, the protocols and ethics of working in Indigenous communities, and the cultural sensitivities of working in Aboriginal contexts. For most students in the class, which comprised of fifteen Australian born students and three international students from China, this was the first time that they had contact with Aboriginal Australia. The cultural awareness training, and meeting and greeting Aboriginal representatives in the community, was a profound learning experience to them. The tours of the community provided by the local representatives also gave the students an opportunity to realise the social and rural planning challenges that Cherbourg faces on a day-to-day basis.

Contextualising the Cherbourg Studio Experience

Students of landscape architecture tend to do most of their work in the design studio. In this environment they work collaboratively and individually to generate concepts, drawings, models, and reports. This work is conducted under the supervision of academic staff augmented from time to time by various types of guest including professionals, industry specialists, and other invited experts. “Studio” is considered to be a highly valued and key element in the learning experience of students in the disciplines of art, architecture, and design. However, an extensive study conducted during 2007–2009 with the support of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, entitled the “Studio Teaching Project” (STP), found that in the Australian education sector, the term “studio” takes on a variety of “intentions and meaning between disciplines, across disciplines and within disciplines” (Zehner et al., 2013, p.8). In other words, there is not necessarily a common or shared understanding of the concept conveyed by this term.

The aim of the STP was to identify and investigate the circumstances and characteristics of “studio” in the relevant disciplines, through a detailed literature review, a survey of academic staff in those disciplines (completed by 352 academics and 28 Heads of School from 19 Australian universities), and an examination of case studies exemplifying effective practice in teaching and learning. The STP summarized the findings to define “studio” in the educational context as being “regarded as a mode of learning through action and making. This process forms the basis of an investigative and creative process which is driven by research, exploration, and experimentation; making and constructing; and critique and reflection.” (Zehner et al., 2013, p.vi). The STP further identified studio as constituting one or more of the following four learning constructs (based partly on Schon, 1987): “A culture, a creative community created by a group of students and studio teachers working together for periods of time; a mode of teaching and learning where students and studio teachers interact in a creative and reflective process; a programme of projects and activities where content is structured to enable ‘learning in action’; and a physical space or constructed environment in which the teaching and learning can take place..” (Zehner et al., 2013, p.8).

In light of the multiple constructions and meanings of “studio,” we regarded the Cherbourg as a studio-field dyad, a form of classification that refers to the conceptual connection between studio and fieldwork. Such studio experiences are designed to offer holistic education, where the dyads of teaching and learning, studio and field, and university and community are mutually connected, each supporting the integrity of the other. Students engaged in studio-field dyad teaching programs, as in the case of the Cherbourg project, typically develop well-rounded skills that help to equip them for their careers and for contributing to society. If we were to describe the studio-field dyad with respect to the results of the Studio Teaching Project, it would appear that the studio would be identified as a composite of the “project” and “travel” models (Zehner et al., 2013). In the project model, the studio project is generally established as a brief by an academic staff member or (usually fictional) client. The project directs students to discover, integrate, and construct knowledge and ideas, and emphasis is placed on “bridging between the imaginative and conceptual, the material and formal…and activities that encourage students to develop techniques for identifying and negotiating competing demands.” Zehner et al., 2013, p..29). In contrast, the travel model involves teaching and learning in an unfamiliar environment/setting, with students being exposed to the exemplars of the discipline, being prepared for working in a complex world and in cross-cultural contexts (Zehner et al., 2013, p.32). Zehner et al. (2013) also refer to this as “the global studio educational strategy…a situated approach based on dialogue” (p.32) that involves learning through doing and an appreciation of difference.

Pragmatically, the Cherbourg studio-field dyad was framed around a subject called Landscape Architecture Research Studio 1. The aims and objectives of the subject are to train students to select and apply appropriate research methodologies, understand design principles, and articulate how these may be applied in design projects. Further, the subject teaches students how to critically engage with landscape issues in a self-directed manner, through studio and field-based activities around a single themed project. For the subject itself, students undertook a longitudinal study in which groups and individuals identified and researched specific  landscape themes, including: design typologies, planning, ecology, and interdisciplinary issues and opportunities. With support from the academic staff, students selected and applied research methodologies and analytical techniques that enabled them to describe, assess, and interpret the Cherbourg site. This research process formed the basis for their conceptual design propositions. The design-by-research approach that
students received through the studio also encouraged and fostered them to develop the qualities of critical thinking, curiosity, and reflective practice –key attributes to the building blocks of young designers. This approach enabled students to use foresight, initiative, and leadership, and to be open to alternative perspectives. Such experiences are viewed as being important for encouraging graduates in their future careers to continue to learn and thrive in environments of complexity, ambiguity, and change. Importantly, generic skills that this subject instilled include: communication, analysis and enquiry, problem-solving, working independently and with others, and professionalism and social responsibility.

Background to the Material Recycling Facility on Aboriginal Lands

Remote indigenous communities in Australia regard the disposal of rubbish as something that “just happens”. In contrast to the way in which waste is treated in non-Indigenous Australian cities and towns, in these remote communities there is very little awareness about recycling or supporting the environment by not disposing of materials into a landfill. Cherbourg is a remote Indigenous community that has taken waste collection to its limits considering the resources that the community has at its disposal. The Cherbourg community was instrumental in applying for and receiving a grant to purchase its own rubbish collection truck and also kerbside bins for every resident in Cherbourg. The bins have become a central part of waste collection in the community. At present, however, there is no recycling programme in Cherbourg, meaning all household recycling waste that has been placed in recycling-specific bins is still ending up in landfill.

In 2009, the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council (CASC) developed a working agreement and relationship with the Packaging Stewardship Forum (PSF), an organisation that supports recycling, litter reduction, and educational programmes, to help reduce litter and start a recycling scheme in Cherbourg. As part of this agreement, Cherbourg conducted two highly successful community clean-up days, which led to the introduction of additional measures regarding rubbish and recycling into the community. In addition to the residents’ participation in removing public litter, the local tip was redesigned to set aside a dedicated recycling collection area, improved signage, and a secure compound with fencing. The CASC education programme and community plan encompassed the financial, social, and environmental rewards associated with recycling. This plan was developed with the support of Commonwealth Government of Australia’s, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), which allowed an easier transition to the supported
resource recovery issues within the Shire.

As part of a continued recycling and resource recovery programme within CASC in 2010, FaHCSIA supported the kerbside recycling services waste collection with the funding to purchase a collection vehicle and to investigate the possibility of sorting and baling of collectable comingled materials for processing and selling to the market place. In addition to the funding provided by FaHCSIA, the PSF in partnership with the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management provided funding to upgrade and configure an existing building on a site identified by the CASC to become the material recycling facility. The proposed site supported by the CASC has been used for different types of activities, including a storage place for animal feed and equipment. The block is large and currently has nine permanent structures on it, two transportable structures, one being an ablution block and the other an office space. There is also a concrete water tank and hopper loading area. The site is located about 500 m on the outskirt of Cherbourg, with a bitumen road leading to the site.

The proposed material recycling facility (MRF) is a specialised plant that has been earmarked to receive, separate, and prepare recyclable comingled materials for marketing to end-user manufacturers. Dr Steve  Burroughs was engaged by Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) in 2012 to visit Cherbourg and assess the site and existing buildings with respect to the possibility of converting them to an MRF as part of the recycling plan set out for Cherbourg. This pre-design study (Burroughs, 2012) also examined aspects of recycling in the community and an indicative planning schedule of key tasks to operationalise the facility. The schedule included six stages, namely, site assessment, development of design/plans and execution of waste audit, costing, tendering, construction and preparation for operation, and operation. A scoping study and a fuller feasibility study of the MRF have also both been prepared (Howorth, 2013).

The Student Project: Designing a Material Recycling Facility Plant

As a case study, the studio explored the recycling plant being proposed for the Indigenous community of Cherbourg, Queensland. At the time of running the studio programme, the real-life MRF project in Cherbourg was at the scoping phase, and required further study and design ideas for the project to proceed. Through studio consultations with the architect who had been commissioned to realise the project, along with research on aspects of recycling and design, together with a fieldtrip to Cherbourg, the students were required to develop a major report and concept design that related to the design and operation of the recycling facility at  Cherbourg.

Over the course of the semester, students completed three design research projects that built on each other. The first projects reviewed literature on material recycling facilities in Australia with a particular focus on  rural/remote region operations. The second project occurred at the Cherbourg Aboriginal community. The students participated in a field trip to Cherbourg, including meetings with the local community leaders and a visit to the proposed material recycling facility (MRF) site, at the end of February 2013. Students documented the field trip with their experiences, reflections, design ideas, and discussions with members of the community in relation to the project. While the students were on site in Cherbourg they were able to attend cultural awareness training, speak with locals in the street, at meetings, and on radio, and have access to the mayor and CEO of the CASC. During the field trip the students generated a concept design for the MRF at the site-scale that incorporated all the necessary design elements for the facility to function in a feasible manner.

The third project included a refinement of the design and research elements, the production of a report, and an oral presentation. The design elements included: A staged design approach that considered budgetary  constraints; a wetland system; access to the MRF site (road designs, turning circles, load capacity, and parking); a flow diagram of materials associated with the processing of the MRF; an investigation of recycling  equipment required and possible design of bespoke equipment; retrofitting of infrastructure to suit MRF functions, and a planting design and circulation plan.

Under the direction and supervision of UC academic staff, students developed refined concepts that took into account the nature of the brief. The exposure to the onsite buildings, landscape, and community provided the students with necessary information that allowed them to capture the requirements for the facility with respect to the constraints of the site and in accordance with the client’s needs. The students’ work indicated that they had understood the project objectives, and they showed confidence in their roles and responsibilities that had been placed on them via the client brief.

 Reflections on the Student Experience

The field component of the studio provided a rare opportunity for students to be exposed to the problems faced by Indigenous communities. Many Australia-born students in the class had limited knowledge of rural Australia let alone Aboriginal Australia. The field experience also gave students a sense of the challenges of operating in remote locations – the field trip itinerary was significantly adjusted during the five days in the field due to severe flooding conditions, which restricted movement outside of the community for the entire duration of the trip. Being exposed to a major natural event allowed for greater discussions about the ecology of the region, the resilience of the people, and the real need for the student’s conceptual designs to withstand the elements. It is always difficult to gauge student impressions of studio experiences immediately after the completion of the studio itself, as it often takes time for the values embedded in studios to be internalised and appreciated by the students – sometimes years later. Formal feedback from many of the students, however, suggest that the chance to work on design problems in an Indigenous community was richly rewarding, as the following note from a student attests: “I think it is quite important to have had the chance to experience a different culture and landscape as a student studying landscape architecture. When I saw the overflowing rubbish tips at Cherbourg I immediately understood the importance of the project. By travelling to
Cherbourg I gained an appreciation of the difficulty of living in a remote area, and had a better understanding of factors that might hinder the creation of a recycling plant.”

Indigenous Building Australia (IBA), a sponsor of the studio, also provided positive sentiments about the project. In a letter to the University, the IBA wrote:

Your proposal to involve the University of Canberra in this project, and for IBA to sponsor a university study field trip to Cherbourg introduced an additional level of exploration and understanding of the potential for this project. While I was initially unsure of the outcomes of such a trip, when subsequently serving on the jury to evaluate the students’ work I was very impressed by their understanding of the project and of their attempts to integrate Indigenous elements into their designs. The students’ work clearly supported the goals of our project and also helped the community to not only visualise the short term outcomes but also to envisage how the project could progress over the next 10 years. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your work and the work of your students. I hope that we might work together again in the future on other projects.

Such feedback from sponsors and students suggest that future studio projects that are based on a studio-dyad model offer rich and rewarding learning experiences that have the potential to instil a strong sense of pride and purpose in the journey of young design graduates, and that they have the confidence to expand the professional capabilities and scope of landscape architecture practice. The feedback from students about the importance of fieldtrips to their learning and professional development must be considered and respected in the climate of discussions surrounding the move of many design studios to digital platforms such as Massive Open Online Courses. While there is certainly a place for studios being delivered online, such formats will struggle to provide the skills imbued in field experience.

University ethos and links between the university and the community

According to UC’s “Breakthrough” Strategic Plan 2013–2017, which was formulated during 2012, the university exists for the following purposes (University of Canberra, 2013):

  1. To provide education that offers high-quality transformative experiences to everyone suitably qualified, whatever their stage of life and irrespective of their origins;
  2. To engage in research and creative practice that are of high quality and aim to make an early and important difference to the world around us; and,
  3. To contribute, through the university’s education and research, to the building of just, prosperous, healthy, and sustainable communities that arecommitted to redressing disadvantage and reconciliation with Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

The Cherbourg project demonstrates congruence with these objectives. Indeed, the conceptual and physical extension of “the studio” in this programme into a real-world project has strengthened university–community linkages. The dyadic relationship between studio and field during the course of the project helped student learning to be transformative and, at the same time, the students contributed to improving the prosperity and sustainability of a disadvantaged Indigenous community.

Landscape architecture students: supporting the client and the community

In addition to satisfying the studio programme requirements, the students’ work (background research, site appraisals, project vision, concept designs, and drawings) played a major role in developing the overall plan for the design and anticipated implementation of the MRF. Aspects of the students’ work have been included in the master plan for the MRF site and has informed parts of the recently completed feasibility study. UC students helped in the production of documentation regarding: building drawings, project management plan, environmental management plan, diagram of recycling process, investigation of recycling equipment required and possible design of bespoke equipment, business feasibility model, and waste audit documentation.

As well as engaging with community officials, including the CASC, the students also generated further interest in, and support for, the MRF project by the local and regional communities by being “out and about” on-site, performing radio interviews, and interacting with other media representatives.

Preparing graduates

As well as meeting the specific academic requirements of a particular degree, all graduates are expected to acquire a range of generic skills or graduate attributes through their programme of study. Employers value these highly and it is important for students’ future careers that they can identify their generic skills and point to the learning experiences that produced them. As part of its vision of the university in 2018, UC states that (University of Canberra, 2013):

  1. UC’s programmes will be distinctive in supporting education for all stages of life, with an emphasis on work-integrated learning and preparing peoplefor successful and adaptive careers in the professions and emerging professions;
  2. Our graduates will possess the discipline knowledge, professional skills, intercultural competence, and personal attributes to become leaders who will inspire and deliver a sustainable future in a digital age; and,
  3. Our behaviours, internally and as an institution, will continue to reflect the principle that as a community we should be an exemplar of the way that societies around us must act if the world is to be a just place and the planet is to be sustainable.

The studio met the aspirational aspects of the university’s conception of its graduates. Such characteristics of graduates are common to those inculcated in the “project” and “travel” studio educational models identified by Zehner et al. (2013). Furthermore, there is continuing and growing academic and public interest in aspects of the environment and sustainability. In the field of landscape architecture design, connections extend from design into urban planning and building, healthy and sustainable communities (both urban and rural/remote places), and social change and development. The landscape architecture students in this studio programme through the Cherbourg project have been able to connect design on the one hand with environment, sustainability, and community on the other.

Prospect for the Material Recycling Facility

A detailed feasibility study was finished upon completion of the UC students’ participation. The feasibility study found that there are opportunities for the MRF, on the grounds that: there is a local and a regional market for materials recovery; local collection and recovery would be expected to improve as community education and a routine collection system is delivered; a share of regional collection and recovery will be available to the Cherbourg MRF from July 2014; the general materials recovery market in Queensland is likely to grow as state and regional waste recovery policies and practices improve; and there may be a larger supportive industry partner (such as Visy, a major packaging and recycling company in Australia) prepared to work with the Cherbourg MRF to underwrite its development and viability.

Because of the existing infrastructure at the site, the cost of establishing operations is not prohibitively high. However, based on the available estimates of how much material the Cherbourg MRF could recover and current market prices for that material, the income forecasts for the facility are too low to justify large-scale operations for the medium term. In fact, the income forecasts are so low that, based on current information, the Cherbourg MRF would not be financially viable on a large scale without some degree of direct or indirect subsidy. However, smaller-scale operations could be viable if a number of uncertainties can be addressed. Smaller-scale operations would involve the efficient weekly sorting of the local collection from Cherbourg plus the efficient collection of clean commercial waste from nearby towns.

The feasibility study recommended a period of piloting the operations of the Cherbourg MRF at a scale that enables further learning about and development of the capabilities and capacity of the enterprise without taking any large commercial risk. The recommendation reflects the Cherbourg MRF forming a relationship with a capable, well-resourced industry partner. Such a relationship may bring with it excellent knowledge and experience about the materials recovery industry and how to establish and sustain economic operations. It may also bring practical benefits such as a favourable purchaser agreement that includes reasonable prices for manageable quotas. The feasibility study also recommends that there is active monitoring of the performance of the pilot operations of the Cherbourg MRF so that further and better operational information can be gathered to enable the completion of a final viability assessment ahead of July 2014. The master plans and associated documentation are being used to help move the MRF project forward and further the participation of the council, the community, Indigenous Business Australia (the sponsor), and gain a commitment from a possible corporate partner. Visy is a potential corporate partner who is currently discussing their social  responsibility with reference to indigenous communities and developing a model for future remote indigenous sites, and it is hoped that this company will partner or otherwise support Cherbourg in some way during a piloting phase for the Cherbourg MRF. It is envisaged that the Cherbourg material recycling facility will become a model for designs of similar facilities across Indigenous Australia, and serve as a new enterprise model for Indigenous communities.

Conclusion

Working with students in the field studio and university campus studio has its challenges, but is very rewarding for both academic staff and students. The rewards for the education of the students are beneficial to the point of providing them with a rounded education and a preparation for their careers in a world defined by complexity and change.

In this studio, students became more aware of the challenges faced by Indigenous communities in rural and remote Australia. They were given the opportunity to engage with Indigenous members of the community, and to learn about their connections to place and country. Students finished the subject not only with enhanced research and design skills, but also with a greater understanding of Indigenous Australia and of how good research and design can be practically applied to revitalise communities. Students gained valuable experience in engaging with a client and in understanding the client’s needs. This process involved the motivation to communicate and establish dialogue, and to both receive from and contribute to the community.

The studio–field dyad explored here reveals that the linkage extends beyond the benefits to student learning. It also in this case reflects the connection between the university and the community, the making of a contribution to a just, sustainable society, and the development of young design professionals who have a deep social consciousness about the nature and value of their work.

References

Burroughs, S. (2012). IBA Partnerships: Review of Cherbourg Material Recycling Facility (pre-design study), Cherbourg, Queensland. Consultant’s Report, August 2012.

Heyes, S. and Burroughs, S. (2013) Unit Outline 2013, Faculty of Arts and Design, Landscape Architecture Design Studio 3 PG 8270.

Howorth, P. (2013). Feasibility Study: Cherbourg Material Recycling Facility. Indigenous Development Advisory Services.

Schon, D.A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

University of Canberra (2013).. Strategic Plan, University of Canberra.

Zehner, R., Forsyth, G., Musgrave, E., Neale, D., de la Harpe, B., Peterson, F., Frankham, N. with Wilson, S. and Watson, K. (2013). Curriculum Development in Studio Teaching. Volume 1: STP Final Report. (Available from www.studioteaching.org).

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council for inviting the University of Canberra students to participate in this project, and for hosting the students in their community. We are appreciative of the field assistance provided by Andrew Beckett, and thank Indigenous Business Australia for providing funds to support student travel. Additional funding was provided by the Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra. This project was also supported by an Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching Grant called: Re-casting terra nullius blindness: empowering Indigenous protocols and knowledge in Australian university built environment education ID12-2418.

About the authors

Steve Burroughs is Adjunct Associate Professor, Architecture, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra.  Dr Burroughs has a particular passion and interest in working for the benefit of Indigenous communities.  He is the principal of Steve Burroughs Consulting, a design and project management firm which manages remote indigenous construction projects in Australia and the developing world.  Dr Burroughs is currently working on a project across several faculties to provide students with a real life opportunity to design and build in a remote Indigenous community.

Scott Heyes is Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra.  He has been a Research Associate with the Smithsonian Institution’s Anthropology program a the Natural Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. since 2010.  He is also a Research Associate with the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and the Indigenous Studies at Trent University, Canada.  Dr Heyes maintains two research programs that involve working with the Inuit of Nunavik, Canada and Indigenous communities and researchers in South Australia.

Designed by Chris Orchard