We understand that every project we undertake in Australia is on Aboriginal land. Through co-creation with Traditional Custodians, we are committed where possible and appropriate, to embed the built environment with Indigenous knowledges and customs by making tangible the living histories, contemporary cultural practices, narratives and values of place.
We recognise that it is our responsibility to listen to Traditional Custodians before we engage in projects on their Country, to allow for a contextual understanding of place, to learn protocols, to mitigate misconceptions and develop a first-hand understanding of the community’s needs.
Indigenous people have been caring for Country for longer than science can prove. We respect that each language group has a unique set of protocols for behaviour and interaction on, and with their Country, and it is our responsibility to follow them.
We understand that Indigenous Australia is not homogenous, and that each Country has its own set of values, protocols, laws, and living histories. It is our responsibility to ensure we are educated to the best of our ability before engaging with Traditional Custodians, and embrace that we will always be learning.
We recognise that the denial of our shared history means we all have a lot to learn. We acknowledge that everyone will make mistakes, and we are committed to working without egotism by deferring to the knowledge of Traditional Custodians on matters of their histories, Countries, cultures and practices.
We acknowledge that Traditional Custodians hold the knowledge of their Country, and are the only people with the cultural authority to speak on its behalf.
We value our relationships with Traditional Custodians, and recognise the incredible knowledge and insight they bring to projects. We are committed to engaging with Traditional Custodians in an ongoing capacity throughout the design and delivery process, and continuing beyond the life of our projects.
We are committed to developing joint core values with Traditional Custodians at the commencement of projects, to ensure these values are embedded within and maintained throughout our process.
The nature of built environment projects requires the construction and de-construction of both built and natural environments. We acknowledge the importance of seeking permission to undertake such works, particularly in areas of significance to local communities.
We believe it is important to move beyond a surface-level application of Indigenous design, and embed our projects with the cultural values, ethos and spatial organisation of the Countries within which they reside.
Much of Australia’s Indigenous and shared history remains untold, and is therefore often visually intangible to the general population. We endeavour to reveal these histories through architecture where appropriate, with permission and in collaboration with Traditional Custodians.
We understand that Indigenous Australians are the custodians of their knowledge and, therefore, cannot transfer it. We recognise that in partnering with Traditional Custodians, we share a role in the design and implementation of knowledge that has been shared with us, and that all Indigenous Knowledge always remains the intellectual property of Traditional Custodians.
From our experience working with Traditional Custodians to date, we understand that many communities would like the built environment to not only acknowledge their existence, but also to celebrate, reflect and represent them both from an historical and contemporary perspective.
We advocate for robust Indigenous design and engagement processes across all aspects of the profession. Our team includes Indigenous representation, and where appropriate, we participate in public advocacy locally, nationally and internationally, to ensure we are supporting and moving forward with Australian Indigenous communities.