Reconciliation by Design

Reconciliation by Design

As part of McGregor Coxall’s commitment to First Nations reconciliation, we are excited to announce a three-year design research partnership between McGregor Coxall and RMIT’s Yulendj Weelam Design Research Lab from the School of Architecture and Urban Design. This collaboration will explore how academics, Indigenous knowledge holders and design practitioners can work together to ensure Australia’s built environment respectfully celebrates, engages with and supports our First Nations people and culture. ‘Yulendj Weelam’ draws its name from Naarm [Melbourne]-based language groups. Yulendj is the Boon Wurrung word for ‘deep knowledge’. Weelam is the Boon Wurrung word for ‘home’. The lab is grounded on the premise that all architecture, landscape architecture and urban design requires a deep knowledge of the unceded land on which it is designed: of home.

To launch this partnership, Barkandji scholar, Sophia Pearce, landscape architect and academic, Jock Gilbert, architect and academic, Dr. Christine Phillips, and Gamilaraay academic researcher, Beau De Belle led the first of many insightful and provocative workshops with RMIT and Yulendj Weelam Lab. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with McGregor Coxall on this important work which will transform the way that we all undertake design practice; building an understanding of design practice as a powerful act of reconciliation,” said Dr. Christine Phillips.

Thomas Flugge, McGregor Coxall’s Reconciliation Partnerships Leader, says the path from personal transformation to practice is a collaborative one,“These First Nations-led workshops are the first of many looking at how we can engage respectfully with Indigenous Knowledge and Country.“

This process starts by understanding and discussing our own personal story and relationship with this continent. “Whose Country are you on?” is a key part of relating yourself to Country.“

It has been a great opportunity for our employees to continue the meaningful dialogue and effect positive action following on from the recent First Nations-led ‘Country’ AILA Festival in Meandajin [Brisbane], which has been received as an incredibly special moment and a catalyst for change in Australian Landscape Architecture and the design industry as a whole. The conference was empowering for all participants and this research partnership will influence the way we practice here at McGregor Coxall.”

Later this year, a third workshop will involve participants attending an immersive field trip to Culpra Station and Lake Mungo.

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