Report: Working with Aboriginal Communities – Incorporating Traditional Knowledge into Practice

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Prof Dori Tunstall presents on the use of Indigenous knowledge in design anthropology
Prof Dori Tunstall presents on the use of Indigenous knowledge in design anthropology

Event summary for Working with Aboriginal Communities: Incorporating Traditional Knowledge into Practice“, hosted by Melbourne Development Circle

Event Location: Donkey Wheel House, Melbourne CBD

Event Date: September 2, 2014

Prepared by: Chloe Piper, MDC Leader

Speaker summaries

Dr. Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall – Associate Professor of Design Anthropology

  • Course recognizes need to understand deep human values and looks at how these can be incorporated into design.
  • Model:
    • Indigenous knowledge and global design
    • Indigenous anthropologies to designing for cultural wellbeing
    • Situated knowledge by co-design
    • Indigenous futures (Song)
  • Currently misalignment between experience and design – what’s missing?
  • Design for democracy – how do people experience democracy?
Amelia Telford, AYCC
Amelia Telford describes Indigenous involvement in the Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Amelia Telford – Indigenous Coordinator for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. SEED

Jefa Greenaway – Founder and director of Indigenous Architecture Victoria

  • Looks at strengthening the multi-faced Indigenous culture through the built environment – Advocacy.
  • Australian Indigenous culture is a rich tapestry with multiple layers of meaning that needs to be represented accordingly – NOT one size fits all – “no dots for me”.
  • Try and understand what community wants from their environment.
  • Architecture shouldn’t be separated from landscape.

    Jefa Greenaway talks about Indigenous Architecture Victoria and the quest to involve more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the profession
    Jefa Greenaway talks about Indigenous Architecture Victoria and the quest to involve more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the profession

Questions/ Topics

Is Design Anthropology model applicable in policy?

  • Important to figure out methodology – How design currently works : implicit/explicit in community and figure out VALUES > then look at the gap. Important to ask the right questions!
  • Define terms ie ‘sustainability’ – Often different meanings and interpretations.

Education

  • Importance of Indigenous role models and stories of role models shared _ changing the face of professions
  • Necessity of support once in the system
  • Ask kids what they need
  • Online platforms can offer alternative means of community and support
  • Value of trades in Australia – particular professions valued ( doctors/ lawyers etc) – other professions need to showcase what they offer/ possibilities
The presenters engage in discussion with the audience
The presenters engage in discussion with the audience

Indentifying with different cultures

  • Amelia found while working for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition it was hard for Indigenous youth to identify with non-indigenous people and culture and in response AYCC hosted Australia’s first Indigenous Youth Climate Summit – Seed – give ownership, family, community.
  • ‘Deep Listening’, dialogue in safe space and building networks that allow that to happen
  • Importance of developing relationships
  • Acknowledging and accepting differences
  • No question is stupid – enable meaningful conversations
  • Cultural preparedness
  • Unpack complexity when dealing with something unknown
  • Accountability – Work local – long term relationships

If you attended the event and have a contribution to add to the event summary, or if you didn’t attend and would like to ask a questions, please leave a comment below and the MDC Team will get back to you. Thanks!