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We’re excited to announce the formal endorsement of our first Reconciliation Action Plan. We began work on our Reflect RAP in 2020, and it’s been a rich experience of listening, learning and finding our way through important and at times uncomfortable conversations. 

Our RAP began as an exploration into what ‘best practice’ First Nations engagement looks like in project work and has expanded into a much broader knowledge and interrogation of Australia’s history and what is it to be Australian. This process has prompted within our practice a desire to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, community, cultural values and beliefs. The initiatives outlined in our RAP provide an excellent foundation for us as a practice to explore new ways of thinking and be more inclusive in the way we work and design.

Across many of our current projects, we have sought to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders to find ways to incorporate First Nations design principles and expression into our work. Most recently, our work on the Bendigo Law Courts, University of Tasmania (UTAS) Cradle Coast, and University of Tasmania Inveresk have included a range of engagement initiatives. Through undertaking this RAP and participating in workshops with specialist intercultural Aboriginal consultants, we’ve examined our processes and looked for ways in which to improve them.

Throughout 2021 as we worked towards completing our RAP, we participated in several activities at significant events throughout the Aboriginal calendar to broaden our cultural learning.

During National Reconciliation Week 2021, a group of staff attended the Seasons in Blak Box installation as part of Yirramboi and Rising Festival Melbourne. Located at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, the installation provided an immersive deep listening and learning experience from within the award-winning sound pavilion designed by Kevin O’Brien. Seasons encouraged us to connect to Country through a soothing soundscape of music, nature and personal recollections from six First Peoples women artists and elders from across the Kulin nation.⁠⁠

In June 2021, our Sydney team attended a workshop with Aboriginal contemporary weaver Tegan Murdock. Her business Ngumpie Weaving partnered with Koskela to deliver classes and workshops ⁠⁠teaching the art of weaving using hand-dyed raffia. The rest of our practice are looking forward to participating in further online workshops in late February with Tegan.

During NAIDOC Week 2021, Melbourne staff visited the Elemental exhibition at Craft Victoria curated by Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri artist Jenna Lee. The exhibition brought together seven interdisciplinary First Nations artists. Each work drew upon the base elements as inspiration, material, process, and as reflection upon the 2021 NAIDOC theme #healcountry.

The creation of the RAP has brought people together from across the practice, sharing their deep interest and commitment to reconciliation. Thank you to our RAP team:

Liza Power, Kendal Mountfort, Georgia Taylor, Richard Sucksmith, Meaghan Dwyer, Andrew Lamond, Michael McMahon, Matthew Muir, Malisa Benjamins, Berenice Melis, Justine Makin, Timothy Watson, Megan Darbyshire, Amanda Moore, Annabel Scott, Lily Horne, Marguerite de Villiers, Christian Sheridan and Rick Jordan.

We’ve met many amazing people along the way, and these conversations and relationships are reshaping our practice as design professionals and how we conduct our business. Special thanks to the following people for sharing their valuable insights and personal stories.

Aunty Gail and Aunty Julieanne from Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation
Kat, Tania & Libby from Tiiammano Consultants
Kevin Wilson from Nani Creative
Tegan Murdock from Ngumpie Weaving
Damian from Supply Nation
The team at Reconciliation Australia


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