In their 1968 lecture “The Science of Design: Creating the Artificial”, social scientist Herbert Simon described designers as engaged in “courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” This definition allows us to sense how the development of design in settler colonies such as Australia and New Zealand has been part of the colonial project, overlaying preferences for European aesthetic and cultural values over First Nations communities, practices and sovereignties.
Against this colonial overlay, Indigenous designers have continually resisted attempts to classify and constrain their practices, producing expansive projects that open an ethical relation to Country and community. In this session, Tiriki Onus charts histories of resistance in Indigenous design in South East Australia, and a panel of contemporary First Nations practitioners reflect on the role of resistance in their own practices, and the role of self-determination in Indigenous design today.
Tiriki Onus Speaker
Tiriki Onus is a Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Warrung man and Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development, University of Melbourne. He is an artist, curator, academic, filmmaker and opera singer who, through the grace and generosity of local elders and community, continues to practice his art and culture on the lands of the Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri peoples.
Desna Whaanga-Schollum Speaker
Iwi/Tribal affliations: Rongomaiwahine, Kahungunu, Pāhauwera. Ngāi Tahu Matawhaiti
Resident in her iwi (tribal) territories on the East Coast of Aotearoa New Zealand, Desna is actively involved in indigenous discourse, reinscribing ancestral narratives in cultural landscapes, advocating respect and reciprocal relationships with Place. An Ambassador for Landscape Foundation NZ and Communications Advisor Māori for Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge, Desna collaborates with a diverse range of indigenous communities, designers, artists, scientists, academics, public servants and business professionals.
Lisa Waup Speaker
Artist and curator Lisa Waup is a mixed-cultural First Nations woman. Often drawing upon personal experiences, her multidisciplinary practice spans jewellery, experimental printmaking, photography, sculpture, textiles, fashion and weaving. Waup uses symbols, text and materials that connect her to family, Country and history, weaving stories from past, present and future into contemporary forms.
Jenna Lee Speaker
Jenna Lee is a mixed-race Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri contemporary artist and graphic designer with mixed Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Anglo-Australian ancestry. As an interdisciplinary artist, Lee works across installation, projection, photography and sculpture with a reoccurring use of paper, the book, language and text. Formally trained as a graphic designer Lee works as an independent designer specialising in book cover, publication and exhibition identity design. Lee has designed for publishers and institutions like UQP, Hardie Grant, Fremantle Press, NGA, MUMA, IMA, Powerhouse Museum, TarraWarra and Rising Festival.