Reflecting on our reconciliation journey

As a leading design practice operating primarily in Australia, we always strive to contribute in a positive manner to each community we work with. For us, engaging in a meaningful way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is central to this. We have been working with Reconciliation Australia to formalise these efforts through the development of our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Our ‘Reflect’ RAP has now been formally endorsed. This is the first step in a multi-stage journey towards strengthening our reconciliation commitments and we’ve found the journey to be an incredibly rewarding one.

The process truly has been one of reflection for us. We’ve reflected on some of the great collaborations we’ve had with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within our projects. For example, engaging with Wurundjeri, Dja Dja Wurrung and Ngurai illum wurrung artist Mandy Nicholson to create an artwork at our Burwood Brickworks project as a way of understanding and imbedding an idea of Wurundjeri culture and Country within the building.

Nicholson’s expansive art installation sweeps across the interior of the sawtooth roof. The six layers of Wurundjeri Country are represented on each panel. The artwork both interacts with the architectural form and transcends it. It elevates the depiction of Aboriginal culture, which is ever-present, but which is also so often obscured within an urban context.

Artwork by Mandy Nicholson, at Burwood Brickworks. Photograph by Dianna Snape.

We’ve also reflected on the areas where we can improve, where opportunities for cultural sharing and exchange with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been overlooked.

NH Director Astrid Jenkin, who has been overseeing the development and implementation of our RAP, said about the process:

“The process has been eye opening for us. It’s been great to understand the areas where action is needed to meaningfully engage with the ancient cultural heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. We’re excited to explore these and know that the process will further enrich our projects and the dialogues we have in the office and with our clients and project partners too.”

Thanks to Principal Emily Von Moger who leads our RAP Working Committee and members Dale Schlosser, Leona Dusanovic and Matt Calder. Our ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan is available to read online here.