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Abedian School of Architecture Lecture Series 2023 | First Nations Knowledge in Design Symposium

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The Abedian School of Architecture Lecture Series launched in 2013, and has since hosted an impressive guest list of both Australian and internationally notable architecture experts, bringing some of the world's most creative and talented architects to Bond University to share their insights with our community.


ASA Lecture Series 2023 #3 |  First Nations Knowledge in Design Symposium

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY: Architectus Conrad Gargett 

Date: Tuesday 30 May, 2023

Time: 12:15pm start 

Where: Abedian School of Architecture, Bond University + via Zoom


 First Nations Knowledge in Design Symposium | On Country & In Practice

Australia is home to the oldest continuous living culture in the world. The richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture provide us with an incredible worldview that values Connection to Country, acknowledging and respecting the impact design has on people, place, resources and the environment.

As designers, how do we practice on Country, in Country and with Country? How do we listen and respect Country? How do we navigate and develop sensitivity towards Country?

This Symposium gathers voices in art, design, architecture and community practices to discuss methods of engaging with Indigenous knowledge in design. Welcome from Uncle John Graham, Bond University Elder, sets the tone for respecting Country on the land of the Kombumerri people. The first half of the Symposium focuses “On Country”, exploring what it means to design on Country and how current architectural practices address and approach designing on Country. The second half of the Symposium, “In Practice”, explores engagement methods with Country through art and design practices.

This is a free public event, and registration is essential.

Event proudly sponsored by Architectus Conrad Gargett.



  • Uncle John Graham, Bond University
  • Troy Casey, Blaklash
  • Megan Cope, Artist
  • Lindsay Clare, Clare Design
  • Tristan Schultz, Relative Creative
  • Edward Armstrong, Architectus Conrad Gargett

John Graham (Uncle John) is a Kombumerri man, a member of the wider Yugumbeh Language Group, Traditional Custodians of the Gold Coast Region. He is an Elder on the Griffith Council of Elders and was a Senior Learning Assistance Officer at the GUMURRII Unit, Griffith University, for more than 20 years. He is a mentor with strong links to Community and serves as Cultural Adviser on a variety of Committees and Projects, providing guidance, protocols, and advice around culture and Public Policy. Uncle John is Bond University Elder.


Blaklash Creative is a design consultancy specialising in First Nations art and design. Working in partnership with artists, designers and creatives, Blaklash produces community-celebrated experiences that express Indigenous perspectives through artistic process, practice and presentation in public art, placemaking and the built environment.

Troy Casey, director of Blaklash, is passionate about harnessing economic opportunities to create positive social change for First Nations Australians.

Erin McDonald is a proud Aboriginal woman who embeds her culture throughout the design process. She pushes the boundaries through a holistic approach in translating Indigenous technologies to embed cultural identity into the built environment.

Megan Cope

Megan Cope is a Quandamooka Artist from Moreton Bay/North Stradbroke Island in South East Queensland. Her site-specific sculptural installations, public art practice and paintings investigate issues relating to colonial histories, the environment and mapping practices. Cope’s work often resists prescribed notions of Aboriginality and examines psychogeographies that challenge the grand narrative of ‘Australia’ and our sense of time and ownership in a settler colonial state. These explorations result in various material outcomes.

Relative Creative

Tristan Schultz’s Gamilaroi Aboriginal and European Australian heritage shapes and forms his extensive interdisciplinary design experience. Tristan is the founder and director of Relative Creative, one of Australia's leading critical strategic design agencies. This practice spans strategic design, service design, policy and planning design, social design, graphic and communication design, exhibition design, workshop and event design, design-led facilitation, participatory and co-design, public art commissions, research, public speaking and design writing. It is always critically informed and concerned with ecological and social responsibilities.

Edward Armstrong

Edward is senior associate at Architectus Conrad Gargett and graduated from the University of Queensland. He is the Design Architect for Eurobodalla Hospital, and during the Symposium, he will discuss the engagement process with the local community and the deployment of First Nation Knowledge in the design of the Hospital.

Lindsay Clare, Clare Design

Clare Design has been producing architectural projects for more than 30 years, including a diverse range of houses and major urban and public buildings consistently acknowledged for their rare combination of design excellence and high-level environmental performance. “The Clares’ ideas about experiencing natural light and ventilation are merged with their ideas about typology. They fuse ideas about type and climate into building form”. Their buildings allow occupants to engage with architecture and the world outside, reinforcing the essential connection with place. Lindsay is Visiting Professor at Abedian School of Architecture.



TIME                  ACTIVITY                                       
12:15PMGuest arrival - Lunch provided
12:45PMWelcome by Uncle John Graham, Bond University 
1:00PM On Country Speakers: Uncle John Graham, Lindsay Clare (Clare Design), Edward Armstrong (Architectus Conrad Gargett)
3:15PMAfternoon Tea break
3:30PM In Practice: Dr Tristan Schultz (Relative Creative), Megan Cope, Troy Casey & Erin McDonald (Blaklash)
5:30PM Round-table Discussion: On Country & In Practice (Moderated by Justin Twohill and Professor  Paul Loh)
6:30PM Food, drinks + networking
7:00PMEvent concludes 

* Schedule subject to changes on the day.


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