Books

Design: Building on Country

Booktopia First Nations promotion

Summary

Aboriginal design is of a distinctly cultural nature, based in the Dreaming and in ancient practices grounded in Country. It is visible in the aerodynamic boomerang, the ingenious design of fish traps and the precise layouts of community settlements that strengthen social cohesion.

Alison Page and Paul Memmott show how these design principles of sophisticated function, sustainability and storytelling, refined over many millennia, are now being applied to contemporary practices.

Design: Building on Country issues a challenge for a new Australian design ethos, one that truly responds to the essence of Country and its people.

About the authors

Alison Page is a Walbanga and Wadi Wadi woman. She is an award-winning designer and film producer whose career links First Nations stories and traditional knowledge with contemporary design. She appeared for eight years as a regular panellist on the ABC television show The New Inventors, and in 2015 was inducted into the Design Institute of Australia's Hall of Fame. She is an adjunct associate professor at the School of Design, University of Technology Sydney, and the founder of the National Aboriginal Design Agency.

Paul Memmott is a descendant of Scottish potters and painters. He has had a 50-year life experience and career working as an architect, anthropologist and agent for change with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. He is a trans-disciplinary researcher based at University of Queensland, recognising the need to join with First Nations communities and organisations to bring transformative approaches to improving quality of lifestyle and wellbeing in the face of longitudinal disadvantage and the endeavour for self-determination. One of his books,Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley: The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia, won three national book awards.

About the First Knowledges series

The First Knowledges series offers an introduction to First Nations knowledges in vital areas and their application to the present day and the future. Exploring practices such as architecture and design, land management, botany, astronomy and innovation, this six-book series brings together two very different ways

What do you need to know to prosper as a people for at least 65,000 years? The First Knowledges series provides a deeper understanding of the expertise and ingenuity of Australian First Nations peoples. of understanding the natural world: one ancient, the other modern. The third book focuses on land and fire management.

The titles in the series include:

  • Songlines by Margo Neale & Lynne Kelly (2020)
  • Design by Alison Page & Paul Memmott
  • Country by Bill Gammage & Bruce Pascoe (2021)
  • Plants by Zena Cumpston, Michael Fletcher & Lesley Head (2022)
  • Astronomy (2022)
  • Innovation (2023)

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2021, Design: Building on Country, <https://www.creativespirits.info/resources/books/design-building-on-country>, retrieved 29 June 2022

Creative Spirits is a starting point for everyone to learn about Aboriginal culture. Please use primary sources for academic work.

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