First Nations
Advisory Working
Group and Cultural
Reference Panel

2020 Canberra Medallion | For Our Country | Edition Office and Daniel Boyd | ACT | Photographer: Ben Hosking

First Nations Advisory Working Group and Cultural Reference Panel

Caring for Country practices, including architecture and place-shaping, have existed on this continent since time immemorial

At the Institute, we are committed to advancing understanding with First Nations peoples in recognition of this enduring and ongoing connection to these lands and waters.

We recognise a professional commitment to engage and act meaningfully through reciprocal partnership and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This is with acknowledgement and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Countries, Cultures and Communities, and their ways of being, knowing and doing.

Advancing this professional commitment

Meaningful engagement

The Institute is working to advance this professional commitment and a greater shared understanding through our First Nations Advisory Working Group and Cultural Reference Panel.

The Working Group and Panel will scope, recommend and develop a range of actions that could be put in place to support and promote beneficial outcomes between First Nations peoples and the Institute including supporting the Institute to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The Working Group with support from the Panel will also provide guidance on the inclusive involvement of First Nations peoples in both Architectural education and the Institute’s services, programs, activities and governance. As well as any other issue or activity the Working Group, with advice from the Panel, identifies should be under consideration by the Institute.

As work by the Group and the Panel develops key information will be outlined on this webpage including opportunities for the broader membership to provide input to the activities being undertaken.

Statement of recognition

The Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday 22 July 2020 included a membership vote on a number of changes to the Constitution of the Institute including the addition of a ‘Statement of Recognition’.

The First Nations Advisory Working Group and Cultural Reference Panel developed the Statement of Recognition which was adopted following the membership vote, with 96% of members supporting the constitutional changes.

The Statement of Recognition reads:

The Australian Institute of Architects recognises the unceded sovereign lands and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of these lands and waters.

This recognition generates acknowledgement and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Countries, Cultures and Communities, and their ways of being, knowing and doing.

Caring for Country practices including architecture and place shaping have existed on this continent since time immemorial.

The Institute recognises a professional commitment to engage and act meaningfully through reciprocal partnership and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Together we will support and develop the emergence of new possibilities for our shared future.

2020 Kevin Borland Award for Small Project Architecture | In Absence | Edition Office and Yhonnie Scarce | Victoria | Photographer: Ben Hosking

Get to know your Working Group and the Cultural Reference Panel

The members of the First Nations Advisory Working Group and Cultural Reference Panel are:

Working Group Co-Chairs

Sarah Lynn Rees (Palawa)

Sarah is a lecturer at Monash University and practices architecture at Jackson Clements Burrows Architects.

Sarah Lynn Rees (Palawa)

Sarah Lynn Rees is a Palawa woman, living and working within the Kulin Nation. Sarah is a Lecturer at Monash University, practices architecture at Jackson Clements Burrows Architects where she is also a Lead Indigenous Advisor: Architecture and Design.

Sarah curates the BLAKitecture series for Mpavilion and holds several board and advisory roles including:

  • Director of Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture
  • Member of the Victorian Design Review Panel for the Office of the Victorian Government Architect.
Professor Paul Memmott

Paul is a trans-disciplinary researcher and practitioner in the fields of architecture and anthropology.

Professor Paul Memmott

Professor Paul Memmott is a trans-disciplinary researcher and practitioner (architect/anthropologist) and has been the Director of the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre (AERC) and the Indigenous Design Place (IDP) at the University of Queensland.

Memmott’s field of research encompasses the cross-cultural study of the people-environment relations of Indigenous peoples with their natural and built environments, including Aboriginal housing and settlement design, Aboriginal access to institutional architecture, Indigenous constructs of place and cultural landscapes, vernacular architecture and Native Title, social planning in Indigenous communities, homelessness and family violence.

He has had a life-long commitment in this field of work for the past 50 years.

Working Group Members

Callantha Brigham

Callantha Brigham is Manager of City Transformation at the City of Parramatta and a NSW Institute Chapter Councillor.

Callantha Brigham

Callantha Brigham is an architect with over 15 years experience in state and local government. She is currently Manager of City Transformation at the City of Parramatta.

Callantha is also a NSW Institute Chapter Councillor where she has championed gender equity and reconciliation initiatives. She is currently co-chair of the NSW Reconciliation Working Group with Michael Mossman.

Dr Shaneen Fantin

Shaneen is co-Director of POD (People Oriented Design) and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and James Cook University.

Dr Shaneen Fantin B.Arch (Hons), PhD, Dip PM

Dr Shaneen Fantin is co-Director of POD (People Oriented Design): a multi-disciplinary practice committed to sustainability and intercultural design. Shaneen has an unusual combination of skills including architecture, stakeholder engagement, project management, research and teaching.

She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and James Cook University. She undertook her PhD in Arnhem Land with Yolngu peoples in the late 1990s, which focussed on the relationship between culture and the design of built environments.

Bradley Kerr (Ngugi/Nunukul)

Bradley is an architect working out of fjmt Studios Melbourne practice.

Bradley Kerr (Ngugi/Nunukul)

Bradley Kerr is an architect working with fjmt Studio. Bradley volunteered for AIME and spent time studying on Minjerribah. The time was spent learning more about the Quandamooka People's living cultural history, and understanding the challenges, complexities and progression of self-built housing by the Quandamooka People at Moopi Moopi Pa.

At fjmt studio, Bradley has worked with communities and stakeholders to develop integrated design responses appropriate to place, peoples and culture.

Louis Anderson Mokak (Djugun)

Louis is an interdisciplinary designer, who focuses on resetting the narrative and power dynamic between those who benefit from the ongoing colonisation of these lands, and those whose Indigenous sovereign rights be more fully exercised.

Louis Anderson Mokak (Djugun)

Louis Anderson Mokak is a Djugun man from West Kimberley, working and living within the Kulin Nation. He is an interdisciplinary designer, who focuses on resetting the narrative and power dynamic between those who benefit from the ongoing colonisation of these lands, and those whose Indigenous sovereign rights be more fully exercised.

Louis is currently studying a Master of Architecture at RMIT, is a Cultural Advisor and Architectural Assistant at Studio Bright, and a freelance Indigenous Design Consultant.

Alison Page (Walbanga/Wadi)

Alison is an award-winning designer and film producer whose career links indigenous stories and traditional knowledge with contemporary design.

Alison Page (Walbanga/Wadi) B.Design (Hons)

Alison Page is a Walbanga and Wadi Wadi woman and is an award-winning Designer and Film Producer whose career spanning 22 years links indigenous stories and traditional knowledge with contemporary design.

She appeared for eight years as a regular panelist on the ABC TV 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 UTS Design School and the founder of the National Aboriginal Design Agency.

Finn Pedersen

Finn is a co-founder and director of Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects and has an interest in culture, social justice, landscape and how architecture can affect and enhance the relationship between people and place.

Finn Pedersen

Finn Pedersen is a Co-founder and Director of Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects, a Perth and Melbourne based studio with a diverse body of work throughout Australia. Finn has an interest in Culture, Social Justice, landscape, and how architecture can affect and enhance the relationship between people and place.

He has worked with many Aboriginal communities throughout Western Australia and is particularly interested in the manner that architecture and design can provide innovative solutions that are deeply respectful of traditional culture.

Cultural Reference Panel Members

Carroll Go-Sam (Dyirrbal/Bama)

Carroll is an architectural graduate, lecturer and researcher in the School of Architecture, University of Queensland.

Carroll Go-Sam (Dyirrbal/Bama) B.Arch (Hons)

Carroll Go-Sam (B. Arch. Hons) is an architectural graduate, lecturer and researcher in the School of Architecture, University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane. Carroll descends from Dyirbal bama peoples in gumbilbarra country on the Herbert and Tully Bana (Water) basins, north Queensland. Carroll currently leads Indigenising School of Architecture curriculum.

She was previously a research fellow within Indigenous Design Place (IDP), a cross-faculty strategic research initiative funded by UQ a recipient of an ARC Indigenous Discovery Award.

Her research interests are at the intersection of Indigenous themes in architecture and place keeping leading to articles, book chapters, conference papers, encyclopaedia entries, professional journals, online media, architectural design and written creative works.

Jefa Greenaway (Wailwan/Kamilaroi)

Jefa is founding director of Greenaway Architects, a University of Melbourne senior academic and a regular design commentator on ABC Radio Melbourne.

Jefa Greenaway (Wailwan/Kamilaroi)

Jefa Greenaway (Wailwan/Kamilaroi) is founding Director of Greenaway Architects, a University of Melbourne senior academic, and a regular design commentator on ABC Radio Melbourne.

He’s championed Indigenous-led design thinking for over 25 years, including as co-founder of Indigenous Architecture + Design Victoria (with Rueben Berg), and as co-author of the acclaimed International Indigenous Design Charter (a Deakin University, IADV and DIA initiative) and as a registered architect in NSW and Victoria.

Jefa is a founding signatory of Architects Declare Australia, co-curator of the Australian exhibition at La Biennale Architettura di Venezia 2021 (with Tristan Wong) and was recently inducted into the Design Institute of Australia’s ‘Hall of Fame’.

Paul Herzich (Kaurna/Ngarrindjeri)

Paul is a multi-award winning Kaurna/Ngarrindjeri and German landscape architect and visual and public artist in Adelaide, South Australia.

Paul Herzich (Kaurna/Ngarrindjeri) B.Des.Std., B.L.Arch., RAILA

Paul Herzich is a multi-award winning Kaurna/Ngarrindjeri and German Landscape Architect and Visual & Public Artist in Adelaide, South Australia. Paul has worked in the landscape industry for 32 years and in the visual and public art industry for 17 years. Paul has considerable experience in the design and delivery of landscape infrastructure, public realm and public art projects.

He has also served on Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Executive and National committees, as well as various other professional committees with a reconciliation focus.

Dillon Kombumerri (Yugembir)

Dillon is the Principal Architect for the Government Architect NSW.

Dillon Kombumerri (Yugembir)

Dillon Kombumerri is the Principal Architect for the Government Architect NSW. Originally from Queensland, he grew up on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerriba) and is a Yugembir descendent from the Gold Coast.

A strategic design thinker and social conciliator with a passion for projects that seek to improve the health, well-being and prosperity of Aboriginal communities. With over 25 years of experience in architectural practice Dillon brings his own unique Aboriginal perspective to re-imaging the built environment.

During this time, he has also been teaching and lecturing globally in many forums to shine a light on the often hidden value of Aboriginal knowledge and how it can positively influence private and public agencies to deliver better outcomes for the built environment.

Michael Mossman (Kuku Yalanji)
Michael is a lecturer, PhD candidate and researcher at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning.
Michael Mossman (Kuku/Yalanji)

Michael Mossman (Kuku/Yalanji) is a Lecturer, PhD Candidate and Researcher at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning. He is a registered architect (non-practising) with over 15 years of professional practice engagement.

His architectural design expertise in academic and practice settings, relating to Aboriginal community-focused outcomes, provides a basis for his unique perspectives and its applications to designed environments. Michael is currently the co-chair for the NSW AIA Reconciliation Working Group with Callantha Brigham.