Win one of five copies of Design: Building on Country by Alison Page and Paul Memmott

To celebrate the publication of Design: Building on Country, the second book in the First Knowledges series, we’re giving five copies away to members thanks to Thames & Hudson Australia and the National Museum of Australia.

The First Knowledges series, edited by Margo Neale, offers an introduction to Indigenous knowledges in vital areas and their application to the present day and the future. Exploring practices such as Songlines, architecture and design, land management, botany, astronomy and innovation, this six-book series brings together two very different ways of understanding the natural world: one ancient, the other modern. The second book in the series focuses on design.

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.

Alison writes from an Indigenous perspective on her areas of expertise: design and storytelling; while Paul conveys learnings from Aboriginal Elders through the lens of his areas of expertise: anthropology and architecture.

Alison is a member and Paul is Co-Chair of the Institute’s First Nations Advisory Working Group established in 2020 with a mandate to advance the Institute’s professional commitment, embedded in our Constitution through the Statement of Recognition, to engage and act meaningfully through reciprocal partnership and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Working Group, with support from the Cultural Reference Panel, provides guidance on the inclusive involvement of First Nations peoples in both Architectural education and the Institute’s services, programs, activities and governance. It is also tasked with scoping, recommending, and implementing a range of actions to support and promote beneficial outcomes between First Nations peoples and the Institute, and contribute to a step-change in architectural practice leading to the enhanced respect and understanding of cultural diversity within architectural work environments. All members of the Working Group and Panel congratulate Alison and Paul on the publication of this important resource and recommend it to members of the Institute.

How to enter the giveaway

Please email your answer to the below question to in 25 words or less:

Why do you think it’s important to learn about First Nations design?

Terms and conditions apply. Entries close 7 June 2021. Winners will be contacted by email by 11 June 2021.