The International Indigenous Design Charter, which provides design practitioners best practice protocols to follow when working on projects involving Indigenous culture, will be the subject of discussion at a special event being held in Melbourne next week.

The International Indigenous Design Charter, which was launched in 2017, is an expansion of the Australian Indigenous Design Charter developed by Deakin University’s School of Communications and Creative Arts with experts from the Institute of Koorie Education, in collaboration with Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria (IADV), and the Design Institute of Australia. The International Charter has since been adopted by design studios and businesses around the world.

Some of the best practices outlined in the Charter include providing an environment for Indigenous stakeholders to oversee the design process, and ensuring Indigenous people share in the benefits from the use of their cultural knowledge, especially when applied commercially.

Indigenous Design Thinking Conversations, which is being held at Federation Square’s Deakin Edge theatre in Melbourne, will see First Nations designers and key leaders explore the impact of the Charter on the broader design industry.

Deakin senior lecturer in screen and design Dr Russell Kennedy, who co-authored the Charter along with associate head of school (teaching and learning) Dr Meghan Kelly, says, “The Indigenous Design Charter Project promotes the recognition of Indigenous culture within the broader definition of ‘design practice’ including communication design, branding, architecture and the built environment.”

IADV director Jefa Greenaway (Wailwan, Kamilaroi), who also co-authored the Charters, is one of Australia’s few Indigenous architects in private practice. He said, “The International and Australian Indigenous Design Charters were created in part to address the UN’s declaration on the rights of First Nations people to practice and revitalise their cultural traditions and customs – including their right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures through design.”

He observes that the Charters have enabled Indigenous knowledge to shape design practice in many ways, proving that they can be applied in a local context to help facilitate accurate and respectful representation of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

By informing authentic and respectful outcomes when representing Indigenous culture in professional practice, the Charters have allowed designers to develop a better understanding of how to engage with Indigenous knowledge appropriately, Greenaway added.

Speakers for the Indigenous Design Thinking Conversations event include Greenaway; NITV-SBS Marngrook Footy Show presenter Shelley Ware (Yankunytjatjara, Wirangu); Marcus Lee Design founder Marcus Lee (Karajarri); Indigenous design specialist and University of Technology Sydney researcher Michael Hromek (Budawang/Yuin); ENESS creative director and co-founder Nimrod Wies; and former Olympic hurdler Kyle Vander-Kuyp (Yuin), who has been helping Schiavello Group increase direct Indigenous employment and participation across its workforce.

Indigenous Design Thinking Conversations is presented as part of the City of Melbourne’s Melbourne Knowledge Week 2019.

Indigenous Design Thinking Conversations will be held at Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne on Tuesday 21 May 2019 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.