Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) future City campus has announced that Aboriginal Productions and Promotions – a company established by Dr Richard Walley and Dr Robyn Smith Walley – will be ECU City’s Lead Cultural Adviser on the design and build processes of ECU’s new facility.
The recognition and celebration of the Noongar people’s history and culture will play a key role in the design of the campus, with ECU looking to consult Elders and community members in considering the vision of the new campus.
ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman says he is honoured to welcome the cultural advisers to the project.
“Richard and Robyn work from a position of respect for the community, their traditions and cultural practices and we are delighted they are sharing their expertise and knowledge with us,” he says.
“From the outset we have partnered with Whadjuk Noongar Elders, including Robyn and Richard, to inform the design of our campus. Their ideas and knowledge have been instrumental in developing a design that recognises history while connecting the past to the present.”
Dr Richard Walley is a Noongar man and a leading Indigenous performer. In 2015 he was named a State Living Treasure by the WA Department of Culture and the Arts for his lifetime contribution to arts and culture, and was previously involved with the development of Perth’s Optus Stadium. Dr Robyn Smith Walley is a Noongar woman who is an honorary doctorate recipient from ECU.
Walley says Perth’s CBD, known as Boorloo in the Noongar language, is home to a rich cultural history and is a true place of connection and learning.
“We are proud to be a part of ECU City’s development and I’m excited about the opportunities this project will have for our people and our communities,” he says.
“It is appropriate that a new place of learning, one that will represent the future of university education, will be established on a site that has played such a significant role in the education of young Aboriginal people in another time.
“ECU City’s location is practical as both an area of transit and meeting. This contemporary purpose mirrors the traditional uses of the area by local Noongar people.”
The development of ECU’s city campus will build on Yagan Square, a place that acknowledges Noongar culture, with celebrations of Aboriginal performance and culture through the world renowned Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and the University’s Kurongkurl Katitjin Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research.
The jointly funded university campus is the centrepiece of a Perth City Deal, designed to bring the energy and vibrancy of more than 9,000 students and staff to the heart of Perth’s CBD by 2025.
For more information, visit citycampus.ecu.edu.au.