Thames & Hudson
Design: Building on Country
The First Knowledges series offers an introduction to Indigenous 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 of understanding the natural world: one ancient, the other modern. The second book 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.
About the author
Alison Page is a Walbanga and Wadi Wadi woman. She is an award-winning designer and film producer whose career links Indigenous 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 transdisciplinary researcher based at University of Queensland, recognising the need to join with Indigenous 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 series
Each book is a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers and editors; the series is edited by Margo Neale, senior Indigenous curator at the National Museum of Australia.
Alison Page and Paul Memmott
Published April 2021
131mm x 196cm