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TDF Talks with Architect, IADV Co-founder, and Academic Jefa Greenaway

Podcast

Jefa Greenaway is a Wailwan / Kamilaroi man, and the first architect of an indigenous background to be registered in Victoria. He runs his own practice, Greenaway Architects, he’s the co-founder of Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria (IADV), and he’s also an academic and a lecturer at the University of Melbourne.

In this enlightening conversation, Jefa chats to Lucy about the importance of indigenous participation in the Australian architecture and design community, and the great opportunities that exist to incorporate Indigenous wisdom in the Australian built environment.

16th August, 2019

Koorie Heritage Trust images at Federation Square. Photo – Peter Bennetts.

Left: Koorie Heritage Trust images at Federation Square. Photo – Peter Bennetts. Right: Ngarara Place image at RMIT. Photo – Peter Casamento.

Lucy Feagins
Friday 16th August 2019

Jefa Greenaway is more than aware of the weight of responsibility that comes with being one of a minority of Indigenous architects working in Australia today, and he’s become a brilliant advocate for indigenous voices within the built environment.

Interviewing Jefa very quickly throws into focus the glaring lack of diversity with the Australian design community.  For example, right now, Jefa estimates that there are probably between 6 and 8 registered indigenous architects in private practice nationally, and at most, he estimates that around 20 indigenous people have graduated from schools of architecture nationally, ever.

Despite these discouraging numbers, Jefa is optimistic, and the good news is, things are improving. Somewhere between 50-70 students of an indigenous background are in schools of architecture nationally right now – and the IADV, a not-for-profit organisation which Jefa co-founded, provides services to support those students and ensure they flourish.

What Jefa is seeking to do, is to move beyond what he calls the ‘deficit discourse’ of how we engage with indigenous culture. Instead, he is focussed on celebrating our shared humanity and shared connections. Because as he says, ‘we are all connected to the oldest continuing living culture in the world – so why wouldn’t we seek to look at the strength and the opportunity that that can bring?’

I found this conversation so enlightening, and I’m so grateful to be able to share just a little of Jefa’s wisdom with you via this podcast.

 

Lucy Feagins
Friday 16th August 2019

Notes and Links

Jefa’s architectural practice is Greenaway Architects.

One of Jefa’s most notable recent projects was the refurbishment of the Koorie Heritage Trust at Federation Square.

Jefa co-founded not-for-profit organisation Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria (IADV) a decade ago.

Last year, Jefa curated Blak Design Matters, the first the first national survey of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island design – we wrote a little story about it here.

One of Jefa’s most valuable projects over the past decade has been the creation of the International Indigenous Design Charter (IIDC), which is a framework that design practitioners can follow in order to engage in responsible design practice, as it relates to first nations people.

Jefa’s upcoming speaking events include :

Participation in a panel on Decolonising the Public Realm, at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) 30st – 31st.

Delight’ – the AIA 2019 QLD Regional Conference, Cairns, Queensland 24th – 26th October.

Object Subject’: the 2019 National Design Writing Conference, ANU Canberra, 7th – 10th November.

SDNow 4 Conference at RMIT University, on the 14th – 16th November.

This is the 33rd episode of our TDF Podcast – thanks so much for listening! You can browse all or revisit any episode here.

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