Screens representing local clans designed by James Gilliland for Aboriginal social housing. Image credit Diana Snape

Adventures in Designing with Country Past Event


Booked out
Thu 30 May 5:00pm - 6:30pm


Free, Booking Required


The Launchpad - Melbourne Connect
700 Swanston St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia


Accessible bathroom, All gender bathroom, Assistance animals welcome, Hearing loop available, Wheelchair accessible
How are commercial design practices and their clients embedding ‘Designing with Country’ into their processes and cultures? How are universities preparing design students to meet the industry’s new core competencies? It’s the ethical, ecological and energy challenge and opportunity of our lifetimes, and we’re all learning step by step, project by project, conversation by conversation. Presented as part of Melbourne Design Week and Reconciliation Week, this inspiring, practical panel discussion features:
  • Wurundjeri artist and Traditional Custodian of Naarm and surrounds, Dr Mandy Nicholson, Senior Lecturer in First Peoples’ Perspectives in Design, University of Melbourne
  • Landscape Architect Anne-Marie Pisani, First Peoples’ Partnerships and Design Lead, ASPECT Studios
  • Yorta Yorta Senior Architect James Gilliland, ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects
  • Architect Ripeka Walker, doctoral researcher and sessional educator, University of Melbourne
  • Moderator Georgia Birks, a proud descendant of the Biripi, Dunghutti and Kamilaroi people, associate editor at Architecture Media, and graduate of architecture.
Join ClarkeHopkinsClarke and the panellists for a lively discussion about challenges and lesson learned, and an extended audience Q&A to unpack what’s working, what’s not, and what’s next.
For DIA Accredited Designers, attendance at this event is worth 1.5 informal CPD Point.


Dr Mandy Nicholson
For the last 30+ years through her art business Tharangalk Art, Mandy has produced carvings, etchings, prints, airbrushed works, murals, digital and painted works, drone works, language audio installations and public art. She has worked with architects and landscape architects to create cultural safety within public spaces as well as corporate interiors/fit outs. She has also coauthored a masterplan and worked as a cultural consultant for many years. She has authored and coauthored papers around the topic of embedding First People’s perspectives through design and planning regimes in an urban environment.
Anne-Marie Pisani
Anne-Marie is committed to advocating and practising culturally responsive and meaningful design processes with First People’s communities which enable self-determination through a genuine collaborative engagement. She understands and deeply respects the value local communities knowledge brings to design and encourages us all to connect with this ‘Indigenous way of knowing’. She has successfully implemented this approach through many of her projects working with Traditional Owners from across Victoria. She is the immediate past co-chair of AILA’s National Connection to Country Committee, a current panel member for both the VDRP and MDRP and leads Aspect Studios in focusing on genuine and respectful involvement with Traditional Owners.
James Gilliland
James is the great-grandson of a proud Yorta Yorta man and a leader of ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects’ First Nations Design team, which is working to embed Designing with Country principles and processes into design projects. A highly respected project leader in their multiresidential team, James is responsible for a project’s progression through all stages of design and delivery. His broad experience includes Indigenous social housing and community facilities, and diverse residential and hospitality projects including ESD exemplar Lt Miller-NGBE, winner of PCA and UDIA awards in 2021 for innovation and excellence.
Ripeka Walker
As our cities increasingly turn to indigenous-led solutions to complex global problems, Ripeka’s research on the disciplinary constraints of architecture and urban design in the trans-Tasman context reveals risks and opportunities for clients and companies seeking to implement change to their design processes.
Georgia Birks

Georgia Birks who will moderate the talk is a proud descendant of the Biripi, Dunghutti and Kamilaroi people, an associate editor at Architecture Media and a graduate of architecture.