Decolonising Architectural Education

Digital render of building

Clemenger BBDO Auditorium, Entrance via North Foyer National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006, Australia

How can educators and designers begin to decolonise architectural education, particular the design studio environment, to create a new narrative of civic and community good?

Architectural education is deeply implicated with processes of colonisation and the appropriation of Indigenous knowledge. How might architectural education and design studios be decolonised? Despite calls for inclusiveness, by non-Indigenous educators there is at the heart of many architecture and design histories, a focus on settler progress. Settler progress is often lurking in the plethora of narratives, histories and precedents in our design schools. The panel will bring together a diverse group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators and practitioners with the hope of truly decolonising design curricula. This panel will include architects, landscape architects, urban theorists, designers and artists actively working to decolonise design education.


Dr Christine Phillips
Christine is a registered architect, writer and director of OpenHAUS Architecture. She has worked with indigenous communities through her architecture design studio at RMIT University.

Anna Maskiell
Anna is an Architect and co-founder of Public Realm Lab, a design practice that connects strategy, culture and place through built work, research and consulting. Anna's practice is focussed on human experiences of space and how these impact civic and public life. She is a non-executive director of Footscray Community Arts.

Dr Janet McGaw, Associate Professor, Melbourne School of Design.
Janet’s research, teaching and creative practice investigate the relationship between place, identity and health using methods that are discursive, collaborative and sometimes ephemeral. Collaborators have included women who have experienced homelessness and isolation; other artists and architects; and Indigenous communities.

Tarryn Love, Artist
Tarryn is a proud Gunditjmara Keerray Woorroong woman from south-west Victoria, and has grown up on Wadawurrung country in Geelong. Tarryn creates artwork under the collective of ‘Koorroyarr’ which means ‘granddaughter’ in her mother tongue Keerray Woorroong, to encapsulate the vital role that family has in her practice. Tarryn’s body of work is grounded in the passing down of her family’s ways of knowing, being and doing to represent and celebrate the distinctiveness of Gunditjmara culture. Through a variety of mediums and centring of language, Tarryn’s aims explore the synergies between her cultural and creative practice to expand her work beyond the gallery walls to interrogate, challenge and disrupt public spaces.

Jefa Greenaway, Senior Lecturer, Melbourne School of Design
Jefa is a design communicator across podcasts, articles and also features in a regular segment on ABC Radio. In 2020/2021 he co-curated (with Tristan Wong) the Australian exhibition at La Biennale Architectura di Venezia. Jefa is also lead principal of Greenaway Architects.

Dylan Newell, Architect
Dylan holds a Masters of Architecture from the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne. He has 15 years professional experience is a permaculture practitioner and views the built environment from a landscape systems perspective.


Dr Rochus Hinkel and Dr Peter Raisbeck explore the pressing issues of our times, from social injustice to overconsumption, from climate change to the effects of capitalism through the conversation series Politics and Utopia in Architecture. Together with ethnographers, environmentalists, indigenous elders, activists, architects, historians and philosophers, they reflect on learnings and lessons for architects and designers, and as citizens of a globalised world. Conversations so far include Indigenous Knowledge System, Learning from the AnthropoceneShaping Future Societies or Indigenizing the Architectural Curriculum. Conversations took place at the Melbourne Design Week, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Sustainability Science Conference in Helsinki, as well as online.

This event is part of Melbourne Design Week 2022, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV. The Melbourne School of Design program is made possible by the generous support of Robert Treseder and the Creative Futures Fund.