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Let’s Talk About The Design Identities Of Australia

Let’s Talk About The Design Identities Of Australia

On Friday 11th August from 12-1pm at the Cafe Culture + Insitu pop-up in the Tongue N Groove showroom, we’re excited to come together and talk about elements of Australian design, bringing them together and respecting the culture of our compatriots.

Too often Australia’s design identity is referred to as non-existent or heavily influenced by global phenomenons. Why? Because Australia’s a young country. But it’s not, not in the least. Australia’s history and notions of our design identity largely overlook the Indigenous population.

This year at Sydney Indesign we’re bringing this oversight to the forefront and creating a space for discussion, forming the crux of one of the Habitus, Design Hunter LiveLife Seminar Series. On Friday 11th August Design Identities of Australia: Communities in Design will be hosted by Cafe Culture + Insitu at the Tongue N Groove showroom from 12:00-1:00pm. Trent Jansen, Lyn Balzer & Tony Perkins and Kyle Vander Kuyp will be sharing their experiences, ideas, and insights regarding an all-inclusive Australian design identity, why we’re lacking, how to talk about it, and what to do moving forward.

Tasmanian Aboriginal elder and scholar Greg Lehman once said: “White Australians cannot continue to place Aboriginal culture on a shelf, afraid to touch it. This only cements the divide that already exists between white and Indigenous Australians. It is important for people from all backgrounds – artists, musicians, designers etc. to respectfully take Aboriginal culture into their own expressions of culture, and communicate these ideas to new audiences.”

Following on from this the panel discussion will also draw on questions of how non-Indigenous designers and artists can embrace Indigenous heritage without being culturally insensitive, and what constitutes best practice when collaborating with Indigenous Australian artists, designers, or content? Whether Indigenous artists and designers are expected to create indigenous work. What is the importance of Indigenous Australian culture, myths and narratives in a national identity and how can we embrace and support and shared Australian identity.

With a great deal of respect for cultural heritage – as noted by Marcel Wanders – furniture designer Trent Jansen lectures and shares his method of Design Anthropology at educational institutions in Australia and abroad. Lyn Balzer and Tony Perkins together form LynandTony, product makers, artists and jewellery designers. They draw inspiration from their adoration of the rough, tough, dramatic Australian Bush. In 2003 Kyle Vander Kuyp was awarded the prestigious Charles Perkins Award and has worked for various organisations as an ambassador and mentor for Indigenous youth, he is currently the Indigenous Engagement Manager at Schiavello.

It’s set to be an engaging, captivating, informative and illuminating discussion for panellists and attendees alike. Tickets are numbered so make sure you don’t miss out – book your tickets here.


Holly Cunneen
Deputy Editor