QUT releases Indigenous Australian campus development strategy

Dec 3, 2020
  • Article by Tili Bensley-Nettheim

Developed in consultation with BVN principal Kevin O’Brien, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has released its Indigenous Australian campus development strategy, Campus to Country.

Campus to Country was created to highlight the significance of the land on which QUT sits, fostering deeper understanding and recognition of Indigenous Australian occupation and connection to Country.

The strategy incorporates new facilities, Indigenous artworks, significant public works, planned upgrades and changes to the campus experience.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy) Angela Barney-Leitch said the strategy would shape QUT’s Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove campuses to reflect the culture and history of Indigenous Australians by creating a sense of belonging and place for all.

“QUT’s Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove campuses are located on the Country of the Turrbal and Yugara people,” Barney-Leitch says.

Important sites at Kelvin Grove such as former walking tracks, camp sites, the bora ring within Kelvin Grove Urban Village and Victoria Park, will be recognised and highlighted. At Gardens Point, sites such as traditional settlements, burial sites and walking tracks will be recognised.

Squares, plazas, and courtyards will be created to gather and connect people at important sites. Bridges and links at both campuses will enable movement throughout the spaces. Indoor and outdoor rooms and verandas will be created to support connections. Public art will also feature.

QUT Elder-in-Residence and proud Yugara man Uncle Gregory “Cheg” Egert said, as the original inhabitants and custodians, the Turrbal and Yugara people have a strong connection and sense of belonging to the land and waterways of QUT campuses.

“The Brisbane River surrounding Meanjin is the life blood of this country and has an important role in Yugara and Turrbal connection to land,” says Uncle Cheg.

The strategy was developed collaboratively with BVN principal Kevin O’Brien, urban planning and design consultant Simone Wise, QUT Facilities Management and the Office of the PVC (Indigenous Strategy).

QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil said the university was committed to embedding Indigenous Australian culture, knowledge, and perspectives across all areas of University activity.

“This strategy will foster a greater recognition and understanding of Australia’s First Nations People and the historic and cultural significance of the land QUT inhabits,” Professor Sheil says.

“Our ongoing consultation and engagement with Indigenous Australians will be vital to ensure their perspectives are meaningfully considered during the implementation phase.”

MPavilion’s BLAKitecture forum is currently in progress, with each talk exploring how built environment practitioners can “work with Country rather than against it”.

Lead photo: QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil, QUT Elder-in-Residence Uncle Cheg and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy) Angela Barney-Leitch.

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