AILA launches Reconciliation Action Plan

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) has launched its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). To be implemented over a twelve month period between July 2018 to June 2019, the Reflect RAP aims to facilitate the development of a deeper level of respect in AILA members and staff for Traditional Custodians and their relationship with the landscape.

The plan, which has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, sets out fifteen actions under the four areas of “Relationships,” “Respect,” “Opportunities” and “Governance,” and will unfold through a combination of AILA state chapter-led events and the ongoing sharing of information.

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“As built environment professionals who engage with land, places, cultures, history, people, natural systems and built context, landscape architects seek to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The development of [the] Reconciliation Action Plan allows us to better advocate for a “Connection to Country” approach to landscape planning, design and management on all our projects, in varying contexts and across many scales,” said AILA National President Linda Corkery.

The development of the action plan was led by the “Connection to Country” committe, a sub-committee of the AILA Victoria state chapter, whose members include Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Cultural Ambassadors, AILA members and staff from across Australia.

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“The good will of everyone on the Committee, and the way in which our relationships have been established allow for respect of cultural protocols. It was an innovative approach,” said Aunty Ruby Sims, a Wangerriburra and Mununjali Elder and AILA RAP Cultural Ambassador, according to an AILA press release.

Rueben Berg, a Gunditjmara man, graduate architect and founder and director of Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria (IADV) said that it was great to see AILA recognizing the importance of engaging with and understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures.

“The RAP will provide a great opportunity for the industry to embed thinking about our culture into everyday practice and increasing the involvement of our people in this industry,” said Berg.

The artwork for the Reflect RAP was created by Paul Herzich, a Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri man from South Australia and an AILA registered landscape architect. The artwork represents the 65,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the approximately 200 years of non-Indigenous cultures as white and blue stars respectively, above Country.

The AILA RAP Cultural Ambassadors involved in guiding the development of the RAP are Aunty Ruby Sims, a Wangerriburra and Mununjali Elder and cultural educator; Dr Noel Nannup, Kurongkurl Katitjin Elder in Residence; Paul Herzich, Aboriginal landscape architect and visual artist and Kaurna Traditional Owner of the Adelaide Plains; Aunty Lynette Crocker, Senior Kaurna Woman and Elder and Kaurna Traditional Owner of the Adelaide Plains, and Reuben Berg, a Gunditjmara man and founder and director of Indigenous Art and Design Victoria.

To access the Reflect Reconcilitation Action Plan on the AILA website, go here.

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