Arcadia Landscape Architecture has announced the launch of the National Arcadia Landscape Architecture Award for Indigenous Students (NALAAIS), a scholarship program that aims to encourage Indigenous students to enter the landscape architecture profession. The national program is an expansion of the Arcadia Landscape Architecture Indigenous Scholarship that was established with the UNSW School of the Built Environment in 2016.
In 2020, the NALAAIS scholarship is open to all Indigenous students enrolled in an AILA-accredited landscape architecture program. At present there are eight universities providing AILA-accredited landscape architecture courses around Australia. The scholarship will be awarded to one student per university, per year, with each scholarship to provide support to each student for the duration of their course.
In a statement, Alex Longley, Arcadia principal said: “When our first recipient of this scholarship completed her landscape architecture degree, it brought the total number of Indigenous landscape architects practising in Australia to just three. While we feel pride in the small success the scholarship has created to date, we also recognise that we want to achieve so much more to ensure our profession will benefit from the perspective of Indigenous landscape architects.”
Longley said the NALAAIS program had been under development for almost a year, but the recent bushfires had brought a renewed focus on how Indigenous knowledge and traditional land and fire management practices could prevent fire damage and catalyse ecological recovery.
“[The bushfires are just] one example of how the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge can improve the way we care for the landscape, as well as adding value and richness to the sense of place, sharing stories and building cultural awareness,” he said.
According to Michael Barnett, another principal at Arcadia, discusisons with universities around the scholarship were focusing on how each institution might provide support for the students during the education process.
“We’ve talked about the support that can come from the Indigenous Programs and Pathways Units at each institution, as well as mentoring and work experience opportunities Arcadia can provide through our studio and network,” he said.