This my Country, I’m Painting Here: The role of social practice art and participatory design in building resilience and place-making in the Warmun Aboriginal Community, Kimberley, Western Australia

Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek
2015 Conference

This paper reports on the design, implementation and evaluation of a socially inclusive and locally driven public arts program enacted in the Warmun Aboriginal Community, East Kimberley, Western Australia. The broader research is focused on how situated art practices informed by participatory design processes and Indigenous knowledge systems can transform the experience of place in remote Indigenous communities. Here, ‘design’ is about making sense of things and ‘participation’ means collaboration; caring, attending to and listening, and co-creation to negotiate complex problems and promote healing and emancipation. This paper closes with a critical reflection on how these design and consultation processes have disrupted my own inclusive design practice (as a non-Indigenous design researcher), and where relationships between designers and users, and social transformation have been reimagined.

Download Full text PDF (472.41 KB)

About the author

Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek is a design researcher, digital media artist and Senior Lecturer
in Communication Design at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. Samantha holds
a BA (Hons) in Aboriginal Prehistory and a PhD in Media and Communication Studies. As an Early Career Researcher, Samantha’s approach emphasises inclusivity and co-creation with a focus on environmental design, place-making, social practice art, design activism and Indigenous knowledge systems. Moreover, how design as a discipline can enrich trans-disciplinary collaborations. As a designer and exhibiting digital media artist, Samantha has an awarded studio and teaching practice.