subjunctive space

University of Technology Sydney

Project Description

The Miluni (mud) Songline challenges the erasure of Sydney’s overlooked Aboriginal spatial histories and practices, by valuing and celebrating them. Using robotically 3D printed clay, with UTS Masters of Architecture students, we produced a series of six installations that form a Songline through the Badu Mangroves. The Songline allows participants in the Sydney Olympic Park Indigenous Education program to experience and embody aspects of Aboriginal cultures that they would otherwise only hear, bringing the stories and practices to life for participants in a new way.

We were culturally led by D’harawal Saltwater Knowledge Keeper Shannon Foster to develop the Miluni Songline through the Badu Mangroves at Sydney Olympic Park for use in the Park’s Indigenous Education program. The project, funded by is a collaboration between Shannon Foster, Jo Paterson Kinniburgh, Tran Dang and Daniel Beasly (Stukel Architecture), working with the Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

The project asks students to consider how they might collaborate in projects that are Indigenous-led, how they listen to and respect Aboriginal knowledges and how they listen to Country when they design.

Learning Methodology

This studio is run as an intensive studio with 2 full days of contact hours throught 7 weeks. The students will be immersed in the community having an opportunity to take all lessons at the Community Hub allowing the students to experience the area in depth. The studio is open to all built environment disciplines with assessment strategies adapted to allow skill development and evaluation based on their future role as placemakers.

Students will work collaboratively in small groups to plan, design and implement strategies for community engagement. Then, their designs will reflect and respond to the community perceptions gathered during this engagement. Each group will be expected to manage their budget, safety and policies of the Newport area.

It is expected that students enrolling into this studio will be able to develop the following placemaking skills:

How does this studio match PlaceAgency Objectives?

The studio created an opportunity for students to work closely with local Aboriginal representatives and question the strategies traditional architecture uses to approach a site. In this process, the students learned to engage with the Indigenous concept of Country and learn to listen for the story of the place beyond that of written post-colonisation history.
The students approached the project through a clear objective rather than seeking for a specific outcome and were able to respond to their learnings. The project site and idea shifted and evolved through the engagement process.

Activities – Studio Outline

ActivityDescriptionKey dates for activitiesKey learning objectives
Site VisitsGuided site visits and Community consultationJuly - October 2018Learning D’harawal knowledges of Country Documenting Country
Education Program SessionsSongline DevelopmentSeptember-December 2018Learning the stories of the Education Program for each level of students
HandoverHandover of the Songline to the Education Officers and Sydney Olympic Park representativesDecember 11 2018humility

Location Description

Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney


Studio Leaders
Joanne Paterson KinniburghJoanne Paterson Kinniburgh
Project champion

Shannon Foster

- Architecture