Designing with Country – Pathways to Collaboration & Connection


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Answer Sheet

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Designing with Country is an approach to design that acknowledges and respects the Indigenous cultures, histories, and connections to the land and waters of Australia. It aims to create design outcomes that are culturally appropriate, environmentally sustainable, and beneficial for the well-being of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

As more architectural projects involve collaboration with First Nations Peoples, it is important to understand how to approach this work respectfully and ethically.

The first and most important aspect is to build genuine relationships and trust between the non-Indigenous architect, supplier, or manufacturer and the Indigenous artist and community. The second aspect is to agree on a process that respects the stories and cultural protocols of the Indigenous collaborators and incorporates their designs into the project in a meaningful way.

In this session of CPD Live, we will discuss these aspects and more with our speakers, who are both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. They will share their insights and experiences of collaborating with First Nations Peoples in design and architecture. They will explain the intricacies and nuances of Designing with Country and highlight the rewards of a harmonious collaboration that respects cultural elements and protocols.


Learning Outcomes

At the end of this presentation, you should be able to:

  • Explain what is meant by the term ‘Designing for Country’
  • Display an understanding of the significance of Designing for Country to First Nations peoples
  • Outline the importance of communication and collaboration when undertaking projects of this type
  • Outline the processes involved in incorporating Indigenous artworks into broader architectural projects





Jefa Greenaway, RAIA MDIA

Jefa is a founding Director of Greenaway Architects, an Adjunct Industry Fellow at Swinburne University, an Honorary Fellow of Design at Deakin University and an Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture (AILA) National Cultural Ambassador. He’s championed Indigenous led design thinking for 3 decades as a registered architect across three States, as founding Director of Indigenous Architecture + Design Australia (IADA), as a member of the AIA Cultural Reference Panel, and as co-author of the International Indigenous Design Charter, with a particular interest in design equity and Country-centred design. His current projects include the $11B North East Link Project, winner of the 2022 WAFX Future Infrastructure award, the UTS National First Nations College and Stage II of the Koorie Heritage Trust. He was a 2020 Design Institute of Australia’s (DIA) ‘Hall of Fame’ inductee, signifying an outstanding contribution to Australian design and was recently named in the Qantas 100 Inspiring Australians, celebrating their centenary and was included within the INDE.Awards 2023 ‘The Luminary’ (special prize) recognising an individual whose entire portfolio represents a lifetime of design finesse and distinction.


James Mfula, Creative Director, Milliken 

James Mfula, as the Creative Director, is a highly innovative and artistic designer known for challenging design boundaries to create inspiring, cohesive, and practical products. With a forward-thinking mindset, he possesses a blend of creative and technical expertise, demonstrating a keen understanding of both local and global markets. James actively engages with his work and design team, showcasing hands-on and collaborative involvement in projects. For more than 20 years, James has led design initiatives within the Milliken Australia and New Zealand team, having a vital role in transforming the Milliken product portfolio and actively partaking in social value initiatives with other designers and its communities.

Brentyn Lugnan, Gumbaynggirr Artist

Brentyn Lugnan, a proud Gumbaynggirr man from Urunga on the Mid North Coast is an experienced artist, having attended the Sydney College of Fine Arts, TAFE and the EORA Centre in Sydney. He has worked as a Graphic Designer for Television with SBS, an Animator on ‘The Dreaming Series’ at Aboriginal Nations for ABC and is a co-founder of Bruz Design, clothing and graphics. Recently, Brentyn Lugnan and Dean Kelly have started the Yurruungga Aboriginal Corporation which plays a pivotal role in national parks and forest management and cultural immersion in the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, preserving and promoting the generations of Gumbaynggirr people and land. With a contemporary take on traditional First Nations’ aesthetics, he has had a major impact on the Mid North Coast Art scene in recent years with works ranging from murals and public sculptural pieces to successful group and solo shows. Lugnan’s designs which feature his distinctive style and technique, appear locally and nationally. Brentyn is also the artist who produced the Water Yuludarla art piece for Milliken, which was translated into a successful carpet collection named after the artwork. “When I’m painting it’s when I feel most connected to who I am. It’s hard to put into words. It’s why almost all the pieces I’ve done over the last ten years have been about connection to country, linking into my ancestors who’ve come before me, acknowledging, and boosting their spirit and bringing them back.”






Presented By:


Presention Type:

Formal CPD

CPD Points:

1 Formal CPD Point