Landscape Construction Through Fire + Water

Photo of fish traps in a river at Brewarrina. Dozens of small rocks have been placed in a shallow area of the river.  Eucalyptus trees and yellow grass are growing on the banks of the river.

The recordings of Landscape Construction Through Fire + Water can now be watched online.

Please join us for two connecting panels: Landscape Construction Through Fire and Landscape Construction Through Water.

Indigenous peoples have shaped and managed the Australian continent through thousands of years of cultural practice. Currently, just 40% of the Australian landmass is controlled by Indigenous groups. However, these areas experience much lower rates of species loss and environmental degradation compared to areas that are not Indigenous-managed.

As part of Melbourne Design Week 2022, these two interlinked panels will consider how Indigenous peoples used both fire and water to influence the landscape over millennia. We will then discuss how we can collaborate and use this knowledge to create a better and healthier future through policy, education, tourism, and cultural revival.

The panellists will be Indigenous knowledge holders and Traditional Owners, working in both academic and community settings. You can find the panellists’ biographies below.

Schedule

6:00pm - Welcome and acknowledgement of Country

6:10pm - Landscape Construction Through Fire panel

7:15pm - Short break between panels

7:30pm - Landscape Construction Through Water panel

8:30pm - Event ends

You can book a ticket for one or both events. If you would like to attend just the Landscape Construction Through Water panel, please aim to arrive at 7:15pm to allow ample time to check in and find a seat before the 7:30pm start.

Landscape Construction Through Fire

Associate Professor Michael-Shawn Fletcher is a Wiradjuri man and Director of Research Capability at the Indigenous Knowledge Institute. He is also a physical geographer and Assistant Dean (Indigenous) for the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne. Michael’s interests are in the long-term interactions between humans, climate, disturbance, and vegetation at local, regional, and global scales. His current work involves looking at historical environmental records from across the Southern Hemisphere to reconstruct how the environment has changed.

Uncle Dave Wandin is the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Aboriginal Corporation’s Cultural Practices Manager (Fire & Water). Prior to this role, Uncle Dave was instrumental in the development of the Corporation’s Narrap Team, a team of cultural land managers who provide commercial services for different authorities and businesses with land and water management responsibilities. Uncle Dave is a recognised leader in both the promotion and execution of cultural (cool) burns in Victoria.

Maddi Miller is a Darug woman living and working on unceded Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Wilam Biik. She is an archaeologist, artist, writer, and is currently a research fellow at The University of Melbourne. Maddi’s research focuses on storytelling as a mechanism for bringing together multiple ways of knowing. Maddi has previous experience working in government and was selected to be part of the Australian delegation to the UNESCO world heritage meeting in 2019.

Enterprise Professor Bruce Pascoe is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man. He has published 36 book including Dark Emu which won the NSW Premier's Award for Literature in 2016 and Young Dark Emu which won the both the Booksellers Association Prize and the CBCA Non-fiction award in 2020. He has published numerous essays and journalism both in Australia and overseas. Bruce is also a farmer and grows Australian Aboriginal Grains and tubers. He is a Board Member of First Languages Australia, Black Duck Foods, and Twofold Aboriginal Corporation.

Tammy Gilson, Wadawurrung ba-gurrk (woman), is the Aboriginal Partnerships Coordinator for the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning in the Grampians region and has extensive knowledge of Cultural heritage and natural resource management including traditional fire burning practice. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Land and Sea Country Management and is heavily involved with the National Firesticks Alliance Group. Tammy is a lead contact to host the upcoming Victorian Aboriginal Women’s Role in Firesticks Workshop on Wadawurrung Country. Tammy is also an award-winning fibre artist whose work informs diverse layers of traditional knowledges. Tammy’s passion is to return fire back to Country and work with different eco-systems that provide resources for Cultural practices.

Landscape Construction Through Water

Associate Professor Michael-Shawn Fletcher is a Wiradjuri man and Director of Research Capability at the Indigenous Knowledge Institute. He is also a physical geographer and Assistant Dean (Indigenous) for the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne. Michael’s interests are in the long-term interactions between humans, climate, disturbance, and vegetation at local, regional, and global scales. His current work involves looking at historical environmental records from across the Southern Hemisphere to reconstruct how the environment has changed.

Uncle Paul Gordon is a Ngemba man, born at Brewarrina. He grew up in a tin humpy on the Barwon River in north western New South Wales, Australia. Since 1983, he has spent most of his time with the Old Men doing cultural activities and being taught by them Aboriginal Lore. Today Uncle Paul is recognised as a senior Elder and is one of the highest initiated Aboriginal men in NSW. As a traditional knowledge holder and custodian of Aboriginal Lore throughout Australia, Uncle Paul wants to share ceremony with all people.

Maddi Miller is a Darug woman living and working on unceded Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Wilam Biik. She is an archaeologist, artist, writer, and is currently a research fellow at The University of Melbourne. Maddi’s research focuses on storytelling as a mechanism for bringing together multiple ways of knowing. Maddi has previous experience working in government and was selected to be part of the Australian delegation to the UNESCO world heritage meeting in 2019.

Associate Professor Bradley Moggridge is a proud Murri from the Kamilaroi Nation living on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra. His research area is Indigenous Water Science and how traditional knowledge influences the way we manage water and how it can bring back good water. Bradley has qualifications in hydrogeology (MSc) and environmental science (BSc) and is a part-time PhD candidate at the University of Canberra. He was the Indigenous Liaison Officer for the Threatened Species Recovery Hub under NESP for 5 years. Over the past 25 years, Bradley has worked extensively in water and environmental science, cultural science, regulation, and water planning and management, including policy development, legislative reviews, applied research, and project management.

Melissa Kennedy is a Tati Tati woman from the Murray River region in Northwest Victoria advocating for Traditional Owner sovereignty, self-determination, and water justice. As the Tati Tati Aboriginal Water Officer, Melissa’s role in the community includes supporting river restoration projects, creating spaces for traditional knowledge gathering and sharing, as well as engaging with various environmental stakeholders to progress First Nations water and land care objectives.

Important event information

COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for anyone attending a University of Melbourne campus. You will be required to show proof of vaccination upon arrival. You can read more information about this requirement here.

NOTE: Please do not attend if you have a fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss or change in sense of taste or smell — however mild.

As ticket allocations are strictly limited, we ask that you cancel your ticket if you are no longer able to attend so that we can re-distribute. Please either cancel your tickets through Eventbrite (instructions can be found here) or contact us at indigenous-knowledge@unimelb.edu.au