Marngo Designing Futures
Connecting Culture, Demystifying University, Building Leadership Capacity with a Focus on Design for Indigenous Secondary Students across Victoria
by Dr. Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek
Funded through the Commonwealth Government’s Higher Education Participation Program (HEPP), Marngo Designing Futures is a tertiary aspiration program that builds creative leadership capacity, stimulate interest and raise awareness of careers and pathways in Design, Film and Media for ATSI secondary students that promotes and enables Indigenous design and innovation. In partnership with Indigenous (AIMSC certified) design studios, artists, designers and community bodies, Marngo Designing Futures affords opportunities for the sharing of Indigenous design knowledge and intergenerational collaboration and formation of peer to peer networks in an intensive and responsive workshop format, on Country.
The 2015 project workstation explores the connections between design, film and architecture. Students, staff and design student mentors travelled to Lake Mungo in the Willandra Lakes Cultural Heritage Area. Here Elders, Aboriginal designers and National Parks Discovery Rangers engaged students in the rich Aboriginal prehistory of the area, storytelling and cultural training. 15 ATSI students from schools across Victoria participated in Marngo Designing Futures 2015, tripling the intake from the previous year. Positive feedback from Schools endorses the effectiveness of Marngo to harness the power of creativity to develop students teamwork, problem-solving, communication and lateral thinking skills, which can then be carried into university and industry, directly benefiting their own communities.
Marngo Designing Futures respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People, and their Elders past and present, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which Swinburne’s Australian campuses are located in Melbourne’s east and outer-east. ‘Wominjeka’ means ‘Welcome’ in the Woiwurung Language of the Wurundjeri people. We also acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of lands across Australia where we conduct business, their Elders, Ancestors, cultures and heritage.
Marngo Designing Futures also gratefully acknowledges Aunty Joy Murphy OA for her assistance with the use and translation of the ‘Marngo’ name and Bogong moth symbol as an appropriate acknowledgement of country. Marngo meaning 'over there’ and 'in the future', and the Bogong moth symbol which is the moiety of the Wiradjuri.
The Marngo brand concept design was created by Marcus Lee Design, with dual meanings – the Bogong moth symbolises the transforming life cycle and journey from egg, larva, pupa to adult – which aligns with the learning and transitional career pathways of a future in design. Video by Zak Page, photography by Georgia Haynes and Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek.