Building connection to country into Arcadia’s designs

05 Feb 2019 | News

Arcadia Landscape Architecture Scholarship for Indigenous Students recipient Kaylie Salvatori has joined the Sydney studio full time, after completing her final graduating studio at UNSW.

Kaylie’s pathway to Landscape Architecture has included study for a degree in Fine Arts, during which time she explored notions of identity, community displacement and environmental degradation through her art. The issues she uncovered prompted a move to a double degree in Laws and Development Studies, with the intention of contributing to the community through environmental law and human rights. Meeting her partner showed her the potential of Landscape Architecture to combine artistic expression with community development and her connection with Country. Since studying Landscape Architecture, Kaylie has become passionate about higher representation of Indigenous people in the profession, as the discipline holds the potential to tap into intrinsic connections to Country, as well as both a symbolic and physical reclamation of stewardship.

Kaylie’s experience and cultural background has been instrumental in the work Arcadia is doing for Darlington Public School and Kent Road Public School. Her sensitivity to approaching Indigenous themes and issues and passion for community engagement and collaboration leads to designs that respond to the needs of the Indigenous community, whilst also strengthening the broader community’s connection to Country and our First People.

“While Indigenous communities are diverse, we all have an underlying connection to Country which is core to our beliefs: if we take care of Country, Country will take care of us,” says Kaylie.

Kaylie has established relationships with community visionaries and  initiatives, such as Yerrabingin, who she worked with to help create Australia’s first Indigenous urban food production farm. The Arcadia team is aligning with the Yerrabingin team on a range of relevant projects across the country, which have strong elements of collaboration with Indigenous communities, leaders and Elders.

“The Arcadia team is working hard to develop a stronger understanding of effective ways to work with Indigenous communities, and it’s fantastic to have Kaylie here to help guide and inspire us. At Arcadia’s recent Christmas Conference, Kaylie arranged for the Yerrabingin team to conduct a really productive, interactive workshop focused on designing with Indigenous communities in a meaningful and constructive way. The insights we received can only help strengthen the designs we produce in all areas of our work,” says Alex Longley, Principal at Arcadia.

Kaylie’s final project – the Dirty Minds Project – was a prize winner in the Landscape Architecture magazine’s 2018 Student Prize. The Dirty Minds Project explores the potential for Aboriginal agriculture to address soil salinity and erosion while advancing the role of Aboriginal food production systems in sustainable food, textile and materials production.