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Type: Report
Title: Architecture for Aboriginal children and families: a post occupancy evaluation of the Taikurrendi, Gabmididi Manoo and Ngura Yadurirn Children and Family Centres
Author: Grant, E.M.
Green, I.
Colbung, M.
Publisher Place: Adelaide, S.A.
Issue Date: 2015
ISBN: 9780646931548
Assignee: Department for Education and Child Development (South Australia).
Statement of
Elizabeth Grant, Michael Colbung and Ian Green
Abstract: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are proud, living cultures. The survival and revival of cultures relies on cultural identity being an integral part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s educational environment and providing environments that respect the ancestral ways, family, cultural and community traditions. Family is at the core of Aboriginal society and well-being. Complex kinship systems are central to how the culture is passed on and society is organised with families having the primary responsibility for the upbringing, protection and development of their children. Providing a safe communal setting of loving and caring with opportunities for a child’s growth, development and self-empowerment has dramatic impacts on the overall welfare of the child and is pivotal in addressing the disadvantages experienced by the Aboriginal children. This report reviews the development, outcomes and responses of users to three Children and Family Centres constructed in South Australia. The Gabmididi Manoo Children and Family Centre (Whyalla), Taikurrendi Children and Family Centre (Christies Beach) and the Ngura Yadurirn Children and Family Centre (Ceduna) were developed by the Department for Education and Child Development (South Australia) within the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development framework. The projects are recognised as Australian exemplars in the design of facilities for Aboriginal children and families. The projects have been overwhelming received by the communities concerned and have resulted in growing numbers of Aboriginal children engaging in early learning in the areas where they are located. The Aboriginal communities concerned were keen to see the Aboriginal Children and Family Centres as places where Aboriginal people can be empowered. Critical to the success of the projects was the concept of placemaking and the creation of Aboriginal ‘places’, each with its own Aboriginal identity. To achieve this, the design process included developing understandings of the behavioural and cultural norms and health requirements of potential users so that spaces were designed that were easy and pleasurable to use. In collaboration with communities, the centres were layered Indigenous meanings through the use of signs, symbols and representations. As a result, the Children and Family Centres provide a strong physical focus for the community and families. These are places with strong cultural identities that have been generally embraced by the communities they seek to serve. As entities, the centres seek to promote themselves as safe places that reinforce positive self-identity and cultural engagement. The importance of developing each individual Children and Family Centres to have its own cultural identity was seen as paramount. Many lessons were learnt from these projects. Issues such as achievable timelines, planning and consultation processes, the appropriateness of building and construction methods, the delegation of responsibilities, public art processes and the procurement of furniture, fittings and equipment, all impinged on the processes and finished product. Consideration of these matters is likely to lead to improved outcomes in the future.The Taikurrendi, Gabmididi Manoo and Ngura Yadurirn Children and Family Centres are precedents for the future, where facilities will be designed for Aboriginal children and families that reflect preferred Indigenous lifestyles and child rearing practices and respond to the cultural identity and spirituality of Aboriginal people with respect.
Rights: Authors retain copyright
RMID: 0030032668
Appears in Collections:Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning publications

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