Deakin University

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International Indigenous Design Charter : Protocols for sharing Indigenous knowledge in professional design practice

educational resource
posted on 2018-12-01, 00:00 authored by Russell KennedyRussell Kennedy, Meghan KellyMeghan Kelly, Brian Martin, Jefa Greenaway
The International Indigenous Design Charter book has been created to serve as a living document to guide best practice when working with Indigenous knowledge in commercial design projects. Supported by the International Council of Design (ico-D), the International Indigenous Design Charter considers the needs of the diverse design communities and cultures globally.
The International Indigenous Design Charter acknowledges the traditional owners of countries throughout the world and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. The authors also acknowledge the Kulin Nation, the traditional owners of country where this document was developed.



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Deakin University

Place of publication

Geelong, Vic.






This book was produced by invitation of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and Creative Victoria (CV) to support the exhibition of the International Indigenous Design Charter at the Melbourne exhibition at the 2018 Hong Kong Business of Design Week.

Research statement

Background   The Australian Indigenous Design Charter, a locally nuanced document, did not address global concern of how designer’s professional practice methods respectfully engage with Indigenous Knowledge. Indigenous representation in communication design is an international concern, the 10 steps from the Australian Charter were examined and amended through extensive consultation worldwide to accommodate international concerns and more design disciplines, beyond communication design, such as architecture and the built environment. Contribution This research examines the sensitivities, sensibilities and commercial dynamics associated with working with Indigenous Knowledge’s, an issue that is prevalent around the world. This is the first document of its kind to offer a system of accountability for commercial design practice framed by engagement rather than design outcomes. The document highlights the way to achieve a positive, self-determined representation of Indigenous cultures in an international context. The research was informed by community consultations in Greenland (Inuit), Denmark (Saami), Sweden (Saami) and Canadian (Indian) academic and design participants. The International Charter was launched at World Design Summit in Montreal, Canada, 2017. A book outlining the principles of the Charter  was launched at the Hong Kong, Business of Design Week. Significance Endorsed and promoted by IIDC and the International Council of Design and the Design Institute of Aust. Winner of multiple Premier’s Design Awards 2018 and the 2020 Bates Smart Award for Architecture in Media. Currently in use by corporations such as WSP, Schiavello. Presentations by invitation have occurred at: Planning Institute of Aus Presentation; UN Breakfast; Indigenous Architecture + Design Forum; Reconciliation Conversations Provocations, Policy & Projects Symposium; Aus Institute of Architects. Exhibited internationally.

Publication classification

JO3 Original Creative Works – Textual Work


NTRO Major



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