Tristan Schulz: Drawing Together Indigenous Futures



Drawing Together Indigenous Futures maps out knowledge patterns emerging from yarning sessions with a group of Australia’s leading Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander academics, held at GNIBI (College of Indigenous Australian Peoples), Southern Cross University, Lismore, in 2013. Participants discussed what cultural competency looks like from Indigenous perspectives, and how it might be activated as an event in process across a university. The cognitive map overlays commonalities-in-difference between a Canadian First Peoples knowledge, Australian Indigenous Knowledge, and a Western conception of transformative knowledge. In this, the map becomes a mediating object for future intercultural conversations. Four kinds of drawing together are shown: drawing together with the hand; drawing together assemblages; drawing together mess; and performing drawing ‘together’. The culturally sensitive parts of the information mapped have been concealed for public exhibition. This concealment is itself a commentary on which actors and networks are deliberately left out of maps, whose history is entangled with colonial histories and agendas. This project corrects the selective cartography of colonialism and revives what was destroyed in that process, re-inscribing what has been omitted and excluded, and critiquing assumptions about the neutrality of information design.


Tristan Schultz is an interdisciplinary designer and lecturer in visual communication design at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. His research interests are related to the connections between Design and Colonialism, with a particular focus on new openings combining Design Futures and Australian Aboriginal cultural production. Previously, Tristan was a research collaborator with Southern Cross University as part of the Indigenous Musical Journeys project and with GNIBI College of Indigenous Australian Peoples as part of the Indigenous Futures project. Tristan is a panel member of the Australia Council for the Arts (a council of the Australian Government) as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Strategy Panel Member.