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Buchan and the University of Queensland combine for Indigenous scholarship

A new architecture scholarship will support an Indigenous student through their degree and prepare them for a career in design thanks to a partnership between a global architecture practice and a major Australian university.

Buchan and the University of Queensland combine for Indigenous scholarship

(L-R): Hayden Djakic (Buchan), Theresa Bower (artist), Bronwyn Fredericks (UQ) and Stephen Auld (Buchan).

The inaugural Buchan Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Architecture Industry Scholarship is set to commence in 2023. The three-year scholarship will support a student through their undergraduate studies, providing for the essential needs of their campus experience. It will offer access to a diverse academic and professional network and engagement in industry opportunities.

“Education is a key focus of our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP),” says Buchan CEO Stephen Auld. “We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are severely under-represented in the built environment. We support positive and meaningful change in this area and recognise the active role we can play in breaking down barriers to entry through financial and social support.”

Artwork by Theresa Bower.

Across Australia, more than 2,200 corporate, government, and not-for-profit organisations have made a formal commitment to reconciliation through the RAP program. The four RAP types – Reflect, Innovate, Stretch and Elevate – allow RAP partners to continuously develop and strengthen reconciliation commitments in new ways. Buchan’s scholarship is part of this wider approach.

Professor Bronwyn Fredericks, UQ’s pro-vice-chancellor Indigenous engagement, adds: “Education is a powerful tool and has a positive ripple effect — for the student, for the community and our society more broadly. Until we close the gap in higher education participation and outcomes, the goals of reconciliation will remain elusive.”

Wiradjuri woman, Theresa Bower, has a degree in architecture and is currently doing a Master of Philosophy at UQ. Her work there is focusing on embedding culture into the built environment, while she also forms part of Burrundi Design Studio. The story of the RAP with Buchan is being told through a collaborative artwork that depicts the aspiration to connect people, place, Country and culture in the future. 

Related: Artist Emma Coulter at James Makin Gallery

“The expanding star icon represents education,” says Bower. “Its central core represents the university and the knowledge that is held within, reaching out to connect First Nations people to higher education in the built environment profession.”

Applications for the scholarship close on February 27 and Indigenous students can apply via the scholarships section of the UQ website here.


Richard O’Leary

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