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First Peoples

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The Living Pavilion research report 25.97 MB

This report provides a summary of the design, programming and research conducted at The Living Pavilion, a regenerative placemaking project which took place at the University of Melbourne as part of CLIMARTE’s 'ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE’ festival (1-17 May 2019). The Living Pavilion was a living laboratory and temporary event space featuring a landscape design of 40,000 Kulin Nations plants that celebrated Indigenous knowledge, ecological science and sustainable design through participatory arts practice. A key aim was to identify how temporary event spaces can act as ‘testing grounds’ for long-term potential of place. 

The report features both an overview of process, design and programming of The Living Pavilion (Part 1) and the results of the transdisciplinary research that occurred alongside the project (Part 2). It documents the impact of the project through an assessment of place activation, Indigenous knowledge transfer, biodiversity benefit, pedagogical potential and social-ecological connection, as well as the capacity for these findings to inform future opportunities for the University site.

Summary of key findings:

  • The design and programming choices which forefronted Indigenous themes (both ecological and cultural) were the most popular spaces and events, with many participants expressing a desire and willingness to learn more about First Nation perspectives.
  • As a temporary event space, The Living Pavilion was successful in enhancing nature connection, with 77% of survey participants saying that they experienced an increased ‘oneness with nature’ and 88% stating that they felt more relaxed and de-stressed while visiting;
  • The influx of 40,000 Kulin Nation plants and Indigenous content of the festival were a major drawcard for attracting the wider community which in turn helped to break down barriers and create a ‘sense of community’ on campus. For instance, 69% of survey participants stating that they met new people;
  • The installation of Kulin Nation plants enhanced insect biodiversity by at least 27%;
  • The Living Pavilion assisted in inspiring future design and programming strategies, with the temporary design providing opportunities to assess people’s aesthetic responses to the plant selection, spatial design and programming for long-term potential.
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