Throughout the research and exploration stage of the design/build workshop, Karl Telfer and Gavin Malone have been teaching the students through a series of presentations and discussions, as well as taking the students on a number of field trips to the surrounding area around the Aldinga Arts Eco Village (AAEV).
A strong bicultural focus has meant that both the AAEV community and the Aboriginal Kaurna Country have been intensively, and extensively, investigated and researched throughout the first weeks of the workshop. The students have been exposed to the differing cultural perspectives, histories, stories, and notions of place and landscape in the surrounding Aldinga and greater Adelaide areas.
The Aboriginal research portion of the workshop began with a ‘welcome into country’ ceremony for the students by Karl Telfer. Over the course of days that followed, students were exposed to Kaurna storytelling, monuments, sacred sites, cultural and historical Aboriginal knowledge and tools, as well as hands-on activities, which included making fire, spear throwing, and teachings on edible plants in the Kaurna tradition. The fieldtrips immersed the students in the Kaurna Country landscape, as well as presented the opportunity for the students to closely follow the Tjilbruke Dreaming Story; a highly significant Kaurna dreaming story to the local area.
Research of the AAEV included guided tours throughout the village, discussions and critiques, and formal presentations by founding members of the community. As well, throughout the course of the design/build workshop, students have been living in the AAEV and have been intensively immersed in the culture, patterns, and dynamics of the community.
Throughout the workshop, Gavin and Karl have unraveled the layers of story, history, culture, environment, place, and meaning, giving the students a greater understanding of the AAEV, the Kaurna people, and the landscape of the surrounding area.