What is Indigenous Engineering Design?#

Indigenous engineering design demonstrates a highly sophisticated transdisciplinary systems thinking approach towards solving problems.

For over 65,000 years Indigenous people in Australia have made extraordinary contributions to technology and engineering. These contributions can be seen in the scale and breadth of their developments, from the UNESCO listed Budj Bim eel traps, to the trade routes of greenstone axe heads, to complex transdisciplinary systems of land management and living as demonstrated in the NSW Heritage listed Brewarrina fish traps.

These are just a couple of examples of how technical, cultural, ecological and scientific knowledge are harnessed in Indigenous cultures to engineer in Australia.

What is the Bandalang Studio?#

Bandalang is a Wiradyuri language name which means ‘joining’ or ‘junction’. The name Bandalang was gifted to the studio by Ngambri (Walgalu), Wallaballooa (Ngunnawal), Wiradyuri (Erambie) custodian, Paul Girrawah House. The name symbolises the spirit of collaboration which is integral to the mission of the ANU Bandalang Studio. The Bandalang Studio is a place in which Indigenous Knowledge and traditional Western practice can collaborate to find sustainable solutions to our future in engineering.

In order to honour and learn from these deeply important Indigenous Knowledge Systems, the Australian National University School of Engineering has established a First Nations designed and led Indigenous Engineering Design Studio which seeks to embed Indigenous Knowledge Systems into the teachings and research of a new generation of engineers.

The Bandalang Studio aims to bolster the research and practice of Indigenous Knowledge in engineering by fostering interdisciplinary collaborations, supporting Indigenous individuals, enterprises, start-ups and their allies. Practitioners, researchers and academics from all disciplines are welcome to work within and alongside the Bandalang Studio.

Bandalang Studio Founding Principles#

The Bandalang Studio is founded on four principles which guide our strategic priorities.

  • Principle of Bandalang (Collaboration) bandalang = joining, junction (noun)
  • Principle of Wudhagarbinya (Listening ) wudhagarbinya = listen or winhangarra = listen, hear, think or ngattai = listen
  • Principle of Dhurinya (Equality) dhurinya = being, continuing to being
  • Principle of Gurray (Change) gurray = change or refreshment

The above languages include Walgalu, Wiradyuri, Dhurga and Ngunnawal/Gundungarra.

Bandalang Studio Mission#

  • platforming Indigenous Knowledge Systems in engineering nationally and internationally
  • building Indigenous ways of thinking, being and doing into the ANU School of Engineering course structure, curriculum development and delivery
  • fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and partnerships that support Indigenous projects and enterprises
  • create life-long learning support pathways for Indigenous students, practitioners and researchers in engineering
  • to critically address existing traditions, norms and values in engineering and technology

General Enquiries#


+61 (02) 6125 6841

The Birch Building (Building 35) is located at 35 Science Rd, Canberra, ACT 2601, AUSTRALIA

ANU School of Engineering staff and students also occupy the following buildings on the Acton campus of ANU:

You can get in touch here.

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