Workshop | Finding Country | Sydney College of the Arts

unnamed (12)Finding Country is an ongoing project initiated by Kevin O’Brien in 2006 and continuing as a pluralist contest between the idea of Aboriginal space (Country), and European space (property) in Australia. Aboriginal Country is excluded from the Australian city and even more so in the derivative architecture. Despite the 1992 landmark Mabo case High Court decision, a decision that struck down the doctrine of Terra Nullius (an empty land belonging to no-one), architecture in Australia continues its eighteenth-century European tradition of drawing on empty paper. The Finding Country position is that this paper is not empty, but is full of what can’t be seen.

THE WORKSHOP – The workshop is focused on ways to empty the City in order to reveal a practical idea about Country. Drawing and sculpture will be the modes of inquiry.  Individual submissions will be assembled into one collective conceptual sculptural mapping of ideas about the ongoing tension between City and Country. Since its beginnings the Finding Country project has endeavoured to find an Aboriginal origin for architecture in Australia through exhibitions, built projects, writings and studios. This workshop is part of that ongoing process.

BIOGRAPHY – Kevin O’Brien is Professor of Design at Queensland University of Technology and a practicing architect. In 2006 he established Kevin O’Brien Architects (KOA) in Brisbane and has completed architectural projects throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory. In 2012 he directed the Finding Country Exhibition as an official Collateral Event of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice.

Date: 9.30 am – 5 pm, Monday 18 May 2015

Venue: Sydney College of the Arts, SCA Elective Room 1, 02G27

RSVP to Saskia Beudel: by 10 May, 2015


The finding Country Workshop is hosted by the Space, Place and Country research cluster at the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. We are developing workshops, projects, symposiums and exhibitions which aim to acknowledge the enduring presence of Country by exploring ways to bring this into the public domain more broadly.