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Indigenous architecture scholarship by Buchan supports reconciliation

Indigenous architecture scholarship by Buchan supports reconciliation


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 global architecture practice Buchan and the University of Queensland.

Artwork in two parts using ochre by Theresa Bower. Photography: Richard O’Leary.

Buchan joins an Australia-wide network of more than 2200 corporate, government, and not-for-profit organisations that 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.

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.

Buchan CEO Stephen Auld says the scholarship is part of the practice’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan. 

“Education is a key focus of our RAP,” says Auld.

“We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are severely underrepresented 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.”

Hayden Djakic, Theresa Bower, Professor Bronwyn and Stephen Auld at the launch of Buchan’s RAP and the Buchan Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Architecture Industry Scholarship. Photography: Richard O’Leary.

The Buchan Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Architecture Industry Scholarship is the first of its kind for the University with the inaugural placement to commence in 2023.

“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,” says the University of Queensland’s pro-vice-chancellor Indigenous engagement Professor Bronwyn Fredericks.

The practice engaged Wiradjuri woman Theresa Bower of Burrundi Design Studio to tell its RAP story through collaborative artwork. 

Bower has a degree in architecture and is currently doing a Master of Philosophy at UQ on embedding culture into the built environment. The artwork depicts the RAP’s aspiration to connect people, place, Country and culture in the future. 

“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 interested Indigenous students can apply via the scholarships section of the University of Queensland website here.

Recently, Buchan was also named lead designer for Australian Pavilion at Expo 2025 Osaka.


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