Parlour is delighted to be part of Melbourne Design Week. This year we are presenting a discussion about designing among and between cultures, with three extraordinary speakers – Elisapeta Heta, Sarah Lynn Rees and Shaneen Fantin. Join us for a compelling conversation!

Designing Australasian futures means designing between cultures, and with Indigenous communities in particular. There is much potential for inventive, thoughtful and challenging work, but we must proceed with knowledge, sensitivity and care. Join Elisapeta Heta, Sarah Lynn Rees and Shaneen Fantin for a conversation about the opportunities, complexities and necessity of working across and among cultures. Drawing on work underway in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, they will consider what we can learn from each other, and speculate on designing shared futures. Thanks to Hassell for supporting this event. Book now!


Elisapeta Heta is an engaged and politically active artist and graduate of architecture. Brought up in West Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau, she was entrenched in the realities of urban Māori and second generation diaspora Pacific Island families. She is now a senior associate at Jasmax, where she co-founded the Waka Maia collective, which works within design teams to embed a Māori world view into design outcomes, to facilitate political and cultural conversations, and to support in the upskilling of the office and its’ understanding of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world). Elisapeta is interested in how space and place can have a positive impact on the lives of the communities in which they function, and takes every opportunity  to mentor, support and run outreach programmes for Māori and Pacific Island youth. She has had significant involvement with many collectives, including Architecture+Women NZ and Ngā Aho – the national network of Māori design professionals. In 2016 she was co-opted to the Board of the New Zealand Institute of Architects to help implement Te Kawenata o Rata (a covenant) between Ngā Aho and the NZIA, recognising Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Sarah Lynn Rees is a Palawa woman descending from the Plangermaireener and Trawlwoolway people of north-east Tasmania. Awarded the Charlie Perkins scholarship, Sarah attended the University of Cambridge where she produced a thesis on Indigenous housing in remote Australian communities and graduated with an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design. Having worked in London and now back in Birrarung Ga (Melbourne), Sarah practices at Jackson Clements Burrows Architects; delivers program consultation and curation for the BLAKitecture series at MPavilion; along with various teaching roles across the Melbourne metropolitan universities. Sarah is passionate about Indigenising the built environment and advocating for protocols and processes which respect and celebrate our Indigenous Cultural Authority. Sarah also sits on EmAGN; the AIA Editorial Committee; the National Trust Landscape Reference Group; the National Trust Aboriginal Advisory Group and various other committees.

Shaneen Fantin is an architect and co-director of POD (People Oriented Design) based in Cairns. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and James Cook University. Shaneen undertook her PhD on the relationship between design and culture with Yolngu in Arnhem Land in the late 1990s and has been working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for many years. Shaneen balances practice, research, teaching and family, has authored many articles and book chapters, and is a champion for intercultural design practice.


20 March 2019, 6–8.30 pm


Melbourne City Bowls Club,
Flagstaff Gardens
West Melbourne


Please book here: $10 Tickets / $5 Concession


Marylin Wallace and Shaneen Fantin with the 2018 Social Outreach Studio south of Shipton’s Flat, 2018. Marylin, right, is speaking about the importance of the location/place.