Victoria’s Koorie Heritage Trust has launched a four-year program aimed at fostering First Nations design talent and establishing Indigenous-led-and-operated design businesses.

Participants will be mentored in design, production, and small business skills to lay the groundwork for long-term, sustainable design practices.

“We want to work with artists, craftspeople and designers living in Victoria to support their long-term sustainable design practice,” said Tom Mosby, CEO of Koorie Heritage Trust. “This program is an important step in this process by bringing together mentors and industry leaders to work with and nurture talented Indigenous makers.”

The Blak Design program is underpinned by the Indigenous Design Charter and has been developed in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria and RMIT University and is supported by the Ian Potter Foundation.

Each year the program will focus on a different discipline, kicking off in 2020 with jewellery. A spokesperson for Koorie Heritage Trust told ArchitectureAU that the design disciplines to be focused on in the following years will be decided shortly.

The jewellery program will take place over four months, with participants taking part in a series of free hands-on jewellery design and making workshops, as well as small business skills tutorials and visits to jewellery design studios, galleries and stores across Melbourne. Guidance will be provided by cultural mentors, design professionals, jewellers and industry practitioners and experts throughout, and at the end of the program, an additional opportunity will be awarded to up to three participants to be mentored and work towards realizing a jewellery collection for production, launch and sale in 2021.

Applications open on 1 September close on 13 October, 5pm.

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