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Testing Grounds

Care and Repair: In Existing Infrastructures, Communities, and Country

Presented by Nic Brunsdon as part of Melbourne Design Week

Following the Victorian government’s announcement regarding the demolition of Melbourne’s 44 public towers, protests and initiatives led by locals, residents, and various industries have arisen questioning the scheme. Concerns such as the potential for retrofitting, the displacement of communities, and the lack of affordable and social housing in the city are among the factors opposing the plan.

Rethinking architecture through a reparative lens, the event is a panel discussion centered around the concept of care and repair in design and architecture. A conversation inviting participants to envision alternative futures for the public towers, the residents, and the possibilities of reconciliation with Country.

Join the conversation at Testing Grounds on May 27th at 6 PM, for an event hosted by Nic Brunsdon as part of Melbourne Design Week, featuring guest speakers Bradley Kerr—architect and First Nations advisor–, architect James Henry from Housing Choices Australia, and urban geographer Dr Kate Shaw.


Nic Brunsdon
Nic Brunsdon is recognised as one of Australia’s leading architects. In 2015 Nic was the winner of the Australian Institute of Architects Emerging Architect Award, firstly for Western Australia and then nationally. The studio’s work has received recognition at the World Architecture Festival, Dezeen Awards, Houses Awards, INDE awards, and Australian Institute of Architects Awards programs, most notably winning both the public vote and master jury awards at the prestigious Dezeen Awards for the world’s best hospitality project.

Bradley Kerr
A Quandamooka man and architect living, working and learning on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung Country, Bradley is Director of architecture and design studio Winsor Kerr, and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects’ First Nations Advisory Committee and Victoria Chapter Council. He has contributed to the industry as a juror for the Institute’s awards program, guest university critic and studio leader, speaker and moderator on numerous panels, advisory and working groups and committees.

James Henry
James Henry is a registered architect and the general manager of assets and development at Housing Choices Australia (HCA). He is responsible for ensuring the strategic development and management of HCA’s national portfolio results in high quality, sustainable and innovative outcomes that will serve the needs of HCA tenants into the future.

Dr Kate Shaw
Kate Shaw is an Honorary Research Fellow in Urban Geography and Planning. She is currently writing a book from her latest research, titled ‘The Squander and Salvage of Urban Waterfronts’, focusing on urban renewal in the 21st century. It starts from the premise that the economic case for growth has combined with the environmental case for limiting urban sprawl to produce an irresistible logic for increasing the densities of Australian cities. The research then explores ways of improving on the renewal projects of the last 50 years by examining the legislative, regulatory, financial, political, and cultural barriers to socially equitable development.

Kate’s background is in alternative cultures, with a particular interest in Melbourne’s live music and indie arts scenes. She has also taught planning law, statutory planning, urban design, and classes on political economy, gentrification, and the cultures of cities.

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