Chapter President's Message

Stories are the lens through which we perceive the world, our connection to each other and to our place. From the bedtime tales, to our cultural narratives, and the stories we embed in our projects that shape who we are. Through storytelling, we not only preserve our history and traditions but also consider new possibilities. It is the mirror that reflects our collective wisdom, values, and passion. They are the threads that weave us together as a community across time and space.

It was therefore a privilege to host the inaugural Victorian Fellows and Past Presidents evening in late February. As this community trickled through the door at Robin Boyd's Walsh Street house we gathered in the courtyard like family coming together. The acknowledgement of the deep institutional and industry knowledge of these individuals was long overdue. A knowledge shared through stories, told among friends of significant moments in Victoria's landscape history. Those moments that shifted and pushed the discipline of landscape architecture reinforcing our legacy of a deeply passionate and committed community of change makers.

From Fellows and Past Presidents to our long awaited engagement with our public practitioners. The first practice forum for the year  brought together practitioners from local and state government and other agencies. Fran Horsley and Kirsten Jackson held court. Starting with an overview of Open Space for Everyone 2021 followed by a discussion of the new Guide for Open Space Strategies (GOSS) project. This was the beginning of broader story that we want to share about the value of public practitioners, their relationships with their communities and the amazing  knowledge  of local places. It is a practice of identifying opportunities, initiating change and making space for collaboration and engagement with the broader design community. 

Following these two events came the stories of the next generation. AILA VIC Fresh led a collaboration with the Victorian Chapters of AIA (EmAGN) and PIA (Young Planners) on their first collaborative event. Common Ground was positioned as an International Women's Day event and brought together young built environment professionals to talk diversity, leadership, and what sets cities apart.

Between these massive conversations have been numerous micro conversations covering the full spectrum of what's happening in Victoria and importantly what's needed or coming next. We continue to gather these stories, to form the foundation, the evidence that supports our conversation beyond our community. We recently meet with Jill Garner at the OVGA discussing design integrity, consistency of practice across city shaping projects and the amplification of the voice of landscape architects. Following on from our attendance at the Ministerial Roundtable for the new plan for Victoria, we had a one-on-one with Minister Sonya Kilkenny. Another conversation talking about shifting the lives experiences of local community's and how our collective knowledge and expertise will help frame up this new State-wide strategic piece. We have round tables planned over the next couple of months as we work towards our position and detailed advice back to the Minister and DEECA. This will include a joint Roundtable with our counterparts at PIA, AIA, and UDF.

As we re-energise our advocacy program and highlight the role of landscape architecture in shaping our future it will be through our stories and the members that we will develop the ground swell.

The balance between pushing the boundaries of our discipline and the sharing of our stories beyond our community to amplify our voices is where the VIC Executive are currently holding space. It is a space we love, one of collaboration and curiosity, a space for innovators, change makers and dare I say it troublemakers. It is our legacy, and we must keep sharing those stories.

 Naomi Barun, Vic Chapter President


News from AILA Victoria - March 2024


Naomi Barun