To mark NAIDOC Week, UNSW spoke with some of our Indigenous alumni on what this year’s theme Always Was, Always Will Be means to them.
UNSW Arts, Architecture & Design (working title) alumni Architectural Designer, Samantha Rich (BArch and MArch 2022), Jessica Bulger (BArtEd 2009) and Jonathon Captain-Webb (Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Bachelor of Arts, Politics/Indigenous Studies 2016) discuss recent social movements changing the dial on equality.
The alumni spoke about what NAIDOC Week means to them and about the significance of this year’s theme Always Was, Always Will Be.
“NAIDOC Week now, more than ever, is an opportunity for Aboriginal communities to share with the broader community,” said Mr Captain-Webb.
“Bringing in different cultures, different backgrounds to really engage with what Aboriginal communities really are and what Aboriginal culture really is.”
Ms Rich agreed, “I am so lucky to be a part of a culture that is the longest living culture of over 65,000 years of unseeded connection to this land that we know of, and there could be more.”
They also had the opportunity to reflect on how recent social movements like “Black Lives Matter” have changed the dial on equality.
“Recent social movements like Black Lives Matter have been really interesting in Australia. We, as Indigenous people, got to witness Australia learn about the structural challenges that are in our society through the US,” said Ms Bulger.
“We have had those challenges here all the time.”
UNSW celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements during NAIDOC Week from 8 to 15 November with a broad program of events hosted by Arc, the Indigenous Students’ Association, the Library, UNSW Arts, Architecture & Design (working title) and UNSW Medicine. Read more about NAIDOC Week at UNSW.
About our alumni
Jessica Bulger (BArtEd 2009) is Wiradjuri from Tumut and Brungle in country NSW. She began her career as a teacher and has worked in the higher education and non-profit sectors for the past 12 years.
Through her work Director, Engagement at CareerTrackers and board member at Outward Bound Australia, Ms Bulger focuses on her passion to empower young people to build rewarding careers, lead fulfilling lives, and enable change for their families and communities.
Architectural Designer Samantha Rich (BArch and MArch 2022) is from Wiradjuri country, around the Dubbo and Cowra region. She is interested in changing the design and construction industry to involve a closer collaboration with the traditional custodians of the land.
Her architectural work includes educating current and future practitioners to understand the value and necessity of consulting with the Indigenous communities to understand their knowledge and perspectives on the land on which we build.
Jonathon Captain-Webb (BArts/BLaw 2016) is a Gomeroi and Dunghutti man, with a passion for Indigenous affairs, justice reinvestment and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Mr Captain-Webb is a Non-Executive Director at Weave Youth & Community Services and committee member at International House UNSW. He’s currently completing a Certificate of Executive Management and Development, The Emerging Indigenous Executive Leaders Program (EIELP) at AGSM @ UNSW Business School.