Michael has a range of specialisations in the broad area of design, theory and architecture. These include the nature of design and its role towards society, and the relationships between theory and practice in planning, society and the city. Michael is currently doing a PhD at the University of Technology Sydney and teaches in the Bachelor of Design in Architecture covering architectural design and history and theory subjects. His thesis focuses on the idea the urban indigenous community in Redfern and questions, what are the values that constitute this community? How do they differ from what might be considered 'traditional' indigenous values? How have they been altered by inner city processes? How might the proposed future development of The Block contain these values? Descended from the Budawang tribe of the Yuin nation, his other research interests surround the idea of contemporary indigenous identity and how it might be formalised through built form
Hromek, MJ 2016, 'Teaching and Learning Australian Indigenous Knowledge', Creating contexts for learning in technology education, Teaching Education Research Conference, University of South Australia, Adelaide, pp. 112-119.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
While the notion of education is quite broad, a teacher must consider the idea of Indigenous education. From this paper's perspective, then, two aspects are in need of further consideration. First is the idea of non-Indigenous people teaching Indigenous people; and second is the idea that Indigenous people know completely different things from a non-indigenous perspective, and hence can 'teach' the non-indigenous quite different ideas and knowledge that may not have been thought about or even valued in our mainstream classrooms.
So while some may consider Indigenous people in the classroom as simply just students, at the same time is the significant idea that Indigenous people have completely different kinds of notions in terms of what they are thinking. Hence this paper is not only about teaching Indigenous people, but also the notion of learning from Indigenous people. As such this paper questions how might the non-Indigenous best learn from the Indigenous? How can we promote a better understanding of Indigenous ideas, values and culture in the classroom in a culturally appropriate manner? This paper suggests that working closer with Indigenous teachers and knowledge-keepers at all levels of education may offer a significant enhancement in terms of our student understanding of Australian Indigenous culture.
Kinniburgh, JR, Crosby, A & Hromek, M 2016, 'No Design Without Indigenous Design: Extending First Year Design and Architecture Students' Understanding of Indigenous Australia', STARS (Students Transition Achievement Retention and Success), STARS (Students Transition Achievement Retention and Success), STARS, Perth, Western Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The design professions have undergone immense shifts over recent decades including an overdue, new receptivity to Indigenous skills and knowledge. Universities in Australia are currently examining approaches to engaging Indigenous knowledge in their degrees. This paper examines a project at at the University of Technology (UTS), supported by the institution-wide Centre for Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges and implemented across the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building. Specifically, the research asks how first year design and architecture students can learn about Indigenous perspectives on design, space, place and Country. We draw from literature on transition pedagogy as well as Indigenous education and analyse the student response to this project as it was implemented in 2015.
Hromek, MJ 2016, 'Iconic Redfern: the creation and disintegration of an urban Aboriginal icon', Proceedings of the 13th Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference, Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference, Australasian Urban History/Planning History Group and Griffith University, Gold Coast, Gold Coast, Queensland, pp. 530-540.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
While the idea of urban icons might be about producing iconic buildings in terms of form and shape, the specific use of high-end materials, or a particular strategy for the organisation of urban spaces, places often have significant meanings through very different – and often underappreciated – means. Significantly, the people who inhabit them and live in them thus give the place a distinctiveness that contributes to its iconic status.
Considering the above, this paper will look at a particular example of this – The Block in Redfern, Sydney – which is considered to be significant for Indigenous people. Yet while many recognise the contribution of Australia's Indigenous population toward the making of this iconic place, at the same time other forces – such as gentrification, rental prices, political power struggles, etc. – are actively working against the long-term formalisation of this place. This paper will thus analyse the past, present and prospective future of The Block, and consider how is Redfern and The Block considered to be an iconic place for Indigenous and non-indigenous people? Also significant is the notion that The Block has been demolished, and the majority of its Indigenous population have been forced out or relocated, and that there is a current approved proposal to rebuild The Block with undefined plans to re-house a portion of its previous Indigenous community. Given this, what is the potential future for The Block in terms of retaining its meaning as an Indigenous icon and establishing appropriate community values?
Crosby, A, Hromek, M & Kinniburgh, J 2015, 'Making space: working together for Indigenous design and architecture curricula', Indigenous Content in Education, University of South Australia, University of South Australia, Adelaide.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The professions of design and architecture have undergone immense shifts over recent decades with a new receptivity to Indigenous skills and knowledge. As such universities are examining approaches to engaging Indigenous knowledges in these degrees. This paper explores how tertiary students of design and architecture can learn about Indigenous Australians, with a focus on spatial literacy. Firstly, we explore best practices in higher education curriculums, drawing from the work of scholars such as Watson (2013). Secondly, we discuss these practices in relation to the professions, referring to examples such as architect Kevin O'Brien (http://koarchitects.com.au/) who draws on Indigenous concepts of space, and the service innovation approach to land rights by design firm 2nd Road (http://www.secondroad.com.au/). Lastly, we reflect on our own efforts to embed Indigenous ways of knowing within our teaching. We draw from experience collaborating over a twelve month period to change curriculum within undergraduate programs to better prepare students to be inter-culturally competent in their professional and community lives. Initiatives include bringing an Indigenous perspective to the mapping component of the interdisciplinary design program. In explaining this work, we argue that design and architecture are important disciplines for working with and improving the lives of Indigenous Australians.
Hromek, MJ & Harfield, S 2014, 'Looking From Within, What Comes Out: An indigenous perspective on community and urbanism', Proceedings of the 12th Australasian Urban History Planning Conference, Urban History Planning History (Australasia), Australasian Urban History / Planning History Group & Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, pp. 291-305.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
While many Australian indigenous communities may be associated with western desert regions or remote country towns, this paper explores the notion(s) of indigenous communities in relation to the inner city. Given the potential nature and range of assumptions about communities in general, the paper will focus on three specific aspects of indigenous 'involvement', the first of which addresses the overall notion of what constitutes community and thus what constitutes community in relation to indigenous populations? On the basis of this, and given that communities in general may be understood and/or perceived in a range of different ways, the second investigates how indigenous communities are often regarded as being enclosed or self-aggregated - almost as if there is a negative perspective from the outside looking in - and thus addresses the question why might it be assumed that these people have nothing to offer? In opposition to this, then, and given the potentially positive nature of indigenous communities, the third, and perhaps most important section of the paper, involves a close examination of a particular urban indigenous population, that of Redfern in NSW, in order to advance the view that such a community might engender issues, qualities and/or values that can be utilised to enhance other and different communities. This paper therefore addresses the idea of indigenous communities from two quite different perspectives. The first interrogates the negative approach of the outsiders looking at indigenous communities and, in a sense, mentally pushing them away, as if to say `they don't have anything to do with me', while the second, and more positive approach, advances the proposition that there are indeed different and additional community elements within indigenous populations that might seriously enhance the nature of 'ordinary' communities.
Concealed in the strata of Australia are Indigenous stories and culture. Hromek, Hromek & Hromek are interested in the hidden histories of places. In Covered By Concrete, the artists attempt to engage with these obscured stories on Cockatoo Island at Underbelly Arts Festival. Can you sense this place's spirit? This installation aims to investigate how a space can be reclaimed and Aboriginal culture be reflected on contemporary identities.