Last year, ARTD updated its branding to better reflect our business vision and values. The final piece of our rebrand, was to engage Emma Walke, an Aboriginal artist and researcher, to design a new report cover.
Emma is a Bundjalung woman who lives in Bagotville, Northern NSW. Her mother’s people are from Ballina/ Cabbage Tree Island and her family is spread around the Northern Rivers area and into South East Queensland. Emma is the Academic lead for Aboriginal Health at the University Centre of Rural Health in Lismore. Her role here is focused on teaching with medical and allied health students. Over the years, she has also been involved with a few evaluations and research projects.
As well as research, Emma is an established artist, potter and graphic designer.
For me art and clay is a joy. I have been a potter for 20 years and have been drawing and designing small things for the last ten. I love to try and incorporate country in most of my designs, sometimes the concept, but also sometimes part of country like rivers, the earth, the plants. I generally like to work on paper first and then get things digitized, although last year I bought an Apple pencil and have had a lot of fun with that and Adobe.
We met Emma when she was invited to be part of a discussion panel at the 2019 AES conference. (She did an amazing job besides it being nerve-wracking!). Our Director of Aboriginal Partnerships and Projects, Simon Jordan, was hosting this panel and the two got to know each other over the next few days of the AES conference and email exchanges afterwards. After a selection process Simon invited Emma to our new design.
We were keen for a design that would represent the breadth of work we do with Aboriginal communities across Australia. Emma describes the story of the design:
The design shows a story of connection to country and people. The colours are representative of the land, and the lines in between representative of the water that connects us all.
Emma’s art is part of the broader work we are doing at ARTD to create a culturally safe and inclusive workplace for our Aboriginal staff and clients. Late last year, all our staff took part in a Cultural Engagement training day run by Justin Noel from Origin Communications Australia. We’re also working on a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which we hope will clearly define how we can take action to assist reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia.
We are extremely excited about using our new design in our reports related to the Aboriginal sector and are looking forward to working with Emma in the future.