2015 Hall of Fame: Alison Page

Alison Page is an award winning creative at the forefront of contemporary Australian Aboriginal design.  

Alison Page

As a descendent of the Walbanga and Wadi Wadi people of the Yuin nation, she champions the creative expression of Aboriginal identity.  After growing up in Coffs Harbour in northern NSW, she went on to study at the University of Technology, Sydney.  Post-graduation, she searched for a way to utilise her skills in the most meaningful way possible; to create interiors that had a real connection to the environment and the people who used them.

She worked as an associate of the Merrima Aboriginal Design Unit from 1995-1999, an architectural practice in the Government’s Architects Office in Sydney.  Merrima is staffed by Indigenous people and is committed to promoting self-determination for Aboriginal people by assisting them to express their culture through the built environments they live in.  For this reason they also believe in maximum community involvement in the design, construction and management of all projects.

One of the most important projects Page has worked on is the Wilcannia Hospital redevelopment northwest of Sydney.  Its colonial structure was problematic for the Aboriginal people because they felt they were turning their backs on the Darling River, a sacred source of life for their people.  Page was able to successfully weigh up the needs of the client and the needs of the government, leading to compromises and resolutions required to complete the project.

From the year 2000 to 2008 Page ran her own design practice.  She worked as a consultant on an impressive range of projects including designing interiors for public buildings, exhibition spaces for museums, the Opening Ceremony for the Adelaide Festival of the Arts and the Bayagul Indigenous gallery at the Powerhouse Museum.  Page was also a design judge on the ABC program The New Inventors for eight years.

She feels most rewarded by being involved in projects that showcase the underlying psychology of the buildings, and that hold a lot of meaning and importance for the community who are going to use them.  Her ultimate goal is to design meaningful spaces that reflect the cultural identity of the people for whom they are designed.

Page has received a number of awards during the course of her career including the Australian Jewellery Design Award for an Indigenous range of bespoke high end jewellery called Diamond Dreaming, and the International Federation of Interior Architects Contribution to the Design environment with an emphasis on social awareness and responsibility.

In recent years, Page has entered into a collaboration with Cinematographer Nik Lachajczak called zakpage, a project aiming to converge film with the built environment to create place-based cultural narratives for installation.

She was the founder and Creative Director for the National Aboriginal Design Agency from 2012-2014, and is currently on the board of directors for the Indigenous Land Corporation, an independent authority of the Australian government assisting Indigenous people to acquire and manage land to achieve economic, social and cultural benefits.  Page is also currently the Chairperson of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern.

The Design Institute of Australia Hall of Fame recognises the achievements of Alison Page.