Enhancing cultural safety with digital placemaking

Title screen of short film YILABARA by Jazz Money

As part of its strategic focus on cultural competence, the University of Sydney Library has been working to improve the sense of cultural safety experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in its spaces.

One of these initiatives is the digital placemaking artwork that has just been installed on the display on screens in the Library’s foyers, and the video wall in ThinkSpace. It can also be viewed on YouTube.

Commissioned via a competitive Expression of Interest (EOI) process, the work was produced by Jazz Money, a Wiradjuri woman, poet and artist who practises across film, installation, audio and web. Jazz is the 2020 winner of the David Unaipon Award from the State Library of Queensland. Her first collection of poetry will be published by UQP in 2021.

Jazz’s beautiful silent video piece is titled YILABARA (‘now’ in Gadigal language). Conceptually, this short film is a dialogue with Gadigal Country, contrasting the University campus with the landscape of Ku-ring-gai National Park. The film elicits the relationship between the contemporary built environment and the landscape that existed for millennia before colonisation. The footage is overlaid with an Acknowledgment of Country poem written by Jazz, that appears both in Gadigal and English.

The overarching message is that no matter what interventions occupy the surface, the land on which the libraries are situated always was and always will be Gadigal Country.

Please take the time to reflect on and enjoy Jazz’s beautiful work.

Title screen of Digital Placemaking video by Jazz Money