Brian Martin

“We don’t own knowledge, we transmit knowledge.”

Dr Martin is the inaugural Associate Dean Indigenous within the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Monash University. A proud descendant of Bundjalung, MuruWarri and Kamilaroi peoples, Dr Martin is an artist, theorist and writer, with a passion for embedding Cultural practices within the academic world of creative practices such as art, design and architecture. He was also the co-author of the Australian and International Indigenous Design Charters, which supports creative practitioners in engaging with Indigenous Communities and knowledges.

Dr Martin was born into art, and coming from a large family, he reflects on this as being his sanctuary.

Early in his career, he was fortunate to teach art in the TAFE sector, which required him to be up-to-date with his practice. “From there, a PhD felt like a natural progression. “The research environment enabled me to build opportunities for our mob”. Throughout his career in education and research, he was able to create opportunities for Indigenous culture to be brought to a broader academic audience.

Dr Martin’s protocol and research work is strongly informed by the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and this has guided him in the reconfiguration of institutions and establishment of protocols pertaining to the usage of Indigenous intellectual property, including stories and images.

Dr Martin highlights that “as blackfella academics, we have a responsibility to assist in decolonising spaces, whilst bringing Indigenous perspectives into the curriculum. We have a responsibility to educate our non-Indigenous peers on respectful and safe practices when working with our community”.

Best practice protocols involve relationality to other people which Dr Martin believes is an intrinsic attribute possessed by Indigenous peoples. “People have an obligation, if you know something, you need to share it with your brothers and sisters – we don’t own knowledge, we transmit knowledge”.

Throughout his time with the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Dr Martin lauded the support he has received and praised the Faculty’s broad and in-depth understanding of research in this field. He also acknowledges his good fortune in being able to work alongside other esteemed artists and creatives.

Dr Martin believes that improved Indigenous employment is key to advancing Monash University’s Indigenous research agenda. He attributes the reconfiguration of the William Cooper Institute, coupled with Monash being a member of the prestigious Group of Eight Universities, as being the key to his confidence in the University’s ability to “keep building and improving the capacity of our mobs”

Dr Brian Martin
Associate Dean Indigenous - Monash Art, Design and Architecture