Country Sensing Design Methodology
birang ngurra (belonging to Country)
Bernadette (B) Hardy is a proud Gamilaraay & Dharug (Cannemegal/Warmuli) woman.
Dharug lands span from the Blue Mountains in the west to the salt water on the east, from the Hawkesbury in the North to Appin down south. B is a sovereign woman raised by Dharug freshwater, now known as the Cumberland Plain, B provides a voice for Dharug Country through an interior (spatial) design process.
As an Indigenous cultural researcher, spatial designer living with autistic culture B knows, deeply feels, senses, hears and sees this power of the built environment. She is also acutely aware th
at the very threshold between the natural world and spatial interiors can be a powerful barrier to sensory connection, triggering a numbing or disturbing disconnection from a sense of belonging within an interior space. To counter that negativity and through her PhD candidature, B has developed a methodology, she has called ‘Country Sensing Design’, to maximise the positivity and a sense of belonging when entering and move through a building.
B is drawing on Indigenous knowledge shared with her by her father, who is a master craftsman, weaving together ancient knowledge with contemporary and growing understanding of neurodiversity. This collective wisdom is applied to hardyhardy projects creating a new paradigm and gateway within spatial design that encourages a sense of belonging and inclusion greater than has previously been possible.
“The wind, the air, the land, the water, are all part of a living laboratory that is our teacher,” says B. “Through relationality we access the answers that Country is sharing with to solve many of our human centric problems Like a river, it has to flow at its own pace, give it guidance and support, but allow it to meander and find its own way. Country is the author in the design process, Dharug Country is guiding me, I am not guiding it.”
These resources, which can empower us to interact positively and be a conduit to sensing connection, inclusion and belonging, are at the heart of what Hardy explores through her unique methodology that includes human, non-human and more than human voices into the design process, so no one is left behind.
“Country speaks through me through my dreams, through my work. I call it Country Sensing Design. It speaks to me and then I then interpret that into work when the values align, and clients are open to unlearning and relearning. There’s a lot that this place can teach us. This is how Country can have a voice.”
Yanama budyari gymada: walk with good spirit.