Djinjama means to make, complete, produce or build something in Dhurga language, one of the languages from the South Coast of New South Wales.
Djinjama Indigenous Corporation was established by Dr Danièle Hromek (Budawang/Yuin) in 2020 after many years of consulting, practice and research. Offering cultural design and research for projects in the built environment, Djinjama brings Country into the centre of the design process in order to substantially affect Indigenous rights and elevate culture in the built environment and bring health to Country.
Based on methods Danièle’s grandmother Gloria uses for connecting with Country, alongside methodologies further developed in her research and previous work experience, Djinjama uses an approach that is led by and centred on Country. This approach recognises the multiple perspectives of Knowledge Holders to design in collaboration with Country.
In this design process Country is centred as Country both holds and envelopes all entities including humans. In fact, humans are understood as just one of the myriads of entities that collaborate together, including flora and fauna, ecology and the celestial. We understand that our Ancestors developed cultural relational generative iterative collaborative communal processes of design through their care and management of Country, and as their descendants we have the opportunity to approach design using this ancient methodology in which Country is at the centre.
Djinjama is guided by some simple values based on the guidance of Elder Uncle Greg Simms. These values are:
- Always show respect
- Never be greedy and always share
- Don’t take too much from the water or the bush
- Always listen
Country provides opportunities to reimagine and mutually create how Knowledges are considered and practiced, because Country holds Knowledges in place, as a source to connect and reconnect to the land and to oneself.
The process of Reading Country gives authority to Indigenous peoples as the knowers of the places they are related to. This Country-led approach asks for their observations and inspirations from Country and expressions of culture to be foregrounded. It asks for a deeper history and multi-layered interpretation of places to be included beyond colonial records to provide a more comprehensive cultural filter to a place.
It gives agency to First Peoples to be the cultural guides of Country, in doing so ensuring the building, construction, development and protection of the environment continues with Country at its centre.