Buchan UQ Scholarship supports Indigenous student to study architecture

Indigenous University of Queensland (UQ) student Stacey Edwards is on her way to a career as an architect with the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Architecture Industry Scholarship, established by Buchan.

Stacey, a proud Yidingi and Ngadjon woman, is a second-year Bachelor of Architectural Design student and grew up in Kaban, a small community in the Atherton Tablelands about two hours from Cairns.

She knew little about architecture until she came to Brisbane for a STEM camp as part of UQ’s InspireU Program, which brings Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students from across the state for a week-long stay on the St Lucia campus.

“I was just generally good at a range of subjects in school and didn’t really know what I want to do,” says Stacey. “And then I stumbled upon architecture and had a look at all the courses around it and just went with that, and it’s been amazing.”

Not knowing any architects growing up, Stacey didn’t know what to expect when she commenced her studies. “I didn’t really think about urban planning or about the orientation of buildings and how sun can affect things and all of that. It’s a lot more complex than just making things pretty.”

Whilst not sure what the future holds, Stacey says she would love to go back to her home town and make a design contribution, noting that architecture is seen as an unusual career choice. “It’s actually considered quite out there and a bit different. So I think that’s definitely a nice thing to bring to the community.”

“Kaban a very old town, and there isn’t much range in housing topologies – just very similar looking houses but not very modern. They could use a bit more design input.”

Stacey says the scholarship has helped her live independently in Brisbane and stay motivated. “Knowing that there’s a group of people that are interested in my success and rooting for me to keep going has really inspired me to keep working hard.”

UQ’s Professor Bronwyn Fredericks, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) says, “By enabling this inaugural initiative through UQ, Buchan has made a commitment to the future Indigenous Architecture students, their communities, and built environments for years to come.”

“Education is a powerful tool and has a positive ripple effect – for the student, for the community and our society more broadly…until we close the gap in higher education participation and outcomes, the goals of reconciliation will remain elusive,” said Professor Fredericks.

The University of Queensland scholarship is a key part of Buchan’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

“We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are severely underrepresented in the built environment, and the active role we can play in breaking down barriers to entry through financial and social support for students of design,” says Buchan CEO Stephen Auld. “We are delighted to be able to support Stacey on her journey, and to support positive and meaningful change in our industry.”

Image 1 – Stacey Edwards, University of Queensland (UQ) second-year Bachelor of Architectural Design student
Image 2 – Stacey Edwards (second from left) attends industry event hosted by Buchan in Brisbane pictured with (L to R)– Indigenous artist, Theresa Bower; The University of Queensland’s Weston Fernández Bruner; Nikken Sekkei’s Ikumi Inoue Ikumi Inoue; and Buchan’s Stephen Auld.
Image 3 – (L to R) Indigenous artist, Theresa Bower with student, Stacey Edwards