Structures 3.2 – Keeping Places for Artifacts on Country

Centre for Appropriate Technology Discussion Structures Structures 3.2 – Keeping Places for Artifacts on Country

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    Grace Roberts
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    Hi everyone,

    See below for questions and responses we had from a student team that I am posting here to share.

    Structural Questions 

    1. What building materials can be used to achieve the project? Steel & Concrete? 
    2. You will need to decide what materials are feasible on Cape York, and based on your research about what local materials are available. Steel and concrete can definitely be used and would be relatively common to supply from major centres like Cairns, but we also suggest you consider local materials like bush timber to improve the long-term sustainability of your solution, reduce costs and the double-benefit of employing local labour if appropriate.

    3. Does the structure have to be built for display or for security? Public viewing vs safekeeping?
    4. The purpose would be for both – display for viewing and safe-keeping/security. It would vary depending on the artifact but at least being able to view the artifacts by the local Indigenous people who manage the safe-keeping place will be essential for maintaining connection to culture. The amount of public display will vary from community to community but being able to preserve artifacts in the space to which they have a specific relationship would beneficial if possible but we know this might be challenging due to the level of exposure and in many cases the preference would be to preserve the artifact so that future generations can enjoy them. Being able to control who can see the artifacts is important and the positioning in the keeping place is also important to consider – e.g. whether a central place that makes it easy for all members to see them, or something more isolated or private. Building something that would allow community members to open it up to the broader public if and when they decided to, would be good.

    5. Does it have to be anti-bushfire, flood and cyclone? 
    6. This depends on what and where you are building. If it is a stand-alone structure – then yes, this would be important to protect the artefacts from these events. If it is a part of an existing building, like a cabinet, then you might assume the building already factors these protections in.

    7. How big does the space have to be? 
    8. This is up to you to decide based on the types of artefacts listed in the brief and the type of solution you propose that you think is best. The example we saw was a single room in the community building detailed in our CfAT project examples interactive (see Resources page). We can’t show the room as we were invited in on the understanding that we would not take any images.

    9. How many artifacts are being stored and will it need to be bigger for new editions? 
    10. This will vary between communities – so making your solution modular like you’ve suggested, so it can be expanded for more artefacts, would be ideal.

    11. What kind of security will the structure need? 
    12. Something lockable that allows community member owners to control who views them would be ideal – this is the case in the community building interactive mentioned, where a room is lockable.

    13. Will it need an emergency exit? 
    14. If you are planning a stand-alone room, perhaps – you will need to research building codes and standards to answer this and based on the size of the structure I imagine. If it’s part of an existing building, assume you won’t have to think about this as that would have been factored into the building already.

    15. Will permits be required by the council and are there any restrictions we should be aware of? 
    16. Assume no permits are required to build the structure if that’s what you mean by this question, as assume the artefacts are owned wholly by the local community. I can’t foresee any restrictions you would come across – unless there were restrictions on the location of the structure e.g. if it was positioned in national park area.

    Other Questions 

    1. What is the budget for the project? 
    2. See our FAQ’s document ‘Big Tricky Q’s’ which answers this.

    3. Will the structure need insurance?
    4. It is commendable that you are thinking thoroughly about all aspects of the structure such as insurance. This is up to you to decide – because the artefacts of great value, this might be worth researching if there ar existing insurance providers that would offer this and you could suggest this in your final report.

    5. Is the community in the region building it themselves or will they have qualified and experienced trades people to build it? 
    6. This is up to you to decide – it will depend on what materials you are using mostly, and whether experienced trades people are required. Often there are local community members who have trades skills, especially when working with bush timber, and this would also reduce the cost of external labour for the project. However, you might still want to factor in a project coordinator/manager to train and support any local labour undertaking this process to ensure they have the skills and it is done safely.

    Finally, see our FAQ’s document ‘Big Tricky Questions’ for support when managing unknowns and making assumptions in your report. It’s great that you are putting a lot of effort into making sure that your design is appropriate by gathering information about the requirements and purpose of the solution, but a final design would always go through a further refinement process with the community anyway ideally to ensure it is appropriate. So, the process you go through in decision making about your solution given the information you have is what is of interest to EWB, CfAT and your university, given the limitations EWB has of providing detailed technical information for around 30 different projects, and we want to know from you what technical specifications would improve the solution rather than giving you set constraints like you might be used to with other assignments that involve theoretical contexts.

    Thanks,
    Grace

    • This topic was modified 6 months ago by Grace Roberts.
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