IMAGINATION: The Big Picture Movement

Design’s role in recalibrating the Australian identity

Project team: Dr Russell Kennedy

This research explores a potential recalibration of the Australian identity. Imagination is based on a premise that if we (Australians) change the way we look at things then the things we look at need to change. It responds to a call from many sectors that Australia needs to reevaluate its national identity within the frame of decolonization and respectful acknowledgement of precolonial history. The research asks, how can Australia represent itself as the home of the world’s oldest continuous living cultures? The project critically explores the potential of an Australian Republic and reviews institutional symbols of nationhood including the national anthem, national flag, state ensigns and Australia Day. Imagination interrogates the appropriateness of certain memorials, statues and geographical place names. It also explores the veneration of war and investigates how Australia might find a way to formally and physically acknowledge the Frontier Wars. This research tests ideas through a process of hypothetical prototyping. This method aims to generate real reactions by enabling people to experience the ‘product’ in the most realistic form possible.

Key words: design, national, identity, decolonise, indigenise, recalibrate, authenticate


Kennedy, R. (2018). Ten classics of Indigenous design. The Conversation.
Kennedy, R. (2014). The Crux of the issue with a new Australian flag. The Conversation.
Kennedy, R. (2014). Where would the Union Jack’s demise leave the Aussie flag? The Conversation.  
Kennedy, R. Seddon, B, (1998). Designing a New Australian Flag: A Theory of Evolution and Reconciliation. XVII International Congress of Vexillology (pp. 132)