His thesis, The third space, architecture and indigeneitypublished last year, explores a framework for implementing First Nations concepts in the architectural profession, academia and education.
“Third Space is the interaction and translation of information between cultures – it’s how you can take a different angle on what was communicated by our colonial frameworks. I was interested in this idea – so if you think of a Venn diagram that has the colony as the western system in one circle and the native system in another circle, then merge those two circles together, the negative space in between is the Third Space. It is also about appreciating the nuances of these spaces and the tensions and harmonies of how we function as individuals between these two perspectives.
“We can add that nuance to how design professionals understand what it means to connect to a place. Thinking in this way can create change and enable the profession to engage with the cultural differences, ideological positions, cultures, communities, individuals and living and non-living entities that are still part of the country.
Dr. Mossman’s parents instilled in him a strong sense of connection to the place from an early age. He was also intrigued by his father’s work in the construction industry. “I was interested in how you could create places and impact the way people lived. He was involved in the surveying profession, so his work was inherently location-based, and he traveled around North Queensland.
Dr Mossman says the changes that took place around him in Cairns as he grew up were also formative. As the place transformed from a sleepy regional town to a thriving city, indigenous cultural tourism grew with it. He says that despite the continued presence of racism, it has provided opportunities to promote and celebrate the proud and enduring qualities of Far North Queensland cultures and the country’s significance.
“With this transformation, it was interesting to see how the visibility of culture led to more people pursuing higher education. My generation was the first to go to college in my family. Thinking about it now, this transformation has opened up opportunities for First Nations communities to express their culture and access career options that weren’t there before.