Chris Johnston
Presents at
Trust Talks

The City: More than just an architectural backdrop was the focus of last night’s ‘Trust Talks’ in Brisbane’s West End.

Hosted by the Queensland National Trust and West Village, who were awarded a 2018 National Trust commendation for the activation of Peter’s Ice Cream Factory as a public venue.

Context’s founder Chris Johnston dedicated her talk to Professor David Yencken, AO, noting his outstanding contribution to the recognition and protection of Australia’s cultural and natural heritage. Chris said that there continues to be a need for people who are passionate, strategic and innovative like David. Chris expressed her sadness at his death just over a week ago.

Chris issued a challenge to the heritage system: ‘Heritage is what we value, not what fits the heritage criteria’ she said, proposing that a refresh of our understanding of heritage values was needed. She spoke strongly about the need for communities to articulate the qualities that they value across all types of places and environments, highlighting Musgrave Park (Brisbane) and Federation Square (Melbourne) as two places where community assertion of their strong and special associations has resulted in positive heritage outcomes.

Jane Alexander, Advocacy Manager at the Queensland National Trust, spoke about the importance of people as part of the city, quoting Jane Jacobs who famously said: ‘it is to them [people], not buildings, that we must fit our plans’. Jane pointed to the spirit of place as key to understanding what people value.

The session was chaired by Megan Jones, Principal and Practice Director, Tanner Kibble Denton Architects.