The Capitol acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. We respectfully acknowledge their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. We also acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.
Co-presented with Centre for Architecture Victoria, Open House Melbourne and
RMIT Architecture & Urban Design.

This Is Public

Open House Melbourne Opening Night

This special speaker series kicks off the Open House Melbourne July Weekend program.

In response to the recent announcements from the Victorian Government regarding continued restrictions, we’re pleased to confirm that This Is Public will go ahead but now in live streamed format – free and available to everyone.  

Return to this page online Friday 23 July from 5.30pm to watch the inspiring line-up of speakers presenting live from The Capitol.  

If you have purchased a ticket to attend the event in person, we have issued a refund to you via your original payment method. Any questions, please contact us at 

This Is Public focuses on the need to find new ways to reconnect and transform the ways in which we live and work together. Hosting speakers with different backgrounds and perspectives, this special event seeks to answer big questions about the role of policy, climate change and architecture in the future of cities, amongst other thought-provoking topics.

Originally planned to take place in person, in true Covid fashion this live opening event will now be broadcast from RMIT University’s state-of-the-art Media Precinct, from where we’ll be beaming our speakers and their presentations to you. The team has worked hard behind-the-scenes to bring this live event straight to your living room, recorded and live streamed on the Open House Melbourne (OHM) and The Capitol websites, and later produced as a podcast. Focusing on the central theme, Reconnect, this year OHM asks us to reconsider the way we will occupy our city and to envisage new ways of designing and adapting our buildings and infrastructure as we emerge from the impact of the COVID era.

Guests can expect a series of thought provoking and insightful presentations beginning with an address from Lord Mayor Sally Capp, and an introduction to the OHM 2021 theme, Reconnect.

Speakers include:

Jefa Greenaway and Tristan Wong – INBETWEEN 
INBETWEEN presents a series of architectural projects, through a film compilation to show how architects, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous are working with First-Nations peoples as a way of embedding cultural authenticity into our built environment. The works were originally conceived for exhibition in Australia’s pavilion on the Giardini in Venice and has been reimagined as a film that presents a powerful set of works from across Australia and the Pacific. The works demonstrate architecture’s capacity to strengthen cultural connections and understanding between non-Indigenous and First Nations peoples. 

Jill Garner, Victorian Government Architect (OVGA) – Designing Policy for People
Jill Garner took the helm of the Office of the Victorian Government Architect in 2015, stepping into the role as a public advocate for architecture and design after more than twenty years in practice. As an architect, her practice – Garner Davis – has received numerous industry awards for delivering sensitive, crafted public and private work. As a design advisor and advocate in government, she strongly promotes the value of contextual, integrated design thinking and a collaborative approach across design disciplines. Jill Garner will further explore these issues with Hamish Lyon, Director of NH Architecture, in a following guided walking tour.  

Nicole Kalms, XYX Lab– Your Ground: Towards a Safer and More Accessible City 
Your Ground is a digital mapping platform that aims to advance knowledge of safety in public spaces. In the context of social changes brought about by COVID-19, Your Ground is backed by research and seeks allow women and gender-diverse people to call out safe and unsafe experiences and geographically identify spaces where they have been made to feel unsafe, scared or even safe and happy. The project seeks to empower women and gender-diverse people to advocate for change through their lived experiences.  

Liam Young with Ewan McEoin The Making of Planet City
Planet City is a film exploring the productive potential of extreme densification. The project – commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria – imagines a future where humanity exists in one hyper dense metropolis, leaving the rest of the planet to thrive in wilderness. Liam Young, author, filmmaker and architect is joined by Ewan McEoin, the Hugh Williamson Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture at the National Gallery of Victoria to discuss the future of city existence. Liam joins This Is Public courtesy of the Living Cities Forum and the Naomi Milgrom Foundation where he has curated a film series as part of the OHM X Living Cities satellite program.  

James Brearley and Justine Della Riva (CEO) – Building Pride
Five years in the making the Victorian Pride Centre is a place of belonging, support and pride for LGBTIQ+ communities. As Australia’s first purpose-built pride centre, this is where everyone can come together, honour the past, celebrate the present, and work towards a more inclusive future. The Centre is home to important resident organisations, engaging cultural programs, vital health services and inspiring social spaces.  In January 2018 BAU (Brearley Architects and Urbanists) and GAA (Grant Amon Architects) were selected winners of a two-stage design competition. Inaugural CEO Justine Dalla Riva, proud Lesbian and mother of two will be joined by architect James Brearley to discuss what it takes to create inclusive spaces that respect our individual and collective vision to belong. 

Beau de Belle, Christine Phillips and Jock Gilbert – Designing On Country
Gamilaraay architect Beau de Belle and non-Indigenous design academics, Christine Phillips and Jock Gilbert consider the question: What will Melbourne look like in the future when we embrace design as an act of reconciliation? Beau, Jock and Christine’s discussion for This Is Public will set the scene for an expanded event the following evening – also at The Capitol – with Boon Wurrong elder N’Arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM  that explores these questions in further depth.

Co-presented with Centre for Architecture Victoria, Open House Melbourne. This edition is supported by RMIT Architecture & Urban Design, RMIT University and media partner Assemble Papers.

This event forms part of the satellite program for the 2021 Living Cities Forum presented by Naomi Milgrom Foundation.