My Gamilaroi Aboriginal and European Australian heritage shapes and forms my extensive interdisciplinary design experience. I am an interdisciplinary designer, strategist and researcher with a PhD in Design. My work intersects foresight and futures thinking, decolonial thinking, strategic design, mapping, Indigenous Knowledge, arts and culture and sustainability. I am currently Honorary Adjunct Fellow in Design at the University of Technology Sydney, and was previously a lecturer in Design at Griffith University.

I am also Founder and Co-Director of the strategic design agency Relative Creative. We design communication, strategies, experiences and events that help people think, talk and mobilise sustainable futures. I am also one of eight international comrades in the Decolonising Design Group. I have spearheaded critical design-led conversations, published, led major projects and collaborated nationally and internationally.


  • Director of Relative Creative, a design, arts and strategic consultancy and creative practice. We are squarely focussed on design-led facilitation of conversations around social complexities of communities and societies’ relation with work, leisure and everyday life amidst rapid change. We work with multiple disciplines inside and outside the field of design. Projects might examine the relational complexity linking issues like population growth, resource stress, climate change and its diverse impacts, geopolitical reconfiguration, global food security, actual and projected asymmetrical conflicts, global inequity, hyper-consumption, colonialism and more. It can be understood as design as situation facilitation; service design, policy, planning design and strategic design; social design; social innovation and activation design; participatory design and co-design; social enterprise design and design writing at any given time. We combine this with working creatively across visual communication design, product design, fashion design, interior design, event and exhibition design, film and production, print design, web design, information design, interactive media design, publication design, typographic design, branding and marketing, advertising and campaigns, environmental graphics design, psycho-social and psycho-geographic mapping and urban space activation and more.


  • 2019-onwards – Honorary Adjunct Fellow University Technology Sydney
  • Mid 2014 – Dec 2019: Lecturer & Convenor, Design Futures, QCA, Griffith University, Brisbane.
  • 2012 – mid 2014 – Sessional tutor at QCA, Griffith University, Brisbane, presented a number of guest lectures in Australia and overseas


  • PhD Design, Queensland College of Art – Griffith University South Bank, Brisbane – 2019
  • Master of Design Futures with Honours, Queensland College of Art – Griffith University South Bank, Brisbane – 2013
  • Bachelor of Design, awarded academic excellence, Queensland College of Art – Griffith University Gold Coast. Major in Product and 3D Design – 2006

Community and committee leadership

  • Relative Creative Founder and Co-Director. Strategic Design Consultancy, Design Lab,

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Arts Strategy Panel – Australia Council for the Arts Board Member, 2014 – 2017. Advise on strategy, grants funding and future vision for Australia’s peak governing body for the arts

  • BlakDance Australia Deputy Chair, 2015 – 2017. Advise on strategy, grants funding and future vision for Australia’s peak governing body for Aboriginal Dance.

  • Redirective Practice. President, 2014 – Current

  • Rabbit+Cocoon. Board Member, 2012 – 2014. Rabbit + Cocoon is a creative precinct that provides spaces and resources for motivated people to run creative practices, businesses and events that contribute towards the cultural ecology of the Gold Coast and beyond.

  • The Sold Coast. Secretary, 2013 – Current. The Sold Coast is a transformative collective working towards cultures of sustainability. The Sold Coast offers an alternative: situated (Gold Coast) adaptive visioning that embraces relational complexity. The Sold Coast  confronts ‘things’ and interrogates them, be it images, objects, products, projects, systems, processes or policies.

Select eight publications

  • Schultz, Tristan, Danah Abdulla, Ahmed Ansari, Ece Canlı, Mahmoud Keshavarz, Matthew Kiem, Luiza Prado de O. Martins, and Pedro J. S. Vieira de Oliveira. 2018. “Editors’ Introduction.”  Design and Culture 10 (1):1-6. doi: 10.1080/17547075.2018.1434367.
  • Schultz, Tristan, Danah Abdulla, Ahmed Ansari, Ece Canlı, Mahmoud Keshavarz, Matthew Kiem, Luiza Prado de O. Martins, and Pedro J.S. Vieira de Oliveira. 2018. “What Is at Stake with Decolonizing Design? A Roundtable.”  Design and Culture 10 (1):81-101. doi: 10.1080/17547075.2018.1434368.
  • Schultz, Tristan. 2018. “Decolonising Techno-Colonising Indigenous Design Futures.”  Strategic Design Research Journal 11 (3).
  • Tristan Schultz, Bec Barnett. 2017. “Decolonising Approaches to Designing with Children: FutureBNE Water Security Challenge.” Nordes 2017: Design+Power, Oslo, Norway.
  • Schultz, Tristan. 2017. “Design’s Role in Transitioning to Futures of Cultures of Repair.” In Research into Design for Communities, Volume 2. ICoRD 2017. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, edited by Debkumar Chakrabarti Amaresh Chakrabarti. Singapore: Springer.
  • Schultz, Tristan. 2016. “Decolonial Design-Wayfinding for Sustainable Futures: A Critical Case Study of Brisbane and Gold Coast, Australia.” City Street 2: Street-Forming Re-Forming: Transforming the 21st Century City Streets, Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Tristan Schultz, Bec Barnett, Christine Moulder, Lennah Kuskoff, Chenoa Pettrup. 2016. “Making an Age of Repair: Queensland-a case study in participatory process in practice.” In Territories of Political Participation. Public Art, Urban Design, and Performative Citizenship, edited by Laura Iannelli and Pierluigi Musarò. UK: Mimesis International.
  • Schultz, Tristan. 2015. “Unsettled? Map & Design Futures.” TedxGriffith. https://youtu.be/QOBe912mTQo.


Select ten recent projects

  • Indigenous Business Australia Futures Forum: 2019: Bringing together leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 18-35 year old social change-makers to develop 50-year visions for re-shaping the culture of Indigenous business
  • James Cook Museum: 2019: Co-designing a reimagining of the museum in Cooktown with local Bama-Ngay people for National Trust of Australia (Qld)
  • See Change Sand Tracks: 2018: Major arts event in Festival 2018, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
  • Brisbane City Council’s FutureBNE: Australia’s largest out-of-school educational event, held as part of World Science Week 2016-2020 where over 600 twelve year old children design a sustainable Brisbane over the next 100 years
  • Future of Work (client confidential): 2019: Major service design project delivering user-centred design recommendations on workforce planning processes and tools
  • City of Gold Coast: 2019: Co-designing an Indigenous Framework and vision for Indigenous futures in the city
  • HOTA Home of the Arts Gold Coast: Designing a major Indigenous Framework for decolonising HOTA’s programming, workforce and management.
  • Our Coastal Futures: 2019: Co-designing a major international conference supported by the UN Decade of Oceans and Coasts
  • FuturePlace: 2019: Documentary (in development): Writing and hosting a broadcast backed factual tv series
  • Gold City Futures Forum: Designing a grassroots forum about just transitions in a green new world on the Gold Coast.