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BERMAN BLUEPRINTS: Joanie Buckley Interview

Dr. Joanie Buckley is an Oneida Nation member, academic, and visionary.

In this interview we discuss how to work with diverse clients and how important branding is to a project. We also talk about the importance of sketching out ideas and about working together with a team to bring those ideas to life.

Be sure to watch this 5 minute interview with Dr. Joanie Buckley and learn more about Design and the Oneida Nation.

BERMAN BLUEPRINTS is a video interview series with Berman Design's strategic partners and clients.


Basam El Sayed Mohamed: Hi and welcome I am your host Basam Mohamed El Sayed Gonzalez and here I am today with Dr. Joanie Buckley, Oneida Nation tribal member, an academic and visionary. Hi, how are you?

Joanie Buckley: Great! “Shekoli!” 

Basam El Sayed Mohamed: Shekoli?” What does that mean?

Joanie Buckley: In Oneida. Hello.

Basam El Sayed Mohamed: Ok awesome! “Shekoli” back to you. 

Joanie Buckley: Yes.

Basam El Sayed Mohamed: How did you and Joel meet?

Joanie Buckley: Let's see, I think with it and early 2018, he was up in Green Bay in Oneida to really look at the landscape there. On our reservation, we were trying to develop a food center hub.

 And so, it was going to have the cannery and some other processing, but also have a social café for the community. So we were trying to look at the feasibility study for all that and positioning

And the one thing with Joel when he came that really really caught my eye. I mean, he was very excited about the project and the neat thing is, he does sketching. So, every time we could mention something he would immediately do a little small vignette or sketch on it, and I think that that's a forte of his because he's always creating it and then coming up with this idea, which makes it a lot more visual to us. Versus somebody talking about it.

Joanie Buckley: And in fact, When we were sending out information to the community, we put in a couple of his sketches. and what's really great about it is as opposed to let's say architectural drawings The sketches look like they're still flowing and moving. Which is good for the community as opposed to them thinking oh they've already decided on a design.

Basam El Sayed Mohamed: Absolutely right.

Joanie Buckley: So that I mean aside from being an architect, architects should be able to design. But I think that that is a forte of his and the fact that he's always asking it and inquiring about things.

Basam El Sayed Mohamed: In all of these spaces and in all the projects you've worked on, how important has brand been, how important has been consistency in what you've done with different communities and different people.

Joanie Buckley: I think that what you're looking at with the brand. I mean, it's not necessarily something that's written on the chalkboard that hits you, you've got to always think about their environment and their brand and so it's not like we do with designers that are just branding something, it's more like What's the inner works of that community. What's their beliefs? What are they trying to accomplish? How do they want to be perceived? So sometimes the branding is subtle.

Basam El Sayed Mohamed: Right.

Joanie Buckley: And for instance with indigenous communities, we are about the environment. And so that might be a subtle one. It's not that you're going to design with logs, it's just that you've got to take that consideration.

Joanie Buckley: It's always that question, function or form, that you look at from a design perspective, but I think I want to challenge people to look at the client's soul.

Basam El Sayed Mohamed: Could you elaborate a little more on that?

Joanie Buckley: It just goes back to say, some clients are very formal. Okay, so you might have formality within it. Others might want more of an embracing foyer or they may have an open area where there might be more meetings. So if you’re looking at it, if you understand the client and understand their history, how they got there, what is this design supposed to represent? And then what is its use?

Basam El Sayed Mohamed: I completely agree. You have been amazing. Thank you for your time and thank you, the viewer, for watching. Dr. Joanie Buckley, thank you so much.

Joanie Buckley: Okay, take care. Bye!


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