Michael is a descendant of the Bundjalung people of north-east New South Wales and was born in Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory. He has completed a Master of Arts in Architecture at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London. RCA is widely considered the world's leading Art and Design university. His research investigated how Indigenous ontologies of land can inform the built environment. Michael was part of the curatorial team at RCA, for Rights of Future Generations, the inaugural edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial. His curatorial research examined how Indigenous expressions of co-existence might challenge dominant Western perspectives.
Michael grew up in Darwin before moving to Melbourne to study at RMIT, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Architectural Design in 2014. During his studies, Michael was awarded the McCraith Scholarship in Architecture and the Ngarara William Postgraduate Scholarship. Michael is the 2018 and 2019 recipient of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation's Murray Chapman Scholarship.
Before commencing his studies at the RCA Michael worked in practice at Denton Corker Marshall Architects in Melbourne and was a director of Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria (IADV), a not-for-profit organisation that aims to strengthen Indigenous culture within the built environment.
Meet Michael McMahon, Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation, Facebook post
I really enjoyed the Chevening introduction. I was standing around a table discussing the importance of infrastructure with a number of scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America. I was making the point that infrastructure can exasperate gentrification while they were saying that it is a measure of a city's development. Albeit a small experience, I profoundly felt the potential of the various perspectives I'm currently surrounded by and will continue to be around.