Queensland College of Art students are among the first in Australia to embark on a new creative arts exchange to Indonesia.

The Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) is piloting a new national programfor young artists and designers.

The Creative Arts & Design Professional Practicum features a crashcourse on Indonesia’s history, culture and language, and a month-long professional internship with local arts and design organisations.


An amazing opportunity

Queensland College of Art senior design lecturer Dr Beck Davis said it was “an amazing opportunity”.

“It’s the first time this national program has been expanded to include creative arts and design,” she said.

“The Asia-Pacific region is a critical zone for design, and there are real opportunities for collaboration.

“A program like this enriches their study, helps highlight the skills they’ve developed and deepens their understanding of design.

“It can be life-changing.”

An eye opening experience

Bachelor of Designstudent Ziana Diggles, was one of the first group of students selected for the exchange.

Ziana said the experience was “an eye-opener”.

“It was a very intense experience and demanding,” she added.

“I haven’t been to Asia before, so it was a bit of a culture shock.”

Ziana completed an internship with Bandung-based environmental NGOGreeneration Foundation Indonesia.

“I worked with Greeneration Foundation, helping design marketing materials, working on social media campaigns and shooting vlogs about sustainability.”

Tackling sustainable design

Sustainability issues are a particular passion for the young designer, who studied environmental science before enrolling at the QCA.

“I guess a lot of the environmental issues faced by countries like Indonesia will one day be our problem, given our close proximity.

“In Indonesia, they were very keen to find out about sustainability practices in Australia — just stuff we take for granted.


“Indonesia is still developing, and there are so many ways to apply the theory we’re learning at uni.”

A competitive edge

The final-year student is hoping to head back to Indonesia before embarking on a Masters or PhD in sustainable design.

“I’m already applying for another program!

“I feel like I’m not done, there is still so much to explore.”

Ziana said she was grateful to Griffith for promoting international exchange through its global mobility program.

“Griffith does a great job of pushing these exchanges, and the courses here really offer a global perspective,” she said.

“Having these experiences definitely gives you a competitive edge after you graduate.”

Embracing the local art scene

Bachelor of Design Futures student Tara Fraser did her internship with the National Gallery of Indonesia in Jakarta.

“As part of my internship, I was lucky enough to visit galleries across the city and learn more about the Indonesian art scene,” she said.

“There are things that are distinctly Indonesian — the use of colour, patterns – it was fantastic to see new ways of working.”

Cross cultural collaboration

Tara said the exchange was “inspiring”.

“The work culture there was very chilled, friendly and fun, and it has changed the way I approach work,” she said.

“It has really inspired me to be more open and collaborative.”

Rachel Hall, an interior design student from the QCA’s Gold Coast campus interned with interior lighting design organisationLumina Group.

The students’ experiences will be showcased in an exhibition later this year in the State Library of Queensland’s Asia Pacific Design Library.

Applications are open for the 2018 program.