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Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum

Gemma Geyer is a participant in the 2018 Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum from the University of New South Wales. Gemma is studying a Bachelor of Design (Honors) majoring in Textiles and Spatial Design. Gemma received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support her participation in this program.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Creative Arts & Design Professional Practicum?

I participated in the practicum as a means to experience craft and creativity in a new culture. I also hoped it would benefit my cultural literacy and enhance my skills as a global citizen.

Q: How will the Creative Arts & Design Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?

Learning new skills is always beneficial for one’s future career, and the Creative Arts & Design Professional Practicum has improved both my technical skills and, more importantly, my interpersonal skills. Working in a new environment has pushed me outside of my comfort zone countless times, and my ability to adapt and survive in the Indonesian workplace will be of great value in the future.

 Q: Which organisation did you intern with? What were your roles and responsibilities?

I interned with Brahma Tirta Sari, a cross cultural and collaborative Batik studio started by an Indonesian and an American. At the studio I have a variety of responsibilities – I spend a few hours each day creating prototypes to be sold as part of their Red Lotus range, I help to update their product catalogues with my Adobe software knowledge, I accompany the owners to some meetings, and graciously, they give me a few hours each week to explore Batik for myself and develop my own creative practice.

Q: How did you find the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?

The culture of the workplace at Brahma Tirta Sari is miles apart from one in Australia. ‘Jam karet’ is rife with the workers – sometimes they literally don’t show up for work, and with no explanation! Despite that, it has been incredible to see everyone’s work ethic. It seems that the freedom to work at one’s own pace equates with higher productivity and a desire to be fully present at work. Also, the studio is set in a beautiful garden and all work happens outdoors – something that would never happen in a design studio in Sydney. It has been incredibly inspiring.

Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?

Maybe. There is so much globe trotting I want to do! I’m open to anything happening, so coming back to Indonesia to work would be an opportunity I couldn’t say no to.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Indonesia?

I like to hang out with my mentor and her friends – we have a mutual love for good coffee. On the weekends I love to get out and see Jogjakarta and its surroundings properly.

Q: Favourite place to eat and favourite Indonesian food?

Eating Padang is pretty fun! Eating brains with my hands is an experience I’ll always remember! They have mean fried chicken over here too… My favourite place to eat, with the best food, is Gioi restaurant.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?


Also, the key to any successful GoJek driver interaction:

  1. Halo!
  2. Ya ya ya ya (etc)
  3. Sesuai map
  4. Terima kasih ya!

Q. What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?

Jakarta and Jogjakarta (and surrounding areas). But I’ll be back to explore more!