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Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum

Sydney Farey was a participant in the 2018 Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum from the Australian National University. Sydney is studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship majoring in Printmedia and Drawing, and Art History. Sydney 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 believe it is really important to be exposed to different cultures, forms of education, work environments, and people with new and diverse ideas. I undertook the Creative Arts & Design Professional Practicum because I wanted to gain experience in Indonesia that I would not be able to get in Australia. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and grow individually as a person, but also as a student and an employee in the context of a workplace.

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

Through working with so many inspiring people and being involved in many incredible experiences, such as holding my own exhibition and working as a tutor in visual arts workshops, the practicum has  given me a plethora of new ideas that I want to incorporate into my own work and future career as a practicing artist back in Australia. One of the biggest influences from my practicum was learning to work in a collective, as a collaborative member of a group. This idea of working together and sharing ideas and knowledge is something that I was not familiar with in the past, and will certainly largely influence my work and my future career.

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

I interned with Grafis Huru Hara, a printmaking studio. My role was to be an active member of the nine-person studio. My responsibilities included creating work for upcoming exhibitions, creating personal work, and creating collaborative work as part of the printmaking collective. I participated as a student in various printmaking workshops to familiarise myself with printmaking techniques that were new to me. I then acted as a tutor in two printmaking workshops and organised and taught another workshop on my own. I aided in the setting up of an exhibition opening and facilitated with the opening on the night, and participated in various other exhibitions with the studio team. Furthermore, with the help of the studio I created a thirteen-minute printmaking tutorial video for the studio’s YouTube channel!

Q: How is the work culture of your host organisation different to work experience you have had in Australia?

As mentioned previously, the biggest difference was idea of working as a collective. In the visual arts industry in Australia, I find that most people tend to work alone, with minimal help from others – this creates quite a competitive environment. At my host organisation everything they did was centered around working together by communicating and collaborating with one another. Through sharing new ideas, knowledge, materials and tools, they are able to create grand masterpieces and artwork you couldn’t fathom creating on your own. Furthermore, the relaxed attitude of the studio bore a great difference to the stress-ridden, formal and structured environments that I am familiar with in Australia. Here, leaving everything to the last minute is the norm, and staying up late in the studio, relaxing, working, eating and napping together in the workspace is standard.

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

Absolutely! I have fallen in love with the people, the food, the work customs – absolutely everything. I have already spoken to my host organisation about the possibility of working for them in the future and their response was extremely welcoming and enthusiastic – stating that ‘you’re a member of Grafis Hura Hara now, our studio is your studio, you can come back anytime’. I would love to return in the future for holidays, for residencies, and, if I get the chance, certainly for long term work and/or study.

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

I enjoyed visiting exhibitions and galleries, attending live music events, spending time with other Australian students, attending Batik and other Indonesian art workshops, and traveling around a little.

Q: Favourite place to eat and favourite Indonesian food?

My favourite food is definitely Bakwan. My favourite place to eat was ‘GIOI’, an experimental Vietnamese restaurant which is slightly higher end, but offers delicious food, a lovely environment and live music most nights.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?

I found the word ‘Anjing’ to be very interesting. The word directly translates to ‘dog’ but, depending on the situation and the tone of the speaker, the word can either be a profane expression of disdain, or an expression of excitement and happiness.

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

I got most of my travelling done before the practicum started, spending my time in Sumatra and Malaysia. During my practicum I was able to visit Thousand Islands and Bogor, but was very busy with work and art projects, so could not spend too much time travelling.