Articles > Adobe in the Outback

Adobe in the Outback

by Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek
Academic Director - External Engagement | School of Design - Faculty of Health, Arts and Design.

Swinburne University of Technology, School of Design

Having the privilege to work with an Aboriginal community has given Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek from the School of Design, Swinburne University of Technology a new perspective on role, value and place of design in social transformation and community development.

Samantha is currently working with Warmun Arts in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia and street artist Tom Civil to develop a locally driven public art program that seeks to build pride, resilience and a sense of place. The project is conceived as two-way teaching, learning and sharing of traditional culture and beliefs combined with digital art and design technologies.

Warmun is an Aboriginal community in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia with a population of approx 700 people. Gija country encompasses impressive geographical formations including Purnululu (Bungle Bungles) National Park. The Gija people of Warmun are internationally renowned for their ochre-based Aboriginal art works that express their connections to country and the traditional cultural heritage of the region. Warmun Arts is a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates the protection of artists intellectual and cultural property, provides employment and training opportunities, and is where this project work is based.

“InDesign, it’s deadly!” - Desma Juli, Media Trainee, Warmun Media Lab

Desma Juli with her finished poster design, Street Art Video Night

Samantha has just returned from a week of consultation where she met with artists, elders, teachers and students from the Ngalangangpum School, Warmun Arts Centre and the Warmun Council, to discuss and plan the program. Her visit was also specifically focused around a series of workshops that introduced participants to Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop as tools for storytelling and public communication. Specific instruction involved image digitization, photo-editing, working with type and layout design in the creation of a poster series to theme and promote the event that takes place this month, in July 2015.

Digital artwork paste ups produced in photoshop by students from the Ngalangangpum School

“What an inspiring mix of contemporary digital technologies combined with Indigenous knowledge systems to develop sustainable and creative livelihoods. It never ceases to amaze me to see the power of digital creativity in action.”- Dr Tim Kitchen, Senior Education Advocate Adobe APAC

Media trainees, Felix and Desma Juli working on their designs in the Warmun Media Lab.

To find out more about the amazing work that was created, visit Warmun Art Centre.

For more information about this project please email Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek, Academic Director, External Engagement (Design) - [email protected]. Also, watch this space for future updates!

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