Group Manggis- Tanggui Project

Designing in partnership with Vital Strategies and the community of Banjarmasin was a experience in cross-cultural, interdisciplinary collaboration that required observation and negotiation both with the local community and global stakeholders.

The Not for Profit organisation Vital Strategies, work with social and environmental issues in local settings to reflect on major global issues. The collaborative campaign that we been involved on revolves around the growing problem of tobacco consumption in Indonesia, in particular amongst the youth of Banjarmasin. Our first hand observations combining primary and secondary research allowed us to gain a sense of how the cultural history and economic state of tobacco itself has influenced the popularity of tobacco consumption in Indonesia today.


Observational Documentation of Day in Banjarmasin (Group Manggis, 2018)


Concept Development: A Response to our Observations

Our brief required us to ‘add an element to the junkung’. We were wary of making changes to the existing colour and vibrancy of the boats as their wooden structures are ornately and decoratively painted. Instead, we observed the potential of the acil acil hats, as distinctive features of the river boats, and a key space to be seen from afar and above. Our project aims to hero the women behind one of the most iconic aspects of Banjarmasin culture; engage with the youth; start a conversation about healthy living; all whilst spreading the word and building excitement for our Friday festival. Inspired by the generosity and enthusiasm of the local youth we’ve met in our short time here, our project is a response to the integral collaborative spirit of Banjarmasin.

Conceptual Process and Visual Development (Group Manggis, 2018)

Primary research surrounding our task consisted predominantly of formal and informal interviews. In preparation for the event we surveyed two key stakeholders: the student workshop participants, and the acil-acil. At the Sunday morning markets, and with the help of some local friends, we found that the acil-acil were enthusiastic towards the sketched prototypes we showed them; they were excited about the hats being free, and even began choosing which design they liked most.

Suwandi Chandra Photography
Acil Acil at the Floating Markets, Banjarmasin (Suwandi Chandra Photography, 2017)

Informal interviews with our student workshop participants brought about two crucial amendments to our plan. The first of which was to extend the hours of the workshop to accommodate for more high school students, which alleviated a lot of the stress we had about not having enough participants. The second revision came about in response to a few of our friends being unsure of their design and painting abilities and participation in the workshop. To remedy this, we created a template with several template and design ideas, as well as clear, translated instructions to aid clarity and accessibility. Furthermore, to accommodate for the collaborative painting of the hats to to go as smoothly as possible, we prepped the hats with a base coat. This acted as a guide of where the writing would sit and a inner circle for the workshop participants to paint their design within.

The Design Process:

We sourced 70 hats, paint, drop sheets, brushes and snacks. The choice of paint was chosen through a process of elimination and prototyping. We tested to see how quickly it would dry, if it was water soluble and how strong the fumes were. We decided that the design would be in a centralised circle with hashtags on the outer rim.  Each individual participant would have the freedom of creating their own design within the central circle to create uniformity. On the outer rim the hashtags would be placed and the only black feature for clear visibility.

When speaking with people potentially joining the workshop, found that some weren’t as confident with painting their own design, thus we created a simple guide with examples and instructions for the people attending. We aimed to make this predominantly visual and easily transferable so to cut down difficulties encountered by a the language and encourage people passing by to get involved.

We decided on the location of the watch tower (Menara Pandang) for its central location, communal ground floor space, and open area; being easily visible to people passing along the river. This public space also allowed us to capture the public’s attention, raise awareness of our anti smoking message before the event, and also building anticipation. We also designed a social media flyer to promote the event on platforms such as Instagram and WhatsApp which are popular in Banjarmasin. The willingness of the community and the contacts we made over the past two weeks allowed the word to be spread quickly and resulted in a successful day. 

MANGGIS workshop
Workshop Visual Aid (Left) Social Media Poster (Right)



As a result of the connections we made during our stay in Banjarmasin we were able to run a community based workshop. The numbers of helpers created a time efficient way of painting the hats. All 70 hats were completed by early afternoon and ready for the dress rehearsal. We aimed to make the painting workshop into an ‘event’ where a mutual cross cultural trust could be reached and established. As is emphasised in  Tom Boellstorff’s words: “The need to establish trust in order to develop a stable relationship is universal… developing trust is an issue that has to be resolved in any multicultural collaboration”.

We aimed to do this through the act of invitation and creation where the action of painting – a non verbal activity created a platform to break down barriers of cultural difference and create a channel of communication. This opening we used to promote healthy living and the anti-smoking notion. The hats were designed for longevity with the hope that they will be worn well after the event. The paint selected is waterproof to assist in giving the hats further durability. The bright and uniquely hand-painted hats are made with care and are the antithesis to the tobacco advertisement commercial and sensationalised images. The hats promote a communal, celebratory image.


The impact of the hat event went beyond the day as we were delighted with the turnout of our local friends, UTS student, government staff, vital strategies members, and a number of the public. This impact was made threefold as it generated interested in the festival, a visit from a local news team, and the Health Department meant greater publicity of the anti-smoking message. The public response and willingness to be involved and welcome us, made the experience an enriching cross-cultural collaboration, and a testament to the warm spirit of Banjarmasin. In this light, we endeavoured to tackle a global phenomenon through a local initiative.

The unique and iconic structure of the floating markets are integral to Banjarmasin’s historical and cultural identity and embody their proud culture. The markets thrives in creating a communal social hub this fabricated a platform heightened by their ability to move up and down the central river. The care and handcrafted additions to the traditional hats, combines the traditional past and a message of healthy living for the future. We hope it will continue to exist, spreading a positive anti-tobacco message as it moves up and down the flowing heart of Banjarmasin, well after the event.

workshop process
Tanggui Painting Workshop (17th Jan, 2018)

Watch a short video of the workshop here: 

Reference List: 

Chadra, S. (2017) Suwandi Chandra Photography. Floating Markets, Banjarmasin. Available at: [Accessed 14th January, 2018]

Anshari, D.(2017). Effectiveness of Pictorial Health Warning Labels for Indonesia’s Cigarette Packages. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from

Nawi Ng, L. Weinehall, A. Öhman; ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’—Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking, Health Education Research, Volume 22, Issue 6, 1 December 2007, Pages 794–804

Piper, S. (2008). Gang re:Publik : Indonesia-Australia creative adventures. Newtown, N.S.W.: Gang Inc, pp.80 – 82.

Bird, A &  Osland, J.S. (2005) Making Sense of Intercultural Collaboration, International Studies of Management & Organization, 35:4, 115-132

Post A: The Relevance of Design Activism

‘A global approach to a local issue’ (Vital Strategies Team, 2018)

We immediately intuit in today’s world that matters look different when analyzed at global, continental, national, regional, local, or personal scales (Harvey, 2000) and although the need for tobacco control sits at a global scale, it isn’t until you focus on a specific society that you recognise the magnitude of the issue on a personal level, allowing you to understand how tobacco consumption effects not only an individuals health but the community surrounding them. Banjarmasin, Indonesia has a growing rate of youth smokers as a result of economic affordability and pressurised cultural expectations amongst men. As a result of cultural history and expectations of masculinity, young Indonesian men feel that they are not real men if they don’t smoke (Nawi, 2007) 

Design responds to the needs of the people and environment it exists within (Roderiguez, 2010), allowing the public to relate to the issue itself, drawing on factors that are relevant to their daily lives. This process required a lot of observational research, allowing us to adapt our knowledge to a suitable focus in order for the message to be clearly and successfully communicatedOur spatial behavior, which is defined by and defines the spaces around us, is an integral part of our social existence (Madanipour, 1999) and for this reason, we focused on how the space of Banjarmasin could be used to promote messages of health and anti smoking.  

An example of geographic specific design is the wheelie bin sound systems (2012) which were created as a response to the ‘Reclaim the Lanes’ protest in Inner West areas of Sydney (Taylor, 2017). Local creatives collaborated to create these speaker bins as a result of an observation they made as to how people were using their space on the street at the time. This allowed locals the freedom to use these bins to express their opinion and had successful feedback as the object of the street bin itself is relevant to everyone’s daily routine. 

Reclaim The Lanes Article (Inner West Courier, 2012)

Similarly, the festival work of Vital Strategies was focused on the river as an observation of it being the focus of spatial existence in Banjarmasin. The collaborative Indonesian/ Australian workshop process was also a response to the multilingual society of Banjarmasin and the process in which they collaboratively carry out their daily tasks. Strategies for cultural sense making are not just usefulthey are essential (Bird, 2005) 

Cultural conflicts in collaborative efforts give rise to sense-making behavior as individuals notice events and assign meaning to what they notice (Weick, 1995) and in this instance, the input of a different culture in Indonesia was highly effective as we made observations that may have gone unrecognised by those who live in the city.  

Design activism has deeply influenced the way design cultures originated and developed in response to social and economic change (Kaygan, Julier, 2013), therefore the Vital Strategies campaign have the potential to influence and change the smoking habits of those in Indonesia through relevant content and publicity. Design should always be a direct response the context it sits within in order to be successfully communicated and to overcome the challenge of being enrolled to promote the creative economy (Markussen, 2012) and maintaining a sense of purpose.  


This was a successful campaign as it was a response to the contextual values of vanity and femininity of the time, which was contrived from the superficiality of the American Dream. (American Cancer Society, 1964)


Boellstorff, T. (2002) Ethnolocality, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology. Routeledge Group. 3,1. Pp.24-48.

Rodriguez, D. (2005). Why Design matters, Embracing risk to learn, grow and innovate. Rotman Magazine, pp.55-58.

Kaygan, H. Julier, G. (2013). Global Design Activism Survey, Design and Culture. Bloomsbury Publishing. 5:2, pp237-252.

Madanipour, A. (1999). Planning and Design. Newcastle University England. 26, pp.879-891.

Bird, A. Osland, J. (2005) Making Sense of Intercultural Collaboration, International Studies of Management & Organisation. Routledge Publishing. 35:4, pp.115-132.

Taylor, J. (2018). DIY Urbanism; Sydney Reconsidered. Sydney: The University of Sydney, Sydney, N.S.W, pp.47-51.

Weick, K. (1988). Enacted sensemaking in crisis situations. Journal of Management Studies, 25:4, pp. 305–317.

Osland, J. A, Bird. (2017) Building Research & Information. Making Sense of Intercultural Collaboration. IGB Network Company. 35:4, pp. 115-113.

Post C: Interview with Auralia Shalsagiani

South Kaliamantan
Increase in youth smokers, South Kalimantan (Vital Strategies, 2018)

Indonesia is currently among the top four tobacco consuming countries in the world (Anshari, 2017). Although data research supports this, it wasn’t until I travelled to Indonesia that I discovered the underlying reasons and cultural history behind the problem itself. In Indonesia, smokers typically describe their relationship to cigarettes in positive terms and it is rare to hear one say that they are addicted to kreteks, even if they smoke heavily. (Anshari, 2017).  Our culturally collaborative experience in Banjarmasin has led us to several  opportunities to meet and interview local community members and students, allowing me to gain insight into what the tobacco issue stems from and why the issue is increasing rather than decreasing. 

Auralia Shalsagiani (Aura) is a student in Banjarmasin who feels strongly about the issue of tobacco control in Indonesia and at the young age of fifteen is a member of several non profit organisations that aim to promote health and positive change throughout her city.  

Mindsets inherited from previous generations explain how history is remembered (Fisher, 1997) and in this instance, smoking amongst men has a significant cultural history in Indonesia. According to young males, smoking portrays the image of potency, wisdom and bravery’ (Naw, 2007). Aura explains that people think it’s ok for men to smoke because the people of Indonesia feel that men have more freedom than women, stating that ‘the feminist mindset is not popular’ (Shalsagiani, 2018). This opinion stems from expectations formed by the society of Banjarmasin and the cultural history of the Muslim religion. Although women physically have the freedom to smoke, the public would comment that a female who smokes lacks manners, which is an opinion most women choose to respect (Shalsagiani, 2018).

The affordable price point of cigarette packets in Indonesia makes this cultural expectation a reality. Aura suggests that smokers in her age group buy a minimum of 3 packets a week, sometimes spending all their lunch money on cigarettes. The Indonesian government aim to increase the average packet price from 15 000rp to 150 000rp so teenagers can no longer purchase them, however this is difficult to achieve due to the democratic nature of the government and concern for loss of tobacco farming business.

Tobacco Regulation
Regulations and Solutions (Chapter 27, pp.72. The Tobacco Atlas, 2015)

Health concerns related to smoking and second hand smoke seem to be overlooked in Indonesia and although the packets have small health warnings on each side, this seems to have minimal effects on the smokers buying them. 

Merokok atau tidak merokok akan mati juga’ which translates to “Smoking dead. Not smoking also dead” (Shalsagiani, 2018) is a popular statement in Banjarmasin and encapsulates the disregard locals have for the fatal nature of tobacco provoked illnessesSmokers seem to ignore their individual health and so it is necessary that organisations such as Vital Strategies emphasise the positivity of a smoke free environment and shift focus from an individuals point of view to the detrimental effects tobacco smoke has on their surrounding community members and environment. 

Read the full Interview here.

Shalsagiani, A. (2018). Primary Research- Interview about Tobacco consumption in Banjarmasin.

Anshari, D.(2017). Effectiveness of Pictorial Health Warning Labels for Indonesia’s Cigarette Packages. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from

Nawi Ng, L. Weinehall, A. Öhman. (2007) Indonesian teenage boys views about smoking, Health Education Research. Volume 22, Issue 6. pp. 794–804.

Nichter, M. Padmawati, S. Danardono, M. (2009) Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia. Tobacco Control. 18, pp. 98-107.

Osland, J. A, Bird. (2017) Building Research & Information. Making Sense of Intercultural Collaboration. IGB Network Company. 35:4, pp. 115-113.

Thomas, M. (2017). Tobacco excise increase. Canberra: Parliament of Australia. pp. 1.

Post B: Tobacco Control- From Policies to Visual Statements

The size of the world smoking habit. (, 2017) 

The production and consumption of tobacco across the world has been restricted over the years due to health awareness, public law placement and increased taxes, and although the percentage of smokers has significantly dropped over the years, the issues that stem from the tobacco industry are still highly prevalent within society today.

Tobacco control is dominantly focused on individual health risks, however all phases of cigarette production, from leaf cultivation through cigarette manufacture to transportation also contribute to greenhouse gas emission responsible for global climate change (Jacobs, 2000). FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco control) published a series of reports on the environmental impacts, considering this not only as a health concern but as an environmental justice issue (Lecours, 2017).

Tobacco control is considered effective in countries that increase costs and taxes, taking inflation into consideration. In Australia, the federal excise on tobacco is adjusted twice each year in line with average weekly earnings (Gostin, 2017). This is designed to either encourage quitting rather than switching to cheaper brands, and to reduce the amount of tobacco consumed by those who do not quit (Jha, Peto, 2014). This is highly effective in low to middle income areas, however visual and emotional reminders are still necessary to address all classes. An example of this was the banning of original tobacco packaging in Australia, being replaced by confronting images of the health risks that come with smoking.

File photo of a man smoking a cigarette in front of a vending machine selling cigarettes of Japan Tobacco Inc and other cigarette companies in Tokyo
A man smoking in front of a cigarette vending machine in Tokyo. (Kok, 2017) 

In countries like Japan, where smoking is popular, cheap and legal inside a variety of venues, methods of tobacco control are slightly different. In 2000, Hyogo Prefecture in Japan launched an anti-SHS initiative, including a policy for smoking separation in all public places and workplaces (Yamada, 2015). This includes designated ‘smoking zones’ on the street and sometimes in booths, all of which the public are respectful of.

smoking campaign
Smoking Kids- by Artist Frieke Janssens 

Although policies and laws encourage smokers to stop, sometimes a strong poetic message or visualisation of the issue itself is more compelling to the public. An example of this is the somewhat controversial photographic project ‘Smoking Kids’ by artist Frieke Janssens, which was inspired by the famous Youtube video of a two year old Indonesian toddler chain smoking. The series of images portrays fifteen children between the age of four and nine posing in a startling way in front of the camera, each smoking a cigarette, cigar or pipe (Janssens, 2013).  The subjects looked as if they stepped right out of a 1960’s TV show, which adds a modestly theatrical, retro quality but also something whimsical and unreal to the images (Woensel, 2014). These images strike the viewer because the concept of smoking is something we naturally detach from youth and innocence, but why should we value our lives any less?


References: (2017). The Size of the World’s Smoking Habit | [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Dec. 2017].

Salmoral, J. (2012). [online] Smoking Area Tokyo, Japan. Available at: [Accessed 5 Dec. 2017].

Kok, L. (2017). Processed meat linked to colon cancer: 7 things to know. [online] The Straits Times. Available at: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2017].

Lecours, N., Almeida, G., Abdallah, J. and Novotny, T. (2012). Environmental health impacts of tobacco farming: a review of the literature: Table 1. Tobacco Control, 21(2), pp.191-196.

Weeks, S. (2001). Tobacco Control in Developing Countries: Prabhat Jha and Frank Chaloupka (eds) Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000 490 pp. ISBN 0-19-263246-9 (pb). Health Education Research, 16(3), pp.384-385.

Gostin, L., Magnusson, R., Krech, R., Patterson, D., Solomon, S., Walton, D., Burci, G., Cathaoir, K., Roache, S. and Kieny, M. (2017). Advancing the Right to Health—The Vital Role of Law. American Journal of Public Health, 107(13), pp.201-215.

Jha, P. Peto, R. (2014). Global effects of smoking, of quitting, and of taxing tobacco. New England Journal of Medicinepp. 60-68.

Yamada, K., Mori, N., Kashiwabara, M., Yasuda, S., Horie, R., Yamato, H., Garçon, L. and Armada, F. (2015). Industry Speed Bumps on Local Tobacco Control in Japan? The Case of Hyogo. Journal of Epidemiology, 25(7), pp.496-504.


Post D: How Mass Tourism Effects the Traditional Culture of Indonesia

indonesian culture
Traditional Dances of Indonesia (Adi, 2017)  

Indonesia is located in South East Asia, sharing land borders with Malaysia, Timor-Leste and Papa New Guinea and has a current population of 261.1 million (, 2017). The islands of Indonesia offer a variety of religious and cultural traditions, each specific to the area and dependent upon the people who inhabit them. Religion is a dominant aspect of Indonesian culture, the population holding faith in the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism and Islam (Indonesia, 1993).  

So how has the high level of tourism within Indonesia effected these religions and their traditions? 

Indonesia has recognised the potential role of tourism as a catalyst for economic development and ultimately, improved living standards for communities in many regions (Faulkner, 1998), therefore foreign tourism is now an integral part of the Indonesian economy (Sugiyarto, Blake and Sinclair, 2003). Although tourism is heavily dependent on cultural sites and temples across the country, this has gradually interrupted the raw and spiritual culture of certain areas of Indonesia, especially when traditions are disregarded. Similar to many across the world, some communities are now beginning deliberately to exploit their multicultural nature for tourism (Burgers, 1992).  


This is particularly evident in Indonesia’s leading tourist destination Bali. Bali really became a touristic destination in the 1970s (Suardana, 2015) and throughout the years has developed into a highly dense hub of tourism, overflowing with accommodation locations and commercial consumption due to its affordable pricing.  Ida Wijaya, president of the Bali tourist information office stated that ‘Tourism is a reality that is linked to the attractiveness of our culture: if mass tourism evolves in a way that threatens this culture, our specificity will disappear’ (Wijaya, 2015). This is a problem that Indonesia may face in the future if tourism continues to expand at such a rapid rate and there may need to be changes made to the footprint tourist are making on sacred cultural sites and to the communities themselves.        

This is a difficult topic to explore because tourists travel to consume difference, to see how other societies live (Richards and Hall, 2003) and without this exposure to culture, tourism may fade. Although tourism has had negative implications on Indonesian culture, it’s influence on the economy is the main reason the standard of living is continuously developing and increasing. Tourism and tourist arts are entwined with cultural identity and with the crafting of new sensibilities about a local community’s place in the world (Adams, 2006). We must simply remember that it isn’t our culture to interrupt and respect for Indonesia and its religious traditions is always expected.    Artboard 1References:  

Image: Adi, Y. (2017). Top 7 Traditional Dances of Indonesia (#5 is Popular) – Facts of Indonesia. [online] Facts of Indonesia. Available at: [Accessed 2 Dec. 2017]. 

Protschky, S. (2014). Images of the Tropics : Environment and Visual Culture in Colonial Indonesia. BRILL. (2017). Location of Indonesia – Indonesia Geographic Location – Location Map of Indonesia – Where is Indonesia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Dec. 2017]. 

Adams, K. (2006). Art as politics. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.   

Faulkner, B. (1998). Tourism development options in Indonesia and the case of argo– tourism in central Java. London Routledge, pp.202-221. 

Sugiyarto, G., Blake, A. and Sinclair, M. (2003). Tourism and Globalisation: Economic Impact in Indonesia. Annals of Tourism Research, 30(3), pp.683-701. 

Indonesia. (1993). Petaluma, Calif.: World Trade Press, pp.13. 

Adams, K. (Art As Politics : Re-Crafting Identities, Tourism, and Power in Tana Toraja, Indonesia, University of Hawaii Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central 

Richards, G. and Hall, D. (2003). Tourism and Sustainable Community Development (Routledge advances in tourism ; 7). Taylor & Francis Group / Books. 

Phillip, B. (2015). How mass tourism is destroying Bali and its culture. World Crunch. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017].