Shift Collective Project

Waste pollution is having a detrimental effect on our planet, compromising the safety of living environments, water quality and ultimately the future of our planet (Hoornweg et al Bhada-Tata 2012 ). Due to Indonesia’s coastal location, vast population and varied socio economic statuses, changing waste attitudes here is crucial.

Our project looks at education and awareness to combat the environmental issues being faced in Indonesia, focusing specifically on university students as the target of this project. Through education we are able to address waste and pollution in a holistic way. This is achieved through linking everyday practise to its environmental consequence and highlighting the changes that can be made on an individual level here in Indonesia.

‘Shift Collective’ is a program built on the culture of university communities and the spaces they occupy. It allows students to apply their intrinsic understanding of local cultures and social practice to a multitude of platforms to envision real change. As participating students move on in their future career, our program aims to equip them with a more fruitful understanding of sustainability, and, in turn, prevent the continued production of non-recycable materials and mismanaged waste.

Our website serves as a centralised hot spot for all information. Students can access programs, event and competitions and interact with our online community. Our website showcases information on environmental issues relevant to the local area as well as those being faced on a global scale. Here we can equip students with the education they need to implement a more sustainable mode of being into any facet of their lives.

Our online community is built through a strong social media presence linking together a community of like-minded participants. Through a variety of networks, such as Instagram, Facebook and Line, we are able to easily publish Shift information, with these platforms being fuelled by an increasing amount of user created content. As students interact with the program, their work, visuals and personal opinions are shared with the wider Shift community.

At the heart of the Shift program is our design competitions tailored to the context they work in, creating an opportunity for students to tackle environmental issues relevant to their local area. Through creative work and design led innovation, design that does not come from the existing market but rather creates a new market (Bucolo et al Wrigley 2013), the Shift program encourages future innovators and entrepreneurs. The competition requires students to push their creative practice and showcase to the wider community a new, sustainable innovation.

Our design competition relevant to Indonesia looks at the popular Aqua disposable cup. After re-designing a more sustainable version of the Aqua cup we ask students to brand it to an Indonesian markets. Features of the re-designed cup include:

1. Designed for Disassembly. The cup is completely made out of a single thermoplastic material, simplifying the manufacturing process and making it easier to recycle.

2. Its unique arrowhead shape, allowing it to tesselate when packaged, saving on space during transportation and hence, reducing air pollution.

3. And finally, being tailored to an Indonesian market. As products are required to be heavily packaged to contrast with the unsanitary environment in Indonesia, the design boasts a concealed drinking apparatus and transparent materiality to reinforce the cleanliness of the water.

By presenting the re-design competition we are able to engage students in a widespread and relevant problem. When engaging with the brief students learn about the different ways to create more sustainable products, something that will be extended on as the carry out the project. The competition creates a platform for us to promote and engage the students, as well as catch their attention through winner incentives. Ultimately we are able to apply their unique understanding of the culture to an environmental issue we have recognised. Once the Shift program has finished at a university whats left behind is an inspired and connected community.

– Sam Watson, Freya Orford-Dunne, Alexandra Shiel, Ellie Williams Roldan, Ashwin James and Melissa Yunita

Reference List

Bucolo, S. & Wrigley, C., 2013, Design led innovation as a means to sustain social innovation enterprises, CreateSpace Independant Publishing Platform, United States of America

Hoornweg, D., Bhada-Tata, P. 2012 “What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management”, Urban Development Series, vol. 15, viewed 11th of July 2015, <>

Post A: Communicating within a state of flux

The art of visual communication is closely associated with its audience, and, as a result, can closely tie to a local context. When commercialised, such as in packaging and advertising design, visual communication is often tied to local industry, however, when illustration and graphic design are employed, they are often tied to a designers personal experiences within their local context. Yet what happens when this context is dynamic and rapidly changing? When a context is in a state of flux, what are the effects on visual communication?

Germany during the early twentieth century effectively demonstrates the close relationship between design and a local context. The Bauhaus movement, derived from the explosion of creative freedom in Germany after the fall of the German monarchy during World War 1, was tailored by Architect Walter Gropius to help rebuild a country in a state of economic and social crisis (Griffith 2000). Embodying radical experimentation with the material world and promoting a unity of the arts, the Bauhaus reflected a new period in history for Germany, most evident in the field of visual communication, where the Bauhaus style involved a balanced layout, clarity, and accuracy, representing Germany’s diligent reputation. However, the rise of Nazi Party in 1933 began to shift the design landscape. With heavy censorship of radical design movements such as cubism, futurism and dadaism, all disciplines of design began to align, albeit reluctantly, with the goals of Nazism (Hollis 2000). For graphic design, this included “Gothic-looking, traditionally German, Fraktur style” (Hollis 2000) typefaces, allowing articles and posters to convey the values of Nazi Germany through not only their content, but also through their design (Hollis 2000).

Renner, P. 1927 Futura Font

Similarly, Indonesia’s visual communication history has been heavily influenced by its rapidly changing social context. With a heavily emphasis on advertisement to a largely European audience during the Dutch colonization, to propaganda posters during the Japanese occupation, Indonesia’s own visual communication style was not fully realized until 1961, despite the first Indonesian art school, the Bandung Institute of Technology, being founded in 1947. Initially founded by the Dutch colonial government, students of ITB were provided with the opportunity to explore international art movements, however, only through the Dutch academic system. Classes were held in both Dutch and Indonesian, and all resources, such as books and professors, were Dutch as well (HGDI 2009). It was not until 1961, where a confrontation between the Dutch and the Indonesians in West Papua forced many Dutch people to migrate out of Indonesia, providing an opportunity for the institute to cultivate the Indonesian art language. Many Indonesian artists such as Srihadi, Ahmad Sadali, Soemardja, Mochtar Apin, and Sudjoko, Suyadi who received art education in the West, became teachers (HGDI 2009). However, as Indonesia, like many Southeast Asian countries, is still developing, design is often viewed as an industry tool rather than a reflection of the values of their unique culture. As Yasser, a lecturer at Bina Nusantara, explains Design is about culturally developing a nation. Hopefully, with the IGDA, design can further develop our culture” (Booth 2010).

Written by Sam Watson

Reference List:

Booth, A. 2010 Graphic Award Night to Design Indonesia, Jakarta Post, viewed 29th of April 2015 <;

Griffith Winton, A. 2000 The Bauhaus, 1919-1933, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, viewed 20th of April 2015, <>

HGDI, 2009. ‘1900s, History of Graphic Design in Indonesia blog, weblog, WordPress, viewed 20th of April 2015

Hollis, R. 2000 The Party Line, The Guardian, London, viewed 20th of April 2015, <>

Renner, P. 1927 Futura Font, The Red List, viewed 30th of April 2015                         <;

Post C: Travellers Insight – Jabodetabek

Boasting a wide range of urban problems and tremendous population growth, the city of Jakarta is not quite the “greatest city possible” that first president Soekarno envisioned it to be (source). Along with the seven other cities that comprise the megacity of Jabodetabek, Jakarta is the largest metropolitan area in Southeast Asia. The rapid expansion of this city, from a population of 150,000 in 1900 to over 28 million in 2010 (Rukmana 2014), is an effective example of the rapid development culture that exists in Southeast Asian countries. However, if we examine these unique contexts, is the nature of rapid development that we so closely associate with Southeast Asia an integral part of their culture, or slowing destroying it? We look at the insights of Harry Gibbs, a backpacker who visited Jakarta for a month last year. 

They’ve got this crazy infrastructure being built all the time, like you can just see the city being build up everywhere, but there’s still no one really using it. It’s like the people haven’t adapted to the new lifestyle that is being pushed upon them by their urban environment

– Harry Gibbs 2015

The development of infrastructure, such as government buildings, shopping plazas and sport facilities, began with Indonesian independence in 1945, and continued under the New Order Regime in 1967 (Rukmana 2014). Indonesia enjoyed steady economic growth during this period, along with a smaller percentage of the population living under the poverty line. By the mid-1990s, Jakarta was heading toward global city status, being the largest concentration of foreign and domestic investment within Indonesia (Firman 1999). However, the economic crisis that hit Indonesia in 1998 resulted in major disruptions of urban development, shifting the city from its global status to a state of crisis. It is this economic crisis that formed Indonesia’s economic dualism that we know today; its rapid development within a short space of time generated a dense metropolitan area, however, the sudden economic crisis resulted in the majority of the population living under the poverty line, unable to make use of it.

Unknown, 2010. 

However, the economic dualism evident in Jakarta is not its only problem. The rapid growth of the city not only causes significant environmental problems, such as flooding, but also creates chronic traffic congestion. The high growth rate of car ownership, 9 to 11 percent annually, with little road development, less than 1 percent annually, causes severe traffic problems on the three highways from the peripheral areas to the centre of the megacity (Rukmana 2014). However, the solution is not quite as simple as building more roads, as this would only serve for the short term and create induced demand. Rather, the development of a Metro would be beneficial, and it is here where the main issues with rapidly developing cities becomes evident. While most metropolitan areas have had years to develop a framework for their city, rapidly developing cities do not have this luxury. Harry explains:

I think the problem is Western countries developed over a very long period of time and we’ve got this kind of inherent infrastructure, like banks and mobile phone networks, and all this stuff that we’ve had time to build , and in a way I think they [Southeast Asian countries] are choking, culturally. They’re pushing all these developments at once, and you can see it because the city is just chaotic. There’s half finished buildings just popping up everywhere.”

– Harry Gibbs 2015

 Written by Sam Watson

Reference List

Firman, T. 1999 ‘From “global city” to “city of crisis”: Jakarta Metropolitan Region under economic turmoil’ Habitat International, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 447-466.

Rukmana, D. 2014 ‘The Megacity of Jakarta: Problems, Challenges and Planning Efforts’, Indonesian Urban Studies Blog, weblog, Blogspot,  viewed 30th of April 2015 <>

Unknown, 2010. Untitled, The Boston Globe, viewed 30th of April 2015                     <;

Post D: The History of Belitong

batu-batu segede gaban

Irawati, S. 2012

There, on that remote island, ancient Malay culture crept in from Malacca, and a secret was hidden in it’s land” (Hirata 2005)

The island of Belitong, while officially part of the Sumatra, alienates itself due to its wealth. Up until the nineteenth century Belitong maintained a shadowy existence despite being in close proximity to major shipping routes through pirate coves littered around its coast and poor charts, making approach hazardous. However, tin deposits discovered on the nearby island of Bangka sparked interest in Belitong, and, in 1851, a party of explorers found deposits of tin (Heidhues 1991).

Industrialization of the island commenced immediately. As the Company had no interest in hiring natives, Chinese labourers from Singapore were imported, and along with them came the religion of Islam. Once a tropical land littered with native villages, the landscape of Belitung had been transformed into a mining town. While the concept of family was not evident (no families resided on the island during Dutch occupation), the importance of community, a value prevalent in modern Indonesia, was found deep within the mines. The mines operated on a numpang system, a small cooperative work team that shared the profits made equally between them (Lindblad 1999), reminiscent of kampungs in Indonesia today. However, technological change and major cutbacks during the twentieth century reduced the importance of the numpang, with non-skilled labour being replaced by machinery (Heidhues 1991).

The war in Asia had now reached in the Indies, and in 1942 Japanese troops had taken over the island. Tin mining was turned over to a Mitsubishi affiliate, yet it was only able to produce little amounts of tin before the destruction of Japanese shipping made further efforts useless. The end of the war was barely made public to the residents of Belitong, fear of unrest drove the commanding officer to keep the news of Indonesian independence secret until October 20, 1945, two months after the war. With only a handful Japanese soldiers left on the island, Belitong was passed back to Dutch control without an Indonesian merdeka. The natives of Belitong had not known freedom until the island was passed to the Indonesian sovereignty in 1949, where the Indonesian government took over the PN Timah company from the colonial Dutch, seizing their assets.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the happy ending for us, the natives of Belitong. Our land was seized again, but in a more civilized manner. We were freed, but not yet free.

Today, the island of Belitong is somewhat of a paradox. As described within the 2005 best seller The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata, the mineral resources within the land create a lot of wealth, yet this is not shared with natives of Belitong. The elite and the poor exist side by side, with only a fence and a warning to separate the two:


Written by Sam Watson

Reference List

Hiedhus, M. 1991 Company Island: A Note on the History of Belitung, Southeast Asia Program Publications at Cornell University, Cornell

Hirata, A. 2005 The Rainbow Troops, Vintage Books, Sydney

Irawati, S. 2012 Batu-Batu Segede Gaban, Flickr, viewed 30th of April 2015             <;

Lindblad, J & Houben, V. 1999 Coolie Labour in Colonial Indonesia, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden

Post B: Design Lead System Change – Down with the Refrigerator!

Improvements in energy efficiency, alterations in cooling mechanics and extra features such as ice machines and crisper drawers summarise the evolution of the most common kitchen appliance over the past century. Since its invention in 1913, the basic concept of the refrigerator, that is, a housing unit to keep food cool, has fundamentally remained unchanged, with the most glaring change in its design being its significant increase in size. Refrigerators have grown on average 1 cubic foot over the past few years in America (Longrigg 2004), creating not only a higher demand for electricity, but also promoting a culture surrounding food waste. Statistics show that on average 40% of food bought is wasted (Gunders 2013), derived from the path of overconsumption born from the consumers need to fill up their increasingly bigger fridge. Evidently, there is a need rethink the way we store and preserve food.

Our over dependence on the refrigerator has not only promoted a food waste culture, as the bigger size makes us inclined to buy more food (Acaroglu 2013), but has also impacted on our knowledge of food care. We instinctively put leftovers and uneaten food in the fridge, yet this is often not the necessary course of action, and as a result, a vicious cycle between food waste and fridge size is created. For example, condiments such as ketchup and mustard are not required to be refrigerated, yet you would find them in the fridges of the majority of Australian households. This unhealthy thinking model is also applied to fruit and vegetable preservation within the home. Rather than buying fresh produce to last the week, many consumers opt to refrigerate their fresh produce for later use, ultimately discarding it as it has remained hidden within the fridge for weeks. While the refrigerator is a symbol of modernity, it is evident that there is a need to acknowledge the connection between the culture surrounding refrigeration and food waste, and to develop innovative and radical solutions through design lead system change. However, a shift so radical is not possible without the use of a disruptive innovation, a technology that gradually replaces the current convention despite being radically different (Hedberg 2006). In the meantime, there is a need to reintroduce knowledge around food preservation back into everyday life. Jihyun Ryou’s project Shaping Traditional Oral Knowledge is an attempt to realign food preservation with nature. By creating preservation methods out of natural resources and processes, Ryou presents alternative methods to food preservation, out of its currently refrigeration context, in order for people to perceive food as a living organism again. One of her products in the collection, Symbiosis of Potato+Apple creates an environment where the ethylene gas emitted by apples, which conventionally speeds up the ripening process of fruits and vegetables, is utilised to prevent potatoes from sprouting, increasing longevity without the use of the refrigerator.

Riyou, J. 2009 Symbiosis of Potato+Apple

Written by Sam Watson

Reference List

Acaroglu, L. 2013, Paper Beats Plastic? How to Rethink Environmental Folklore, video recording, TED, viewed 19th August 2014, <>

Gunders, D. 2013 Food Facts, NRDC, New York, last viewed 23rd of April 2015 <>

Hedberg, J. 2006 “E-learning futures? Speculations for a time yet to come”, Studies in Continuing Education, Vol. 28:2, pg 171-183                                                 available online at:  <;

Longrigg, C. 2004 The Big Chill, The Guardian, London, last viewed 23rd of April 2015 <;

Riyou, J. 2009 Symbiosis of Potato+Apple, last viewed 20th of April 2015 <;