Post A: Being a Creative Chameleon

An unfamiliar location is an undoubtedly challenging work environment, and requires designers to be flexible, open-minded and logical. Instead of the designer being in complete control and “starting from scratch”, the context should shape the design. Utilising social, economic, environmental and political influences ensure that it will seamlessly blend with the context. According to Keinonen, recognizing the point of view of an insider and ‘enabling people to create meaningful solutions for themselves’ [2009] is a key factor in successful design. So perhaps it is less about giving people what they want or think they need, and more about paving the path for them to discover it by engaging with their own environment or community.

Designers often form restrictive thought patterns of imagining themselves as end users, which overlooks ‘demographic, educational and socio-cultural differences’ [Oygur and Nancy 2010]. In fact, there are a variety of different methods to engage with user groups outside of their experience which can significantly benefit the design process. In my time in Banjarmasin, I found it crucial to properly orientate myself with the city, taking initiative to go on a many exploratory ventures as possible and attempt to communicate with the locals. This environment was starkly different to what I was used to, so I made it my goal to research and fully understand how locals went about their everyday life. This was out of my comfort zone, so I found myself needing to constantly reevaluate and acquire more information.

Interdiscinplinary thinking is fundamental for successful design in different contexts, as it allows for broader scope and more thorough investigation. The ‘inherent complexity of nature and society’ is one of the four powerful drivers of this kind of thinking, as proposed by Bammer [2013]. A desire to explore unfamiliar cultural phenomena is an essential tool, as was discovered during the derives and map-making exercises. Having three different disciplines within our group gave us an advantage, as we were able to use business thinking and the logic of product design to combine with aesthetic knowledge. We needed to apply our skills and lateral thinking to create effective solutions for a new client in a vastly different city.

(Australian Curriculum, 2017)

It is no surprise that ‘situational factors can exert a strong effect on human behavior’ [Morgeson, Dierdorff and Hmurovic 2010], which can shape, enable, or constrain the form of a work. In this way, it is imperative for a designer to preserve their values and ethics, even when in challenging circumstances. In Banjarmasin, we helped create an event that allowed the community to interact and play a small part in a bigger societal change. This was a step towards becoming a creative chameleon with globally applicable values and cultural intellect.

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The final product (Montesin, 2018)


Morgeson, F., Dierdorff, E. and Hmurovic, J. 2010, Work designin situ: Understanding the role of occupational and organizational context, Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol 31, no 2-3, pp.351-360,.

Oygur, I. and Blossom, N. 2010, Design and the User Experience: The Turkish Context, Design Issues, vol 26, no 4, pp.72-84,.

Keinonen, T. 2009, Immediate and Remote Design of Complex Environments, Design Issues, vol 25, no 2, pp.62-74,.

Bammer, G. 2013, Disciplining Interdisciplinarity, ANU Press, pp. 3-13.

Boat, P. 2018, Designing With the User’s Context in Mind, Shopify. viewed 1 February 2018, <;.

Bowles, C. 2013, Designing with context, Cennydd Bowles. viewed 1 February 2018, <;.

Australian Curriculum 2017, Concepts of interdisciplinary thinking, viewed 1 February 2018, <;.

Post C – Feminism & Islam

My interview with Dewi Rara enlightened me to an understanding of Islam, as a source of faith and a daily routine. Though we discussed a multitude of topics, from petrol prices to smoking and drug trade in Banjarmasin, what was most inspiring was the pride and vigour with which this woman regarded her religion.

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My introduction to Islam begins rationally: with talk of their god, Allah. Everything relates back to him and to ensure there is no devil. Small tasks such as entering a room with the right foot, and exiting with the left, form the details of a larger image of ultimate dedication and submission. We discuss dress codes and the use of the hijab as a woman’s symbol of respect and decency. I ask if it matters that I wore a t-shirt with my arms showing, and she says “it doesn’t matter, we still respect other religions so you don’t have to cover up.” Dewi Rara continues, that women should cover themselves for their husbands’ privacy and that only he should know what is underneath, comically adding, “it’s like, SURPRISE!”

The struggle for equality, justice and freedom against patriarchal Islamic structures is undeniable. Dewirara explained that when girls menstruate they can’t pray because they are “unclean.” So how could a woman assert her independence and advocate feminism when even an involuntary physical occurrence is a facilitator of dishonour? Western feminism defines women as not being subject to tradition, culture or social coercion. [Afrianty 2017] The liberation of public protests and social media campaigns such as #freethenipple is worlds away from acts that are acceptable within the umbrella of Islam. However, Malaysian speaker Zainah Anwar CLAIMS that “Islam gives women the right to define what Islam is.” Concurrently, Ghayda confessed that she did not believe that “all problems can be solved within an Islamic framework because not all problems are strictly Islamic” [2017], which promotes a re-evaluation of teachings and oppressive behaviours.

I chose, perhaps boldly, to discuss Islam as it was the most startling cultural difference I encountered whilst in Banjarmasin. With Muslims covering 88% of Indonesia’s population, it was hard for me to accustom to such a large volume of people sharing the same, seemingly restrictive devotion. Feminism is a fickle issue in consideration of existing practices and principles, but perhaps it is not about challenging one’s beliefs, but more so about empowering oneself with a dutiful and more notably, enjoyable approach.

Symons, E. (2017). ‘Dangerous’ women: Why do Muslim feminists turn a blind eye to Islamist misogyny?. [online] ABC News. Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2018].

Afrianty, D. (2017). Indonesian Muslim women engage with feminism. [online] The Conversation. Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2018].

Baulch, E. and Pramiyanti, A. (2017). Hijabers of Instagram: the Muslim women challenging stereotypes. [online] The Conversation. Available at: [Accessed 25 Jan. 2018].

George, K. (1998). Designs on Indonesia’s Muslim Communities. The Journal of Asian Studies, 57(3), p.693.

Mir-Hosseini (2006). Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality: Between Islamic Law and Feminism. Critical Inquiry, 32(4), p.629.

Vandenbosch, A. (1952). Nationalism and Religion in Indonesia. Far Eastern Survey, 21(18), pp.181-185.

Majid, A. (1998). The Politics of Feminism in Islam. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 23(2), pp.321-361.


Post D: Punk Music


Indonesian punk culture fights back against oppressive political structures and provides an outlet for the misfits of society. It’s a unifying, rebellious assemblage that takes inspiration from the early 70s and is often characterized by mohawks, leather and piercings. According to Jeremy Wallach, “the fundamental stylistic features of punk music and fashion are thought to be unchanged since the dawn of the movement.” [2008] This culture is enduring and spreads like wildfire across a multitude of continents and civilisations.

The Sex Pistols, 1977

Many will argue that the Sex Pistols and the Ramones were the true fathers of punk rock. While the Ramones lay down the foundation of the sound with loose lyrics and hard-hitting percussion, the Pistols attacked deeper political themes. These bands inspired millions of wannabe rockstars and hopeful musicians, who copied their style of dress, values and unruly behavior. But it’s not just about breaking the rules and causing chaos; many bands focus on poverty, environmental destruction, the immorality of the government and fighting constrictive political regimes. NTRL’s song “Gak Asik!” combines head-banging guitar riffs and percussion with lyrics that highlight the destructive nature of the government system, stating “corruption is not cool.” Although it may seem rough from an outsider’s perspective, the music is frank and progressive.

Karli states that “punk is like a gateway drug. A portal to countercultural ideas and radical politics.” There are 2 subsets of punk in Indonesia – the posers who dress up in punk gear and set out to break laws and cause havoc – the “street kids” – and the moral, ideological community more concerned with political freedom and activism. Authorities tend to class these communities together, assuming the worst of anyone clad in leather and piercings. In 2011, the Indonesian province of Aceh pronounced punk to be “the new social disease,” ostracizing the community. They illegally arrested and detained 64 punks at a concert before they were forced to attend a moral re-education camp.

Aceh punks at the re-education camp with heads recently shaved, 2011

But punk music isn’t just about causing fights, it’s about defending one’s beliefs and finding a place where there is none in mainstream society. Maria Pro sums up the archetypal punk as an “anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, autonomous and independent son of a bitch.” This culture embraces the outsider; becomes a “place of refuge from families who don’t understand the aspirations of their youth, and from a society preoccupied with other issues.” [Pickles 2000].

John Harris suggests that people like punk because it is an expression of freedom, and is always far from the primary culture. [2012] It’s a way for lost souls to define themselves and find a place in a community amongst a more complex, globalised, post-authoritarian reality.



Radio National. (2014). Indonesian punk: PUNK’S NOT DEAD!. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Dec. 2017].

Wallach, J. (2008). Living the Punk Lifestyle in Jakarta. Ethnomusicology, [online] 52(1). Available at: [Accessed 14 Dec. 2017].

Ryan Bergeron, C. (2015). Punk Shocks the World – CNN. [online] CNN. Available at: [Accessed 17 Dec. 2017].

Pro, M. (2017). Punk Rock in Indonesia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Dec. 2017].

Harris, J. (2012). Punk rock … alive and kicking in a repressive state near you. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 17 Dec. 2017].

Handayani, E. (2016). Muslim punks in mohawks attacked: Punks in Indonesia are persecuted but still manage to maintain a culture which stands up for difference. Index on Censorship, 45(4), pp.39-43.

The Globe and Mail Inc. (2011). Indonesian punk youth cleansed by police. [image] Available at:×0/filters:quality(80)/ [Accessed 8 Dec. 2017].

Reuters (2011). Indonesia: ‘Dirty’ Punks Forced into ‘Moral Rehab’ by Sharia Police. [image] Available at: [Accessed 8 Dec. 2017].

Young, R. (1977). The Sex Pistols. [image] Available at: [Accessed 8 Dec. 2017].

Post B – CDC Anti-Smoking Campaign

Anti-smoking campaigns need to target a specific audience, and use hard-hitting emotional tactics to successfully inspire a change in behaviour. It has long been thought that most campaigns are aimed at the family or friends of the smoker, who have more leverage than the often ignorant and stubborn smokers themselves.

In Williams’ and Allan’s study, it is proposed that marginalised communities are more likely to resist smoking campaigns. The behaviours associated with smoking ‘signify risk taking, independence, and an anti-authoritarian attitude.’ [Pampel 2006]. this temperament is among the most difficult to approach with marketing tactics, as it is all about resistance, and is often formed via cultural influences. Smoking is encouraged in the ‘inter-exchange and sharing of tobacco; sharing between family and friends may act as reinforcement.’ [Williams & Allan 2014, pg 4].

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2012 campaign featuring anti-smoking advocate Terrie Hall depicts the harsh, unglamorous, confronting reality of the potential, and more importantly, preventable, effects of smoking. It is done through a harrowingly personal recount of her experience of tobacco-related disease in a series of public service announcements titled “Terrie’s tips”. She speaks with a horrifying rasp using an artificial voicebox, and takes us through her daily routine, allowing us to compare our own. The repeated message “she was 53” throughout the campaign emphasises Terrie’s lost opportunities and the tragedy of her premature death. The print advertisement (shown below) highlights the tragedy of losing something so paramount as speaking; torn away by a preventable action.


“My fear now is that I won’t be around to see my grandchildren graduate or get married.”[9]

To target the “thoroughly integrated, embedded behaviour” [Booth-Butterfield, 2003] that is smoking, the approach must be evocative and realistic, as fear-based appeals can lead to rejection of the message and trigger a defensive response [Devlin 2007]. Terrie’s campaign drove 1.6 million smokers to try to quit, and helped more than 100,000 to succeed, inspiring millions of others to encourage friends and family members to quit. The initiative was eminent in that it was the first ever federally-funded national anti-smoking campaign. Healthcare costs related to smoking reached $93 million in 2013, and it remains the number one cause of preventable death in America.

From the CDC campaign, it is evident that an emotionally distressing personal narrative, combined with a sustained coverage, is effective in encouraging smokers to quit. Sandhu (2009) described strategic communication in this context as multidisciplinary “intentional” communication that requires a purposeful actor. The choice of Terrie, who dedicated most of her life in various anti-smoking pursuits, was an apt choice and a brave human to bare her experiences on the line to reach out to others.

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