Curtin Malaysia students join counterparts at Curtin’s Perth, Dubai and Mauritius campuses for ‘Creative Jam’

Miri – 4 September – Students of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) recently joined their counterparts at Curtin University’s main campus in Perth and other global campuses in Dubai and Mauritius in embracing First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country through a week-long ‘Creative Jam’ run in conjunction with NAIDOC Week 2021.

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each year to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life, and this year, Curtin University helped raise awareness of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities amongst students at its global campuses through the Creative Jam.

Working from a foundation of integrity and respect, students from the global campuses joined Curtin Perth students for a week of inspiration, connection and design problem-solving around the NAIDOC ’21 theme of ‘Heal Country!’. Coming from a wide range of disciplines across the University and working in teams, they collaborated to design digital interactive experiences that help to build understanding between Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those of other cultural backgrounds.

Setting the tempo for the week, Curtin Indigenous Cultural Immersion Coordinator Jayde Conway kicked off Day 1 of the Creative Jam with the moving ‘Wogga Warniny’ (Blanket Exercise) workshop. In this hands-on workshop, global participants from Curtin Malaysia, Curtin Dubai and Curtin Mauritius connected via WebEx with Conway and Perth participants, growing their awareness of the contact history between First Nations people of Western Australia and colonisers.

Face-to-face and online participants had an opportunity to recognise and discuss their own cultural assumptions, values and beliefs in a safe and respectful environment. For many, this was an emotional and eye-opening, truth telling experience.

On Day 2, the students received feedback on their design ideas from Dean of Learning & Teaching Associate Professor Robyn Heckenberg and other staff, who provided expert guidance on cultural nuance and indigenous knowledge, steering teams towards more engaging and culturally sensitive design solutions.

On Day 3, the students had an opportunity to engage with Creative Jam industry partners Adobe, LinkedIn Learning and Unity Technologies via tailored, synchronously delivered workshops. They learned to construct bespoke learning paths to further their knowledge of indigenous culture and professional industry practice. They also received expert industry guidance on crafting the prototypes for their digital experiences.

On Day 4, teams from the Perth, Malaysia, Dubai and Mauritius campuses delivered pitch presentations of their final solutions to a diverse judging panel consisting of industry and discipline experts. The judging panel included Luke Cathcart from Adobe, Amy Watson from LinkedIn Learning, Marie Clarke and Karen Miller from MakerSpace, Brett Cullen from LITEC and Jonathan Pillai from SoDBE.

Curtin Malaysia petroleum engineering student Sharon Wong commented, “It was a great experience for all the participants. For me, it was the industry workshop sessions on Adobe, Unity and LinkedIn Learning. It was a great opportunity for me to discover and unlock more knowledge on those platforms.”

Other members of the Curtin Malaysia team who called themselves ‘Three Ladies’ were Nurul Ameira Husna Husini and Andrea Saen Er Wong.

Nurul Amiera, who is also a petroleum engineering student, said the event was a fun experience and a great opportunity to make new friends from the other campuses. It was also highly informative and broadened the participants’ global perspectives.

Meanwhile, electrical and computer engineering student Andrea Wong remarked that she got to know more a lot more about the Aboriginal and and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia through the event. She said learning about them made her more conscious of Malaysia’s own indigenous communities.

The Curtin Malaysia team won an ‘Outstanding Campus’ prize for their project titled ‘Djirip-djirip’. Walking away with the top three prizes for best overall design experience, best creative idea and people’s choice were teams Strawberry Jam, Your Friendly Neighbourhood Horticulturalists and Gerald from Curtin Perth, respectively.

Offshore staff facilitators from Curtin Malaysia comprising senior lecturer Dr. Bridgid Chin Lai Fui, lecturers Dr. Mahmood Bathaee and Dr. Ziad Bennour, Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Science Professor Tuong Thuy Vu and Dean of Learning and Teaching Professor Beena Giridharan were also acknowledged for their contributions by the organisers.

The organisers said the quality of entries in this year’s Creative Jam were outstanding and it was tough for the judges to arrive at the winning list. The Creative Jam ’21 prizes were presented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor International Professor Seth Kunin and Head of the School of Design and the Built Environment Professor Nathaniel Belcher.

A video of the event can be viewed at https://youtu.be/XzdRUG-hpBA.

The ‘Three Ladies’ team representing Curtin Malaysia.

Participants in Perth engaging with global participants online.

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