Ntaria Design includes products such as stationery and a clothing range, drawing attention to the incredible creative talents of students at the remote school.
The classroom has been revamped into a multicultural design studio in the Western Desert as the students become real-life designers.
From collecting objects out bush, to utilising inspiring stories from their own country and culture, they’ve adapted the world’s oldest heritage with the newest technologies. Working on iPads, students have created digital drawings to be printed on a range of merchandise.
For 17 year-old Senior student, Stanley Kenny the project is important not just to gain new skills but also to showcase Aboriginal pride and deadly designs.
“We are learning, getting new skills. We are designing and making our own things. It’s important for people to know our culture. To respect our culture, to respect us.”
“Students are able to reinforce their contemporary cultural identities through using new technologies."
The design program, run by Swinburne University’s Nicola St John, aims to introduce youth to design tools and technologies and highlight how Indigenous design and innovation can benefit local communities.
“Digital design is more than just learning to draw on a device,” says Ms St John.
“It’s about exploring the student’s capabilities to create a truly new and innovative visual style that resonates with them and how they see themselves within their community and the world.”
She believes design gives young people a voice, especially for Indigenous youth in remote communities.
“Students are able to reinforce their contemporary cultural identities through using new technologies. It’s a way to strengthen culture; through telling stories in new ways, learning new skills, developing digital literacy and developing innovation within remote communities.”
Ntaria has enabled the students to discover the potential of design to create future employment and enterprise opportunities within the community. They will be running a pop-up shop in the Hermannsburg community to show off their amazing designs. All the profits made will go to supporting student projects and the development of their enterprise.
Principal of Ntaria School Cath Greene says the project has instilled students with a sense of pride, particularly when showing their work to community and the local tourism industry.
“This is such an exciting program and our students are so engaged. I’ve loved seeing everything they have achieved,” says Ms Greene.
“There have just been so many positive impacts. Students are not only developing their design skills, but are using design to further their communication, literacy and numeracy skills.”