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Designer in residence


Through the Artist in Residence program (AIR), artist and designer Tristan Schultz collaborated with Pimpama State Secondary College students and school community on the Designer in Residence - My School Space project. The school is in the Gold Coast area which is undergoing intense development. New communities are forming and large infrastructure projects are underway including a recently constructed shopping centre.

The AIR project supported college-wide delivery of design thinking’ to prepare students for life after school in an ever-changing global economy. The residency provided a curriculum space to help students identify and respond to local issues with a broad brief of designing sustainable, vibrant and creative communities.

The AIR project aimed to act as a catalyst for change with increased ownership of the local history, environment and future community. The students worked with artist and designer Tristian Schultz, to critically respond to the short and long term social and environmental implications of land development, ownership and urban sprawl.


August 2013 to June 2014


Pimpama State Secondary College, Queensland

Key stats

  • 50 students
  • 10 teachers
  • 3 artists (designers)

Arts Queensland contribution:

$20,000 – Artist in Residence Program


  • The AIR project grew commercial partnerships and increased public value of arts evidenced by the high quality project outcomes recognised by Tipalea Partners, the developer of the new Pimpama Junction Shopping Village. Tipalea offered space in the shopping village for stalls – designed, built and installed by the students – to sell student-grown produce, handmade goods and establish a student-led community exchange and skill-share of school children
  • Working with a designer increased student skills to identify clear links between business models and entrepreneurial activity including understanding budgets and funding.
  • Increased skills were developed across multiple areas through the student-designed and activated whole-school online blog. Skills such as script writing, content development, photography, project management and relationship building with external professionals and partners in the local area.
  • Legacy of the AIR project includes whole school adoption of design-led creative learning as the key vehicle for teaching across all curricular areas. This is a ground-breaking approach that increases the ability of Pimpama College teachers to innovatively support student learning.
  • Educators embedding current digital technologies in creative output, including QR codes, YouTube as a Social & Business platform, integrating Scratch-created games into existing role-playing games and using photo manipulating software to develop visual representations of prototypes.
  • Whole-school teacher professional development and student skill building increased with the engagement of artist and designer Tristan Schultz who supported the project and learning development process, encouraging informed risktaking and problem-defining exploration across all curriculum areas.
  • Increased further learning and career pathways for students were cemented through the school’s relationship as a partner of the Griffith Connect Program. As a result, students at the school have access to the Griffith University Early Start to Tertiary Studies (GUESTS) program. Motivated students now have an opportunity to study a university course while at high school and receive guaranteed entry to Griffith University. The project challenged students to devise ways to fund the project. Photo by Pimpama State Secondary College.

Learnings and reflections

College Principal, John Thornbury had the following reflections on the AIR project:

“The Designer in Residence project at Pimpama State Secondary College has provided a creative platform through which students have been given the confidence to take their skills out into the community and ultimately into the workforce. The nature of the Designer in Residence project has also meant that the community will see real benefits through the realisation of the project in our local area.”

The AIR project has strengthened and grown relationships with community stakeholders, local industry and tertiary partners. The AIR residency has positioned the school as a key community-defining structure central to the future and sustainability of the local area.

Contact for further information:

Adam Jefford, Head of Creative Industries
Phone: (07) 5540 9333

A printable version (PDF) (415.41 KB)  of the case study is available.

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