February 13, 2023

Indigenous Design Labs is off to a strong start in 2023, with the program launching in January to tackle some of its largest projects to date. The program, which has been running for three years with the mentors, has established itself as a major opportunity builder for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives in Cairns, Australia.


Participants, aged between 14-22 years old, receive valuable skills and knowledge in the creative industries from one of Australia’s leading Indigenous designers, Leigh Harris of ingeous studios, and the IndigeDesignLabs team of design mentors Tarquin SingletonSheree Jacobs and program co-facilitator Jamaylya Ballangarry-Kearins using a variety of tools and technology, including Adobe Creative Suite and ProCreate on iPads Pros, participants have the opportunity to learn and apply their skills to real-world projects.

This year’s program has hit the ground running, with a small group of young creatives working on exciting projects with both major brands and local clients, as well as helping out with smaller community projects.

IndigeDesignLabs is designed to provide participants with real-world experience and a taste of the creative future, where digital design and technical skills will play an increasingly important role in creating sustainable opportunities.

Indigenous Design. Labs

“What’s most important to me is to transfer my skills and knowledge to these young people and show them that opportunities exist for them in the creative and digital industries, even in regional and remote areas.”

says Leigh Harris, founder of IndigeDesignLabs.

Projects are donated to IndigeDesignLabs by the well-established Indigenous Creative Agency, ingeous studios, with the support of founding partner NorthSite Contemporary Arts. Initially funded for three years by the John T Reid Foundation which ended in 2022, IndigeDesignLabs has become a thriving hub of creativity, operating every Wednesday and Saturday, led by a dedicated team of individuals.

“IndigeDesignLabs goes way beyond simply learn how to use Adobe creative suite and using Apple ipads, we’re showing these young creatives the correct and appropriate way to build Indigenous design into their everyday.”

says Jamaylya Ballangarry-Kearins, Aboriginal Creative Coordinator

Over the years the project has mophed into a creative impact hub that has benefits for the community and young people involved. Janice Ghee a young Torres Strait Islander creative has been with IndigeDesignLabs for three years and continues to share her unique perspective on all creatives and this year will move into her own creative pathway. Proving the success of IndigeDesignLabs and what it’s bringing to young talented creative minds.

Indigenous Design Labs is making a meaningful impact on the lives of young Indigenous creatives in Cairns, providing them with the skills and experience necessary to succeed in the digital design industry. The program is a shining example of the power of collaboration and support for underrepresented communities.

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