Visitors to Brisbane’s Northshore could be learning about the area’s Indigenous and maritime histories via a towering sound and art experience, thanks to a talented team of QUT creative industries students.

The students were tasked by a real-world client, Economic Development Queensland (EDQ), to come up with a creative concept that would help ‘activate’ Northshore’s new riverside Maritime Green, honour its history, and appeal to locals and visitors alike.

Fifty student teams from the university’s Bachelor of Creative Industries worked on the brief as part of the degree’s Studio Enterprise 2 core unit, with EDQ hearing pitches from a short-list of five and choosing one design with the intent to install in the riverfront park.

The winning team was awarded a $5000 cash prize from EDQ this semester in exchange for the rights to the ‘Resonating Timbers’ sound domes concept.

Lecturer Dr Sophie McIntyre with QUT students Sian Verdouw, Euan Rainnie, Rhiann Steenstrup, Lydia Blunt and Tara Steenstrup, and EDQ’s Leisl Harris (Executive Director, Urban Development).

Northshore is a 304-hectare urban renewal area along the Brisbane River that is currently home to ferry terminals, the Eat Street dining experience, and public parkland, and will be the site of Brisbane’s Athletes Village for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

EDQ is the Queensland Government agency overseeing the development at Northshore – an area that was once full of rainforest and known to the Turrbal and Jagera people as Yerrol or Yurrol.

This new city precinct is becoming renowned for hosting for immersive, creative experiences.

The students’ winning Resonating Timbers concept features large pillars made from reclaimed wharf timber, decorated with customisable images (such as historic photos, animal images and Indigenous art), and topped with a ‘sound dome’ that will play recordings of native animal sounds, Indigenous yarns, and maritime tales from this stretch of the river.

The Resonating Timbers team members are:

  • Sian Verdouw (Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Creative Industries)
  • Euan Rainnie (Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Creative Industries)
  • Rhiann Steenstrup (Bachelor of Creative Industries)
  • Lydia Blunt (Bachelor of Creative Industries/Bachelor of Laws)
  • Tara Steenstrup (Bachelor of Creative Industries)
The students’ winning pitch clearly outlined how their concept would work.

QUT senior lecturer Dr Sophie McIntyre is an art scholar and curator, and former gallery and museum director, who runs the Creative Enterprise Studio 2 unit.

“In this unit, students learn about problem solving, creative experimentation, prototyping, pitching and project delivery and evaluation – which are skills that are relevant to students studying a variety of majors within the degree,” she said.

“It’s great for students to work with real-world clients like EDQ, and to learn how to creatively respond to a real site – and to a brief which the client and I change each time.

“At the end of each unit, we offer shortlisted students the opportunity to be mentored and to pitch to the client and industry professionals and, if their concept is chosen it could then be realised on site one day.

“More than 150 students participated in the Northshore project last semester and this year will be the fourth year that we have been working with EDQ.”

Euan Rainnie from the Resonating Timbers team is studying a double degree in business and creative industries, with majors in marketing and entertainment.

He said Resonating Timbers was inspired by two separate ideas – that were brought together thanks to the magic of teamwork.

“Lydia had the idea for the timbers and I had the idea for the soundscape and directional sound domes – I’d thought a lot about what this area must have sounded like before colonisation … the water flowing, the birds, the trees.

“Rhiann and Tara are both very good with sound design and do music, and Sian has a good eye for visual design.  So our group worked very well together as a combination to develop the concept.

“EDQ really liked our idea – I think our pitch was quite different to the other teams because we were talking about something that had a very tangible end point, could be there forever, and is scalable and can be updated.”

Euan said the Northshore project had inspired him to think more about a career in project development within the creative industries.

“Having this experience was really motivating for the future … I’ve now got some really amazing real-world experience and skills that I can take to wherever I go after uni,” he said.

Part of the students’ pitch to EDQ.

Sian, who is studying marketing and fashion communication, has a passion for graphic design and was responsible for creating the conceptual visuals for Resonating Timbers.

“Our team really did come from all different backgrounds and bring different strengths – and I think that’s great because in our future workplaces we will work with people who are from different disciplines and backgrounds,” she said.

Sian lived in the United States from age 12 to 20 before returning to Australia and enrolling in the Bachelor of Creative Industries at QUT.

“I’ve always loved the creative arts – I was never into sports as a young child!” she said.

“I grew up in America and I researched classes in Brisbane before we moved back … I loved that QUT’s creative industries course was so broad. The industry is very connection based and I love meeting new people – that’s why I love group work like the Northshore project.

“I’m currently looking at study abroad options for my final year next year, as I see the benefits of experiencing other cultures.

“After graduating I would love to one day work in the marketing team of a major fashion line.”

QUT Media contacts:
– Mechelle McMahon, 
[email protected]
– After hours, 0407 585 901 or [email protected]