Travel grant


The award was created in recognition of the confidence and prospects gained by two-time Australian Oscar-winner John Truscott, who as a young designer was given the same opportunity in the 1950s to develop his art and design work dreams.

The John Truscott Design Foundation awarded Marco Gjergja their inaugural travel grant. In 2006 Marco relocated to Berlin and later returned to Melbourne to establish a practice in his chosen design field. More recently, Marco joined the Board of the John Truscott Design Foundation and is actively involved with the Truscott Design Circle. In 2008 Carole Francis was awarded the travel grant and travelled to Istanbul.

Reflections from Marco Gjergja

Living and working in another part of the world is an exciting and challenging experience. For young designers seeking such an adventure, Europe provides a fascinating amalgam of the traditional and the contemporary and is a melting pot of cultures.

I was intent to pursue a longer term continental European experience and to immerse myself in a foreign culture and language. The learning of a foreign language was one of my greatest challenges and greatest joys. The improvement of my language skills and my sense of cultural immersion were inextricable.

The work I found in Germany was significantly different to the projects that I worked on while in Australia. Berlin is renowned for its thriving contemporary art culture and this enabled me to work on a number of publishing-related projects. Social life had its rewards too of course. Observing another culture and gradually becoming immersed in that culture was a curious experience. The cultural tow swept me away and many of the cultural and social peculiarities that I initially perceived slowly became customary, while many of the normalities of home (Australia) became somewhat peculiar. This tow works slowly and the defamiliarisation it affects is often difficult to immediately observe.

I met many interesting people in Europe who enlightened me in ways both personal and professional and I recommend an overseas work experience to young designers seeking a foreign cultural immersion.

Reflections from Carole Francis

Istanbul. Truly a city of contrasts. The old and the new. The traditional and the contemporary. Istanbul served up an enriching platter of history, art, textiles and exciting new design. My experience while living there to undertake a design residency proved invaluable to my exhibition practice. I not only furthered my learning in traditional textile techniques such as weaving, felting, embellishing and natural dyeing but honed my skills and understanding of these processes under the watchful eye of mentor Gonul Paksoy.

Gonul Paksoy has many guises. She is a renowned textile designer, a jeweller, a chef, a chemist and an author! What an amazing thing to have met her, learnt from her and have had the privilege of exhibiting a new body of work in her studio. My time abroad was a cultural and a creative exchange. It was also the challenge I was seeking to influence my work for the better.

To travel, live and work abroad is a very rewarding thing particularly in a community different to my own in culture, belief, tastes, sights and sounds. Not only is it a chance to be culturally immersed in a city but anyone who values the arts understands the significance it plays in enriching our lives.