Creative Coast at TAFE Queensland

Image source: Photographer Megan Gill

If you want to immerse yourself in a sea of inspired creatives, look no further than TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus. Carlie Wacker goes backstage as the next wave of ARTreprenuers emerge from their creative cocoons and enter the wild. 

CRE8 is the grand finale for creative industries students at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus and it is a spectacular showcase of the extraordinary talent of our region. The visual arts, photography and fashion courses are producing the next generation of art entrepreneurs on the Sunshine Coast and meeting and chatting with some of the recent graduates and lecturers had me yearning to get back into the classroom. 

The annual CRE8 event offers graduates the chance to exhibit and sell their work plus get in front of potential stockists or industry mentors to further their career in the creative industries. 

As I wandered through the photography exhibition, I see names of working photographers that have upskilled by doing a course at TAFE Queensland alongside newcomers like Karen Joy Gibb – her work is mysterious and dramatic and I had to find out about her TAFE Queensland experience. 

“My background is theatre, but I was keen to explore other artistic endeavours,” Karen shares. 

“When I started this course in photography, I didn’t even know how to use a camera. The lecturers truly nurture you through the course. I didn’t know what area I wanted to get into but through experimenting with the camera I discovered my style.” 

Karen’s work is indeed a true reflection of her theatrical background. 

Shikani Sargent had so many SOLD stickers on her pieces at CRE8. Her exhibition titled I Can Make A Home Out Of Anything was clearly a crowd favourite and a nod to where we live in the world. 

“I have lived in 84 different houses in my life which inspires my work,” she shared. “Now I live in the hinterland and there is a calmness to the work which I draw from the mountains.” 

Shikani says the TAFE Queensland course gave her the time to fully dedicate to her creative practice and her lecturers were so helpful. 

TAFE Queensland Fashion teacher Amanda Knights is an icon in the fashion education scene. I’ve watched her change the life of students over many years with her unwavering support and knowledge. 

She said the 2022 graduates were a much younger group than previous years with a real shift towards recycling, upcycling, sustainability and print design. 

Amanda says a TAFE Queensland fashion course is a sensational way to learn essential industry skills. 

“Students learn how to sew, design, the whole process from start to finish,” she said. “They are educated on getting a job, running a business and starting a label.”

There are some incredible fashion success stories from TAFE Queensland including Native Swimwear who were the first Indigenous swimwear brand to show at New York Fashion Week and are now stocked at David Jones (they are also opening their own boutique in Mooloolaba soon). 

Start-up business Juniper Moon Studio is making big fashion waves and former graduate Isobel Badin can be found at iconic Sunshine Coast retailer Alterior Motif. 

Whatever your artistic aspirations are, you will be supported whole heartedly by creative experts and icons at TAFE Queensland. 

So what are you waiting for? Go get wildly creative Sunny Coast! 


  • Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising – 2 years
  • Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising – 18 months
  • Certificate II in Applied Fashion Design and Technology
  • Diploma of Photography and Digital Imaging
  • Certificate III in Visual Arts
  • Diploma of Visual Arts
About the Author /

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Carlie Wacker has worked in the media entertainment industry for over 20 years. From television to stage and radio she has been lucky enough to work her way around the whole country. Over the last 10 years she has styled and choreographed innovative fashion parades and talent shows and brings her love for fashion and entertainment as our Fashion Editor. She is also an MC, voice-over artist and radio announcer.

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