Australia-Korea Foundation

Recent AKF activities

Please find below a selection of Australia-Korea Foundation (AKF) recent grant and scholarship recipients and their Korea-related activities:

Grant recipients


지하 Underground is a performance supported by the Australian producing agency Motherboard Productions. Transported to the back alleys of Seoul,지하 Underground audiences find themselves in an underground Korean speakeasy or bar in the company of a ragtag crew of musicians and theatrical storytellers. Guests can drink the night away as 사장님 Sajungnim – the venue's eccentric proprietor – tells a tale of love transcending culture, language and gender.

지하 Underground was written by Jeremy Neideck and Nathan Stoneham. It is a collaboration between respected Korean artists Park Younghee, Tak Hoyoung and Lee Chunnam and performers from Brisbane and Sydney.

"Seoul is a very special place for me and for our team, and 지하 Underground is a collage of our experiences, travelling back and forth between Korea and Australia – falling in love and making mistakes along the way," says Neideck.

After sell-out, critically acclaimed seasons in 2011 (Metro Arts) and 2012 (Brisbane Festival), both supported by funding through the Australia Korea Foundation, 지하 Underground recently returned to the Brisbane Powerhouse for the World Theatre Festival and the Australian Performing Arts Market in February 2014. The work has been nominated for several Matilda awards and won the Green Room Groundling award for Best New Musical (2012).

"Creative partnerships with Asia are becoming increasingly relevant in Australia as we move towards a more inclusive and diverse society, and it's great to be at the forefront of that conversation," says Neideck.

man playing accordian while singing with a woman
Jeremy Neideck and Younghee Park. Photo: FenLan Chuang

Polyglot returns to Seoul

The word 'polyglot' means to know or speak many languages. It's no wonder then that the Melbourne-based theatre company Polyglot Theatre delights in staging its interactive productions for children in different parts of the world. Korea is no exception and with assistance from the Australia Korea Foundation, Polyglot will return to South Korea in 2014, ready to enthrall hundreds of children with two productions Paper Planet and Tangle.

In Polyglot productions, children are given ordinary things such as elastic, cardboard or paper and make them into something extraordinary on a gigantic scale. With Paper Planet, Polyglot will use a public space to build a forest of trees made from cardboard. It will then invite children and their families to bring the forest alive by making creatures and objects out of cardboard and paper.

Tangle invites children to use elastic or streamers to make a giant maze which they can design in any way they choose.

Paper Planet will be a highlight in the city of Daejeon during National Children's Day while Tangle will feature at one of Korea's most popular outdoor festivals – the Ansan Street Arts Festival in Ansan near Seoul.

"This Festival attracts up to 30,000 people per day who will have the opportunity to play in the Tangle giant elastic maze," says Polyglot's Executive Producer Tamara Harrison. "Tangle is one of Polyglot's most successful export touring works having performed in Singapore, New York and Seoul. Children and their adults construct a giant elastic maze with giant colored balls of elastic. Over two days the maze will become more and more dense as audiences participate in this communal activity, that creates both a fun interactive play space and a beautiful piece of public artwork.

"Hundreds of kids and their adults can experience these installations over a day. Paper Planet promotes a collective experience – both the Australian and Korean artists work in real time with the Korean audiences to make this Paper Planet into a dense, multilayered, enchanting 'world'. Tangle requires a similar collective effort to construct the play space and exist in it side by side."

Polyglot's tour in May will further build on cultural exchanges established during previous visits to the country and children will see Australian and Korean artists working side by side. "This will continue Polyglot's relationships with some Korean artists but also introduce us to new colleagues." says Tamara. "This further development with the artistic networks between Australia and Korea supports the possibilities of future collaborations between the two companies."

People looking at and interacting with the Tanle exhibition
Tangle, Photo by Wendy Kimpton
Child participating in paper planet exhibition
Paper Planet, Photo by Martin-Reddy

Asia's largest sporting event: the AFC Asian Cup

In January 2015, Australia will host Asia's largest sporting event, the AFC Asian Cup. With an expected 500 million people across Asia watching the tournament on television, the event provides a great opportunity to build relationships between Australia and Korea. The Local Organising Committee is hosting a range of activities over the next 12 months with the support of the Australia-Korea Foundation to raise awareness of Korea and Korean football in Australia and vice-versa.

On Wednesday February 26, a range of Korean-themed activities were held at the Asian Champions League match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Korean club Ulsan Hyundai. Outside Parramatta Stadium fans were entertained by Korean music and dancers, while performances by X-Factor winner and Korea-born singer Dami Im as well as Korean-Australian K-pop star Teddy Kim gave the crowd inside the stadium a taste of Korean culture. A business function for business leaders operating between Australia and Korea also took place.

Further activities will take place in March, commencing with Korean cultural performances at the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne during the Asian Champions League match between Melbourne Victory and Korean club Jeonbuk Hyundai on March 12.

Lady on stage singing in front of crowd
Dami Im singing the national anthems
Football players applaud fans in stadium as they wave flags
Fans at Parramatta Stadium
Man smiling, standing next to Asian Cup trophy
Asian Cup and James Casey, AKF Board Member

Pixel Mountain—6 mins performance video

from Stalker Theatre and Marrugeku

Pixel Mountain is a new physical theatre work created in collaboration with Korean artists for presentation at the Gwacheon Festival and Hi Seoul in Korea in September-October 2013. It is a 30-minute outdoor aerial and interactive projection work performed on one of Gwacheon's iconic buildings and on the Seoul Museum of Art. Aerialists dance on the side of walls while real-time interactive projections respond to the dancers' every move.

The work brings together Stalker Theatre's trademark physical theatre style with cutting edge new technology to create a fully immersive and interactive performance. It uses interactive 3D image and audio technologies to dynamically revision public spaces in real time through synthesising live performance, immersive interactive image projection and audio scapes.

Pixel Mountain was commissioned by the Gwacheon Festival and the Hi Seoul Festival, and is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Korea Foundation and the Australia International Cultural Council, both part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

Watch Pixel Mountain performance video




LANDSEASKY: Revisiting spatiality in video art

MAAP is proud to announce the first configuration of it's latest international touring exhibition 'LANDSEASKY: revisiting spatiality in video' presented in Seoul from the 21 February – 23 March 2014.

This group of challenging video installations includes works by fifteen international artists and scheduled to be presented in Korea, China and Australia. The first exhibition of LANDSEASKY occurs across an array of venues in Seoul, South Korea in partnership with Artsonje Center, Lee Hwaik Gallery, ONE AND J Gallery, Opsis Art, Gallery IHN, and Gallery Skape.

LANDSEASKY poster on external wall of building

Australia-Korea Internship Program (AKIP) 2013

The Australia-Korea Internship Program (AKIP) is a competitive business internship program for eight high-achieving Australian senior undergraduate university students from across Australia. AKIP recruits students who are interested in pursuing Korea-related business careers while enhancing mutual understanding and knowledge of Australia-Korea relations. The seven week full-time internship program offers students an invaluable opportunity to develop their professional and cross-cultural skills through on the job experience within businesses and multi-national organizations in the Republic of Korea (ROK). The aim of AKIP is to complement Australian undergraduate studies with a Korea-related major, and provide students with important insights into international business practices and develop cross-cultural communication skills while promoting people-to-people exchange links between Australia and Korea.

In 2013, a total of 8 interns participated in the program from universities across Australia (Queensland University of Technology, University of New South Wales, Deakin University, University of Sydney, Monash University and University of Western Australia) and travelled to Korea over January and February 2013. Recent placements have been with POSCO, POSRI, Hyundai Heavy Industry, Hyundai Corporation and Daewoo International. Also, through homestay and weekly Korean language and culture workshops, the students were able to gain invaluable experience on both professional and personal levels.

AKIP is a biannual program with the next placements scheduled for January-February 2015.

Further details of AKIP 2015 and application procedures will be announced on the website around September 2014.

AKIP interns standing in a row in front of a large cylindrical fish tank
AKIP 2013 Interns in Seoul
AKIP interns sitting cross legged in costume wiht teapots in front of them
AKIP 2013 Interns enjoying a Korean cultural workshop

AKF/University of Sydney Media Interns in Korea 2012-13

The Australia-Korea Foundation and the University of Sydney sent four media interns to Korea during 2012-13. All four interns were students in journalism at the University of Sydney. After completing orientation at the Australian Embassy in Seoul, they then engaged in professional work as journalists for four weeks.

Two of the interns were assigned to the Korea Herald and worked on copy-editing whilst undertaking independent research for what would later become published work. They learnt valuable insights into research techniques, the importance of house style and, most importantly, what makes for an achievable story pitch. In the final two weeks, they were able to get several stories published.

The other two interns completed their internship at TBS Radio. During this time, they were given their own weekly segment where they would discuss their experiences as an Australian in Seoul. Each of these broadcasts involved original research, scripting and the actual producing of segment. During the time at TBS, they produced several segments that were largely focused on cultural topics.

Australian High Commissioner in Malaysia, Mr Miles Kupa meeting with Australian teachers and principals
Interns Hamish Mcdonald and Lucy Watson at the Australian Embassy in Seoul with DHOM Brendan Berne
Australian High Commissioner in Malaysia, Mr Miles Kupa meeting with Australian teachers and principals
Maryann Wright showing off The Korea Herald where she completed her internship
Australian High Commissioner in Malaysia, Mr Miles Kupa meeting with Australian teachers and principals
Lucy Watson during the broadcast of her segment on TBS Radio

World Vision Korea Children's Choir Australia Tour 2012

The tour comprised of 27 students from years 7, 8 & 9 and 6 staff members from Korea. The tour started in Melbourne, continued on to Canberra and was completed in Sydney. The tour was not only about allowing Australians to experience the world famous performances of the World Vision Korea Children's Choir, but also to interact with the local community and local choirs.

The principal aim was to strengthen the music culture exchange between Australia and Korea, and utilizing this common appreciation to enhance the friendship between the two countries. It provided an opportunity for the local Australian community, as well as the expatriate Korean community, to experience performances of the World Vision Korea Children's Choir, which gave insight to the folk and ethnic traditions of Korea.

AKIP interns standing in a row in front of a large cylindrical fish tank
World Vision Korea Children's Choir and local Canberra Children's Choir performing in Canberra
AKIP interns sitting cross legged in costume wiht teapots in front of them

World Vision Korea Children’s Choir performing in Melbourne

Korea-Australia Green Growth International Workshop: Impacts of Climate Change on Urban Living 2012

An Australian delegation of 14 senior and mid-career researchers visited Korea to participate in the Green Growth workshop: "Impacts of Climate Change on Urban Living", related technical visits to Korean research institutes and a round table meeting organised by the Australian Embassy in Korea on Australia Korea S&T collaboration, with involvement from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF); The Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). The participants were selected for their expertise in the workshop topic fields and their interest in strengthening the S&T relationship between Australia and Korea.

The activity allowed for Australian and Korean researchers working in parallel S&T areas to meet and discuss their personal research interest and that of their institution and also the broader science and policy situations in both countries. The activity was to act as a platform to develop strategic relationships, allow for Australian and Korean delegates to achieve a greater understanding by comparing approaches and technologies and to explore new collaborative opportunities between the two countries.

group shot of Australian and Korean speakers
Australian and Korean speakers at the Impacts of Climate Change on Urban Living workshop
group wearing hard hats in a building

Workshop delegates on Korean site visit

Scholarship Recipients

James Mitchenson: Korea University Graduate School of Law, Masters of Law Program (DALS)

James Mitchenson's travelled to Korea to attend Korea University Graduate School of Law to complete a Masters of Law with a specialty in International Arbitration.

On 21 February 2012 James graduated from Korea University with a Masters of Law. Whilst studying he also worked as an intern at Bae, Kim & Lee in the International Practice Group. James intends to return to Seoul to work in the near future and will continue to expand on his advanced knowledge of the Korean language while working in Australia.

"Due to my great experience I have decided to pursue a career in Seoul as a lawyer working in International Arbitration. I believe I achieved the objectives and aims of the program and will continue to work towards strengthening the ties between Australia and Korea" - James Mitchenson
group shot of Australian and Korean speakers
James Mitchenson at his graduation from Korea University

Athalia Iwansjah: A Year in Korea, Australian National University and Yonsei University 2012-13

Athalia Iwansjah, a student from the Australian National University (ANU), spent a year (2012-2013) as an exchange student in Seoul at Yonsei University. Her aim in completing her ‘Year in Korea’ was to improve her Korean language skills and gain more awareness of the culture.

The year of study at Yonsei University is a part of the ‘Year in Asia’ program conducted by ANU, consisting of 6 months of intensive Korean Language course and 6 months of mainstream courses taught in Korean.

"By undertaking the Year in Korea, with the help of the AKF Scholarship, I was able to increase my awareness of both the Korean language and my knowledge of Korean society. With this in hand, I am now able to understand Korean culture better, and hope to use this knowledge to promote Australia's relationship with Korea. The AKF Scholarship helped me to complete my goals in Korea, without having the stress of a financial burden. My time as an exchange student has helped me gain in-country experience, of which I hope will assist in a future career in a Korea-related field." - Athalia Irwansjah
group shot of Australian and Korean speakers
Athalia Irwansjah during her time at Yonsei University in Seoul