Byron Bay

2 Jun 2020

news article Destination Australia Image 2 copy




2 Jun 2020

The Government’s Destination Australia Program is supporting regional Australia through the provision of scholarship funding for selected tertiary education providers, like SAE Creative Media Institute,  who operate in regional areas. 

The first round of recipients at SAE’s Byron Bay campus commenced their creative media studies in February 2020. 

SAE’s 2021 full range of scholarship applications open in July. Head to the scholarships page to find out more. 

Justine - Melbourne - Diploma of Music Production

Justine grew up in Coffs Harbour before moving to Melbourne to start her own clothing label, Saturn Return Vintage, in the heart of Collingwood. 

She started DJing in August 2019, and after being selected in the Your Shot competition - exclusive to novice DJs, the opportunities kept rolling in. Before long, Justine was supporting one of her favourite artists, Grouch



Now a professional performer herself, Justine goes by the name of TWitch and specialises in PsyTrance. Wanting to take her producing and DJing to the next level she looked into the Diploma of Music Production at SAE. 

“This has been such an incredible journey for me. I thought I would just try to apply for the scholarship, I honestly didn’t think I would get it, but it's the right time for me now - it's meant to be.”

Justine says it only took two weeks for her to move her life from Melbourne to Byron to commence her studies, but when she arrived the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming. 

Living on campus, Justine has been throwing herself into her studies and the local music scene, saying that she has met amazing DJs and producers at the live music venues in town. 

In the classroom Justine really enjoys the way her lecturer, James Lyall, facilitates learning in such a concise and easy to understand way. 

I’ve never had experience in Ableton, but in six weeks I’m already working efficiently in Ableton, making my own beats and continually improving, each beat I make is better than the last.”

“My favourite thing about living on campus is that I have access to the facilities during the evening; I take full advantage of the 6-9pm quiet time.”

Making the most of her studies, Justine says that her goal is to play as many gigs and connect with as many producers as she can, as well as producing her own three track EP.

Fernanda - Perth/ Brazil - Bachelor of Design 

Originally from Brazil, Fernanda was living and working in Perth for two years before deciding to continue her design education in Byron Bay. 

She has previously studied product design and has worked as an artist and designer. While living in Perth, Fernanda worked in graphic design for six months and while she had innate creativity, she was missing some professional knowledge of the software. 

Looking to upskill her expertise in the area of design, she decided to look at SAE and before long came across information for the Destination Australia scholarship. 

It was the perfect opportunity for Fernanda to develop herself in graphic design, and within a week of her successful application she was packing up her life in Perth and moving to Byron Bay. 

Fernanda says that she has made great connections with everyone on campus.

“We go out together, go to the beach together, we even drove up to Brisbane for a gig - we really enjoy life in this region. Living on campus is better than expected, I’ve connected with other creative people. I’m loving it here!”

During her time at SAE, Fernanda wants to get more industry experience and build a professional portfolio. She has already started freelancing with an events company based in Byron.  

“Being the recipient of the scholarship is so special to me, I have worked hard for so many years of my life and practiced my craft. This is the result of everything I’ve invested, I never gave up on pursuing my dreams.” 

Thomas - Byron Bay/ Belgium - Diploma of Music Production 

Thomas had been working in Belgium before deciding to explore Australia on a working holiday at the end of 2016. 

He discovered his love of music and passion for DJing while in Australia, and after visiting Byron Bay for Splendour in the Grass, made the move up from Melbourne. 

“I love the people in Byron, the interesting and creative people are what makes me want to stay. There is also a sense of freedom, and you can’t go past the lifestyle and the beautiful weather.”

Thomas currently DJs at Byron’s nightspots under the name Napoleon and had been thinking of studying at SAE to improve his music production skills for a while before applying for the Destination Australia scholarship. 

“It was meant to be, a lot of good things have come from the scholarship and it really feels like a family at SAE.”

Having already had two years experience DJing to audiences, Thomas says the Diploma of Music Production is improving his skills and has opened his mind to the possibilities in music. 

“Want to continue to build my DJ career, it will be the perfect job for me, I can take it anywhere. I want to travel the world making music.”

Grant Loxton - Sydney - Bachelor of Film  

Born and raised in Sydney, Grant has often visited the Byron Bay region. While volunteering at the Byron Bay Film Festival two years ago he kept hearing about SAE. 

The visual artist knew he wanted to be involved in film and gravitated to the medium naturally. 

‘I was exploring film courses and when I was on the SAE website, information about the Destination Australia scholarships popped up, it was serendipitous.” 

Grant says that being the beneficiary of the scholarship was confirmation that he was doing the right thing.

“The scholarship means peace of mind, I am able to pursue my passion without the burden of worrying about finance. I have the freedom to focus completely on my studies, wellbeing and volunteer work.”

“My family is really proud, they now understand why I want to pursue a creative career.”

Since arriving in Byron, Grant has been living on campus and has joined the student council, making the most of the opportunity. He likes the intimate nature of SAE Byron, and enjoys the vibe of people jamming around campus. 

Connecting with fellow scholarship recipients, Grant believes the multidisciplinary nature of his work will flourish because of the artistic collaborations he can foster in a close-knit environment.  

“I also like that SAE teaches audio, because I want to have a strong musical presence in my work, I’m excited to collaborate with others in this respect.”

‘Living in Byron is a massive win, I feel like I have settled in completely, I love the people and the environment and I really connect with the lifestyle here.”


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