The exhibition Crafting Futures was officially launched at Hanoi Old Quarter Cultural Exchange Centre. On view from the 12 to 30 June 2018, the show features the works of 20 young designers and entrepreneurs who participated in British Council’s Craft and Design Challenge 2017.
At the opening reception the three winning projects were also announced:
- First prize: Vi Thi Thu Trang – the Indie Hand project
- Second prize: Nguyen Hoang Huy – Viet Collection
- Third prize: Nguyen Song Thanh Tram – Hoa Moc
With cash prizes of 60, 50 and 40 million VND, respectively, the organiser hopes that these will serve as nurturing funds so that the winners can realise and implement their respective initiatives – to which goal the British Council guarantees to provide support.
Realised as part of the British Council’s Crafting Futures global initiative, the works exhibited combine age-old knowledge with contemporary designs and span a wide range of disciplines and products. Together, they serve as suggestions towards innovative and sustainable ways of preserving and developing Vietnam’s craft sector.
Unlike other challenges for which candidates submit entries to jury, participants entered the Craft and Design Challenge with a series of development workshops and practical residency programmes. They have been provided with practical knowledge and skills in craft, design and business planning, so as to be better prepared for their ideas, products and business plan. The workshop covers a wide range of themes including Creating New Designs by the School of Business - University of Leicester, Design Process by Work Room Four, Design Practice and Entrepreneurship by Kilomet109 and Creative Enterprise Programme by NESTA. After that, each participant has undertaken residency programmes in different locations across Vietnam. Facilitated by Vietnam Rural Industries Research and Development Institute (VIRI), the residency enables them to work with the artisans in order to learn and teach in return. ‘At Ta Phin hemp growing and textile cooperative, we had the opportunity to learn how to grow hemp and make fabric with the Hmong ethnic group. The notable feature here is embroidery, batik and dyeing. There are 50 steps to create a finished product and we experienced all of these steps during our stay there.’ shared by Do Thi Cuc, one of our participants.
At the exhibition, audiences will be able to observe the results of creative processes that our young designers have been developing. The projects displayed, featuring contemporary design and high quality craftmanship, also demonstrate an intimate connection with participants’ interest in supporting craft products and communities.
Vietnam has an annual 1.6 billion USD handicraft export value of low price products. Craft products by ethnic minority groups in most northern Vietnam provinces rarely make it to the export market through official channels but their works are largely sold as cheap souvenirs to tourists.
'The primary issue that Crafting Futures in East Asia seeks to address is maintaining the well-being and sustainable livelihood of and developing opportunities for women and girls. The Craft and Design Challenge 2017 in Vietnam is contributing to the discussion of these issues and improves the connection between designers and craft entrepreneurs with ethnic minority women artisans.' Delphine Pawlik, Programme Director, Culture and Development, British Council, South and East Asia.
The British Council has been working with Vietnam since 1993. In 2018, we are marking this 25th anniversary with a series of events celebrating cultural relations and exchange between the UK and Vietnam.