Women dyeing fabric by hand in Cao Bang. Courtesy VAWAA

This call is for the research residency of New For Old, a programme aiming at providing new opportunities for female artisans and makers in the craft sector within Southeast Asia. This programme is an initiative by the British Council in Vietnam, Burma, and Thailand. In Vietnam, the research residency will be carried out in a northern province.


Anthropology (one researcher).
Social Business Innovation/Social Entrepreneurship (one researcher).

Research location

Various on-site locations in Lao Cai and Cao Bang province. 


Two weeks from 6 to 20 December 2016.

Programme description

In order to improve the livelihoods of women in the target countries, ’New for Old’ aims to provide refreshed opportunities for the craft sector and particularly support women and artisans working in this field. 

Programme objectives

  1. Improve the relationship between local craft communities and designers through training programmes in order to benefit traditional handicraft artisans, particularly women.
  2. Strengthen the authenticity of local products through the creative integration of local cultural identities. 
  3. Promote the environmental and cultural heritage features of traditional crafts through social enterprise models and fair trade. 

Residency Context

Within the programme objectives, the residency’s purpose is to collect evidence and information about local cultural contexts that related to artisan communities in northern Vietnam.

To that end, the two local researchers will be placed in multidisciplinary teams of four and be guided through various locations in urban and rural areas in Lao Cai and Cao Bang province by one or two local experts. 

During the course of two weeks, they will document and brainstorm on the potential of local cultural assets and craftsmanship skills in collaboration with two designers who are currently studying at the Royal College of Art, a leading art and design institution based in London. 

An itinerary for each country will be elaborated in collaboration with the British Council’s local project partner and shared during an orientation session at the Chiang Mai Design Week on 5 December 2016. 

The researchers will also be invited to attend the Craft Reveals conference organised by the British Council during the Chiang Mai Design Week 2016.

Target outcome for Research Residency

Improved understanding and documentation of local cultural contexts and identification of unique assets that will lead to renewed opportunities for women practicing textile weaving in Southeast Asia.

Researcher profiles

The two researchers are required to fulfil some of the following skills and/or experience to be considered. 

1. Anthropologist (Researcher #1)

  • Expertise on craft-related cultures and communities in rural areas, including minority ethnic groups that are present in northern Vietnam.
  • Prior experience with collecting information on local communities, their natural environments and livelihoods.
  • Knowledge of traditional textiles in northern Vietnam.
  • Knowledge of recent social transformations affecting rural communities in northern Vietnam.
  • Proven record of written research papers and contributions to academic journals.
  • Ability to communicate in English.
  • Ability to work within a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team.

2. Social Entrepreneurship Expert (Researcher #2)

  • Expertise on social business models, particularly those that can finds relevance in rural areas or craft-related communities.
  • Awareness of social innovation models currently used in various countries of the region and beyond.
  • Understanding of ethical frameworks and fair trade, especially in the field of textiles.
  • Understanding of environmental responsibility and green value-chains.
  • Experience with developing training or capacity-building programmes for social impact.
  • Ability to communicate in English.
  • Ability to work within a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team.

Expected Deliverables

  • Descriptions of places and people in a diary form (e.g travel journal) about each of the places visited.
  • Interviews of local people that may include makers, weavers, community members, etc. to collect information about their social structures, lifestyle, needs and interests.
  • Photographs of the local contexts including people, their cultures and surrounding environments.
  • List of opportunities and challenges facing artisans, especially women and girls
  • Suggestions of innovative approaches for crafts especially in relationship to cultural preservation and environmental sustainability, as well as training and capacity building for women.
  • Other contents that is relevant for the development of sustainable crafts and local identities.
  • Observations on learning and education within the informal crafts sector (e.g. current learning tools and educational models used to train local artisans.)
  • List of business models and design approaches used by local businesses and communities.
  • Assessment on the level of awareness and application of sustainable practices (e.g. production techniques, use of materials, etc…) and ethical awareness within local communities.

The successful applicant will receive

  • A lump sum research fee of 20,000,000 VND, not inclusive of tax
  • Flights to/from Chiang Mai to attend the Chiang Mai Design Week and research orientation
  • Flights to/from London (UK) and accommodation during public events in May 2017.
  • Per diem for the duration of the assignment and related events.
  • Accommodation for each location and throughout the duration of the assignment.
  • Local transportation. 
  • Financial support toward materials costs if necessary.


28 October: Launch call 

7 November: Application deadline

14 November: Announcement of results

3-5 December: Chiang Mai Design Week and orientation session

6 December: Start of the research residency

20 December: Last day of the residency

10-31 March 2017: Showcase at the Old Quarter Cultural Exchange Centre, 50 Dao Duy Tu, Hanoi 

3-7 May 2017: Exhibition at the Aram Gallery during the London Craft Week (UK)

How to apply

To apply, please submit your application to nga.phan@britishcouncil.org.vn 

Your application should consist of:

A cover letter highlighting: 

  • Why you are interested in this research residency
  • Links between your current practice and the residency
  • How this opportunity would enrich and expand your current practice 


  • Web links to your previous work (if any)
  • Online papers or articles about you/your work (if any)
  • Other relevant supporting documents (if any)

Short listed candidates will be contacted for interview. 

Contact information

Pham Minh Hong
Arts Manager

Sali Sasaki
Regional Programme Manager