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New for Old Research Residency 2016

New for Old Research Residency 2016

30 November 2016
by Debbie Leane

In December 2016, three craft research residencies will take place in parallel in Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam as part of the New for Old programme. Two UK residents and two local residents will collaborate on research in each country, their findings will be showcased in London next year.  

New for Old is the British Council’s Southeast Asia regional craft programme, initiated in 2013 the programme aims to promote, support and develop the craft and design sector, helping to make it more sustainable and viable for designers, craft entrepreneurs and artisan communities. Activity to date has included business and design training workshops focusing on new products and market trends, and UK showcasing in 2016 with exhibitions at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Barony Centre in West Kilbride and Clerkenwell Design Week in London.

A focus of the 2016-17 programme is identifying opportunities for the Southeast Asian craft sector, in particular support of female artisans working in this field. The field research residencies in Southeast Asia provide an opportunity for UK students and local researchers to collaborate on exploring, mapping and documenting local crafts and cultural heritage, identifying unique assets of local artisans, and investigating social enterprises and training programmes benefiting women.

Residents will exchange knowledge and collaboratively analyse local craft contexts, focusing on ideas for creating sustainable business models and networks, new ways for craft practitioners to tell their background stories, and identifying potential collaborators.

UK residents have been selected through an open call process for students across all programmes at the Royal College of Art, local residents come from craft and social entrepreneurship backgrounds and have been selected through an open call process in collaboration with local partners in each location. These partners have also collaborated with the British Council to identify the residency programmes and provide local expertise.

All twelve residents will meet in Chiang Mai to attend Craft Reveals conference (3-4 December 2016) which convenes UK and international craft practitioners and experts to discuss new paths towards sustainability for the craft industry. 

The outcomes of the residency will form an exhibition in London in May-June 2017 which will be curated by Martina Margetts, Senior Tutor in Critical & Historical Studies, Royal College of Art. The exhibition will be accompanied by public events to coincide with London Craft Week. 

Thailand residency:

UK residents
Magali Berthon – PhD History of Design, Royal College of Art
Pathitta Nirunpornputta – PhD Textiles, Royal College of Art

Local residents
Peewara Jitsukummongkol – social enterprise expert
Methaporn Singhanan – textile researcher 

Local partner
Knowledge and Technology Centre for Northern Thai Textile, Fai Gaem Mai, Chiang Mai University

Myanmar residency:

UK residents
Sam Carvosso – MA Sculpture, Royal College of Art
Sandra Sordini – MA Visual Communication, Royal College of Art

Local residents
Tin Maung Htoo – social enterprise expert
Ja Htoi Pan – anthropologist

Local partner
Department of Small Scale Industries (SSID), Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation


Vietnam residency:

UK residents
Grace Crannis – MA Information Experience Design, Royal College of Art
Tenaya Steed – MA Visual Communication, Royal College of Art      

Local residents
Thao Vu – social entrepreneur
Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen – researcher

Local partner
Vietnam Rural Industries Development and Research Institute (VIRI), Hanoi