SCA researcher brings art to Vietnamese factories

Factories as Studios exhibition

Factories as Studios Vietnam exhibition artwork. Image: Courtesy ELLE Decoration Vietnam.

SCA researcher Dr Jane Gavan is leading a research project to raise rates of innovation and open up opportunities for emerging local artists and designers in Vietnamese factories.

Factories as Studios Vietnam, which is supported by the University of Sydney’s Centre for South East Asian Studies, is a collaboration with a number of Ho Chi Minh City institutions, including the University of Architecture HCMC, the University of Culture and the Dong Nai College of Decorative Art. 

Dr Gavan, who led the project in South Vietnam throughout 2016, has been working with local designers, industrial manufacturers and the Dong Nai Industrial Zone Authority in leading the push for sustainability and innovation in manufacturing.

The first phase of the project focused on minimal cost to the manufacturer, with factory and clean waste materials donated for an emerging artists and designers workshop at University of Architecture HCMC.

Industry partners were invited to view the final works at the Factories as Studios Vietnam exhibition which was opened by His Excellency Craig Chittick, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam in December last year.

Many of the 27 final works were ceiling or table lights, but also included a wide range of other sculpture and object designs in the furniture, jewellery and fashion garment category.

“Besides getting some great ideas on how to use their materials in different ways, the added bonus for the manufacturing industry is that workers begin to be more interested at work, more motivated and more creative, which has a direct flow on to increased innovation in these communities,” said Dr Gavan.

“From a designer’s perspective, the Factories as Studios program allows for different skills and situations for practice, allowing them to build and expand their creative opportunities.”

The second phase of Factories as Studios Vietnam will develop placements for designers and artists inside the factory communities, working alongside them to develop their own creations.