The “big realisation” of The Sun Lab Ft Nguyễn Huyền Chau team with Project Sống

In the talk on the morning of 21.11, the women of the creative pair The Sun Lab – Nguyễn Huyền Châu had an amazing discussion on the conceptualisation and implementation of project Sống (Living). A prominent point in that conversation is the “big realisations” as reality was far from what they had expected.

A case in point was when they had just started out, the team thought that they would bring about a solution to help artisans in the traditional craft villages. However, as they embark on field trips, they realised that it was themselves and their projects that were the beneficiaries. That brought about new concerns on how this project can benefit artisans and craft villages, instead of simply “taking” like some others. Or that in reality, artisans don’t need a set of educational tools to pass on their craft, as they have been learning to weave and master the art from a very young age. That practising set turns out to be more useful for young people in major cities, who have limited chances of learning and connecting with traditional handicrafts. That is the reason why the pair targets the youth in this project.

This was not the first time the pair had their work presented in an exhibition, so all were mentally prepared that not many would be interested. The reality was a stark contrast: in both Hanoi and Saigon, numerous visitors were enjoying the project’s designated area to practise weaving. There were those that not only quickly grasp the basic weaving techniques, but even got creative and made a basket or a rabbit… which went beyond the team’s imagination. “It was not until the fourth or fifth they that we realised we were “featured” on TikTok, so the crowd was much bigger and it was also much more hectic for us” – said Sa. There were so many visitors that when one asked Sa about the reason why the team started this project, she was exhausted: “I couldn’t remember anymore, I’m so exhausted. Please wait I’ll remember it!”.

From the beginning when they present the idea to the consultant committee, the pair agreed that this is a longer project than the three months in the Creativity Challenge Playground. They will face many more tasks such as how the kit will enter the market, or how the archive should be built so that the project will benefit craft villages in return… And furthermore, there are issues of the sustainable preservation and development of traditional crafts in general and weaving in particular, or to challenge the competition trend of cheap labour, or that the next generations would want to continue their family crafts… But first and foremost, they believed that a good project is a starting point, thereby more people who share the same interest as them will join in and develop together.

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