2015 Design Trust Grant Fellows

13. 10. 2015

Victoria and Albert Museum and Elaine Ng Yan Ling amongst awarded grantees for pioneering design projects

 Design Trust, an established non-profit organisation serving as a grant-making platform, is pleased to announce its latest grant fellows for 2015, including the Feature Project Grant and the Cultural Project Grant, which fund projects advocating design, debate and creative sharing within the Greater Pearl River Delta Region (GPRD*).

Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) Shekou Gallery - The V&A has been selected as a winner of the Design Trust Feature Project Grant of 2015. With a focus on product and digital design, the non-profit institution will receive a grant of HK$250,000 for its project titled Unidentified Acts of Design. The research project forms a ‘test ground’ developing themes and content of the V&A Gallery in Shekou (due to open in early 2017), exploring unconventional forms of design that materialise outside of the conventional notion of the design studio. From the platforms that design and distribute DIY technology, to the making of new products that take advantage of the manufacturing ecosystem of the city, to the development of one of the world’s largest social media platforms, WeChat, it is hoped that the research will inspire young graduates to be creative in forging unique new paths to utilise their skills and talents. The project will also include original interviews by key stakeholders in this expanded field, and the outcome will be a bilingual (Chinese and English) exhibition to be shown at Urbanism and Architecture Bi-City Biennale (UABB) starting 10 December this year, consisting of 6 to 8 meaningful forms of design and supplemented by an oral history documentation that highlights innovation in the context of industrial Shenzhen.

Elaine Ng Yan Ling,
British Chinese “materiologist” specialising in textile design, is an awarded candidate for the Design Trust Feature Project Grant of 2015. The sponsorship of HK$150,000, will support UN/FOLD: A Stitch in Time, a project which seeks to promote economic and social wellbeing of the Jiao Xi Liang village (Guizhou Province, China) by creating a sustainable model of fabric production that leverages traditional weaving practices and heritage. Upon extensive field research on the skills, needs and constraints of women textile-makers in the area, Elaine will refine the low-volume handmade process to allow for better efficiency. She will then guide and support a 5-month-trial for individual families in Guizhou to produce unique fabrics that would be further developed by her own production studio – The Fabrick Lab, eventually reaching design houses and engaging urban consumers. The project will be supplemented by a 4-episode documentary about the local craft, the designer’s journey and interaction with local communities, as well as a launch exhibition showcasing the finished prototypes.

“The ultimate goal of UN/FOLD: A Stitch in Time is to enable individual villagers to take pride in their own skills, increasing their personal value and self-worth whilst strengthening their creative spirits. I aim to bridge the missing gap between their handmade aesthetic with the growing demands of commercial viability, to respect and preserve intangible cultural heritages whilst raising incomes for families in need.” states Elaine Ng.

Successful recipients of the Design Trust Cultural Project Grant of 2015 are as follows:

Initiated by International New Town InstituteINTI, a non-profit, scientific research institute based in the Netherlands, “Da Lang Fever 2.0” is an exhibition curated by Linda Vlassenrood of INTI for the 2015 UABB. The project is granted HK$50,000 as the sequel to “Da Lang Fever,” organized at the previous biennale, which showcased the empowering nature of bottom-up activities for migrant workers in the Da Lang neighborhood of Shenzhen. INTI has invited “Play the City”, who designs physical games as a method for collective decision-making and conflict resolution, to develop “Play Da Lang” where key stakeholders ranging from the local government to public citizens are provided a playful platform to interactively negotiate and reach decisions together, creating new patterns for urban design based on collaborative participation. Sessions are recorded and carefully analyzed to translate insights into innovative strategies. The exhibition will be supplemented with documentary photography and research-based information graphics to raise public awareness.

Handshake 302,
an emerging public art project bringing together young artists and migrant residents of Shenzhen's largest urbanized village, Baishizhou, has been awarded HK$30,000 for its project n=distortion. Focused on the social ecology of the PRD mega- cities, this project explores the evolution of the region from a riparian society of traditional cities, market towns, and fishing villages into an amalgam of eleven mega- cities and their underdeveloped hinterlands, presenting the PRD as a mass ecological experiment. The project will be launched in December 2015 at the UABB, supplemented with two public forums to evoke the tensions between the region's traditional sampan ecology and the contemporary ecology of containerization.

The “Cultural Association +853” has been organising, producing and promoting an annual event since 2007, named  'THIS IS MY CITY' (TIMC) that started by being a small multidisciplinary event focused on the creative expression. In 2014, after several years of existence, assumed itself as a festival known as 'THIS IS MY CITY – The Creative Festival'. The Festival is a multidisciplinary and multicultural event. Its programme comprises activities such as Educational Actions, Exhibitions, and Creative Residencies, making of this Festival, probably the only event in Macau that showcases and focus on the creative industries as a whole. The HK$50,000 grant from Design Trust will be funding the This Is My City Conference - Creative Economies: Thinking, Developing, Making and Investing.

 As a proponent of stimulating innovation, design talent, and creativity, Design Trust is proud to sponsor the newest recipients of the project grants. There is utmost confidence that all the above projects will successfully result in a greater understanding and knowledge of the GPRD.

Current call for application
Applications for the Cultural Project Grant is open year-round, and will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Submission deadlines are on the 20th of January, April, July and October.  Late submissions will be considered in the next cycle. We recommend you submit your applications at least 6 months before the commencement of your project. For more details, please visit: https://designtrust.hk/cultural-projects/application-process/