22.01.2019 - UNESCO Office in Hanoi

Manufacturers Embrace Progress on Creative Solutions to Key Challenges

@Vo Thanh Tam

On the 21st January, at Saigon Exhibition Center, UNESCO and University of Sydney and Ho Chi Minh city Museum have launched an exhibition called ‘Manufacturing Creativity’, an initiative shows how creativity can potentially boost business productivity. Creatives and manufacturers collaborate for sustainability, innovation and worker well-being.

‘Manufacturing Creativity’ Design and Art Exhibition is opened by Ms Julianne Cowley, the new Australian Consulate General to Ho Chi Minh City. This showcase feature design and artworks that use clean waste, factory materials and processes in new and unexpected ways. The exhibition is the result of a 2018 UNESCO and University of Sydney led collaboration between Vietnamese creative practitioners and manufacturing organisations. The project seeks to offer expanded opportunities for designers and artists, improve social well-being for workers who engage and enjoy these connections, and offer new ways of reducing waste. Alongside the exhibition is a children’s art workshop using clean factory waste will run on the 26th January as well as a Seminar exploring factory collaborations will be held on the evening of the 25th January.

“People said it was impossible to get creatives into the factories but they underestimated how open companies are these days to innovation support. Before UNESCO took on supporting our research project in Vietnam only a few artists had collaborated in factories. We showed them how to get in and get on well together. Manufacturing creativity aims to tell the story of how artists and designers have more opportunities to practice, increase potential innovation for firms and reduce waste in factories. This is a triple bottom line result for them.” Dr Jane Gavan project leader from the University of Sydney.

These creative business partnerships have been forged between a wide range of manufacturers around Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and Bien Hoa. Companies involved include the Lap Phuong Shoe Company, Hami Plastics, Noi Pallet Furniture, Fulin Plastic, Naturecraft Ceramic and Rattan, Gao Nam Binh Rice, and Triac Composites. The Phong Phu the top textile company in Vietnam is also involved in the project offering leadership and guidance on Vietnamese Manufacturing.The artists and designers are in the project come from a wide range of backgrounds from Hanoi and HCMc, they are sculptors Lê Giang, Richard Streitmatter-Tran, Lai Dieu Ha, industrial designers Ngô Thị Thu, Khiết Giang, Nguyễn Huy, a fashion designer Lương Thị Minh Hoa, and a photographer Đào Hà.

“I love getting in there with the workers, after a while they started coming up with new ideas and suggestions. I could see it was very stimulating and enjoyable for them having me around. Using waste that was usually thrown away was also very satisfying for both of us.” Richard Strietmatter-Tran, Artist working with Triac Composites in HCMc.

Dr Gavan, an expert on creative innovation in manufacturing focuses on removing barriers between creatives and business people. In 2016 she led the pilot program, Factories as Studios, a project that used factory waste from six partner manufacturers to make new design works in partnership with the University of Architecture HCMc. Now in partnership with UNESCO, for the first time, the activity is more focused inside the factories.

The project is gathering interest across Vietnam, especially in small and medium sized enterprise firms who often don’t have the resources to run innovation or R&D programs. The January exhibition will show the public, and stakeholders like business groups and artists and designers how easy it is to connect for low cost/no cost locally based, creative community collaborations.Creative works include furniture, ceramic and rattan wares, clothing, sculpture and installation and photographs.

“I had no idea how much we had in common, artists love solving problems just like we do. We both enjoy materials and processes. Le Giang offered her skills like experimentation, fresh perspectives, creativity experience and communication skills.” Mr Dang, Hami Plastic Hanoi.

UNESCO Vietnam leads programs on the preservation and development of broader engagement in Culture and Creativity in Vietnam. In recent years, in addition to heritage project, the organization has also implemented many creative and artistic activities in addressing sustainable development issues such as environmental and waste, gender equality or urban development.

“This project contributes positively to our program of activities in terms of creativity and cultural industry. The project raises important questions about new possibilities in integrating cultural heritage and creativity into sustainable development activities in the current context” Pham Huong, Chief of Culture Sector, UNESCO Hanoi Office.


The University of Sydney is one of the top 50 Universities in the world, is a key destination for Vietnamese international students and collaborates on in leading edge research, including Creative Arts and Organisations led by Sydney College of the Arts, in the School of Literature Art and Media. Dr Jane Gavan is the current Sydney South East Asia Centre Academic Representative at the University.

Manufacturing Creativity Video trailer

Facebook @manufacturingcreativity

Instagram @manufacturing_creativity

Website manufacturingcreativity.net

For more information, please contact Ms. Le Hoang Lien, Culture Programme Assistant, UNESCO Ha Noi Office at lh.lien@unesco.org




<- Back to: UNESCO Office in Ha Noi
Back to top