Friday, May 19, 2006

Asia trip ends, project goes on

For three weeks now our students worked harder than ever, facing more difficult situations than would ever occur in their routine design semester projects at KH Berlin:

• In Taipei we had to adjust our workshop to the nighttime class taught by Dr. Frue Cheng. There were Taiwanese undergraduate students and Master students, many of whom worked as professional designers during the day.

• In Guangzhou our counterpart Prof. Tong Huiming asked us to accommodate a big and diverse group of Chinese students that outnumbered ours 8 to 1.

Language problems added another level of difficulty. While all our students speak English fluently (English is our project language anyway, even in Berlin), Chinese students still perceive this as a major challenge. And: our KHB group is less than homogeneous: the KHB group of 18 design students includes exchange students from Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and Colombia. Besides being multinational, our students represent the KHB areas of Product Design, Communication Design, Textile Design, and Fine Arts.

Our experimental project focuses on the international discussion of what could become a "Chinese Design Identity". In this semester project we are trying to generate some new insights relative to this question.

After a long period of preparation in Germany - including a Chinese language crash course - we now conclude our research phase. During the following weeks the projects will have to materialize. Somehow we'll now have to seep through those tons of information and early concepts developed together with our friends in Taiwan and China. There is so much material that we're probably all overwhelmed with the task ahead.

But this marvellous group of students adjusted well to the most unusual circumstances, and I have no doubt (even though they may have a few) that this project will result in a great presentation which we will most likely offer as one of the events at the annual KHB Open House, July 16th and 17th.

Of course, our project also serves as a "vehicle" to a deeper understanding of what Asia means to the economic future of our own country. We now know what China looks and feels like, and which our strenghts are, as compared to theirs. This will hopefully give us all a well-founded perspective on our own professional future as well as the necessary fine tuning of our KHB academic program.

As I had to say goodbye to this amazing city and to my students (they get to stay another few days, to connect with our partner school – Hong Hong Polytechnic University – and the local design community), we celebrated the end of three weeks of hard work with our traditional end-of-workshop beach visit and seafood dinner on Lamma Island, just south of Hong Kong, in the South China Sea. A big THANK YOU to all my KHB students as well as all the kind and generous people in Taipei and Guangzhou that made this project possible.


Blogger 4545 said...

hi, am xiangfan, the faculty of guangzhou academy of fine art, we have meet in a disscussion before you leave mainland of China last summer.

I still saved that piece of paper you wrote for me in that night, that's why i come to this blog though your travel already finished for long time.

by reading you, I have to say that I really like your way of thinking, clear, tough, wide....

best wishes!

Fan Xiang

2:36 PM  

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