From 17th– 20th of March, the ‘Local to Global’ ART-CRAFT INDUSTRY DIALOGUES was co-organized by Korean Cultural Center in Vietnam and UN-Habitat Vietnam, including seminars and site visits in Hanoi and Hoi An with participation of the local governments, art-craft industry related associations, designer and manufacturers, and artisans. The dialogue aimed to create high value added benefits for both hoi An/ Vietnam and Korea through building an initial step to improve competitiveness of art - craft industries and more importantly to identify cooperative project opportunities to enter global market together under innovative long-term partnership.
Firstly, Korean experts and Vietnamese participants shared current situation and trends of each country. Basic information on art-craft industries trend and holistic approaches to the industries in Korea were introduced and got full attention from local participants. The key challenges of the Vietnamese industries was shared to build a basis for discussion regarding socio economic condition of art-craft industry development, weak capacity, little access to information, and obstacles in quality control.
Secondly, a craft designer/ entrepreneur introduced demands of global markets toward Asian design industry and shared relevant successful case studies in Southeast Asia. Key success factors to enhance the competitiveness and marketability of Hoi An/ Vietnam was introduced based on his expertise and long experience in the Southeast region. Maximization of local characters, combination of modern and traditional values, and harmonization of craft and industrial design have been emphasized with applicable examples for Vietnam.
Finally, a professor/ industrial designer from the national art university in Korea, addressed possible cooperation between two sides, based on own history and resources. When technology and quality control skills of Korea can meet abundant good human resources from Hoi An/Vietnam, cooperative projects will create innovative products very competitive in global market.
Notably, the most fruitful output was discussion session in Hoi An after all the presentation when all the participants were very proactively addressing key issues of different key industries of Hoi An. Participants clearly expressed issues on consistent quality controls and needs of basic technology, maximizing cultural identity, weak access to global market, and no strategy for overall improvement. Local artisans, the craft association and local governments all consulted different issues from each one’s points of view, which led to valuable discussion with Korean experts with long and short term suggestions. These include developing a local task force for quality control in cooperation with external supports, establishing networks among relevant associations in/ out of country, and mobilizing international/ national resources to increase competitiveness and strengthen brand in long term. Long term solution was suggested as well, which involve developing an integrated ‘Hoi An’ brand, taking advantage of Hoi An city’s brand.
After the dialogue, concrete ideas of developing a project team with the national art university to improve quality and design of lantern products and establishing networks with Korean art-craft association for information sharing have been made. These ideas are being tested and action plans for this year are already being prepared since the workshop.
This activity is under the project “Quang Nam Provincial Development Strategy”(Quang Nam PDS) that UN-Habitat Vietnam is running with local government taskforce, national and international experts, and other UN agencies. The main objective is to strengthen the planning and management capacity of the local government in responding to the provincial development issues, with integrated strategy of urban development, environmental sustainability, climate change and social equity. As a part of QN PDS development, UN-Habitat has technically supported for the sustainable city development strategy of Hoi An, one of most strategically important city in the province. Having issued a project of ‘Building a eco city in Hoi An’ (Decision 445/QD-TTg) in 2009, the city aims to make Hoi An economically, socio culturally and environmentally sustainable city in collaboration with UN-Habitat and other UN agencies such as UNIDO and UNESCO.