Re + Store → Restore
To restructure the microhistory and network in the neighborhoods, Life Workshop has conducted a two-year project named “REstore – Small Shop Culture Reconstruct Project” covers the following aspects.
- Review – Video work and theatre performance about stories in the community
- Re-engineer – Reforming tradition crafts and techniques into workshop and tour
- Redesign – Innovative design integrating traditional skills and creativity by youth
- Restore Store – Setup pavilion “Restore” to show those products to the public starting from 2nd year of the project.
Review: Collecting stories for history and culture review
In the initial phase of our programme, video and drama were used to record the community stories. Through our regular outreaching from November 2013 to April 2015, we have established relationship with over 294 shops in Yau Tsim Mong District. Shop owners shared their unforgettable memories in life, such as meeting up with old friends after a long time and their decision to succeed the family business. Most of their stories have reflected the changes of their industry and community. Among the shop owners we have visited, over 71 were interested to take part in our project, and welcomed us to present their stories through videos or dramas. Starting from the end of 2014, we have recruited 36 volunteers from various background including secondary students, tertiary students and adults to take part in the video production. Public screenings were held in REstore Store twice during August 2015. 13 video shorts have been shown and successfully attracted over 120 audience. Some video shorts were then uploaded to the internet for public appreciation. We also planned to present some of the stories in form of drama. We have already finished script writing and rehearsal etc. Nevertheless, due to the difficulty in venue booking, the performance need to be suspended.
Re-engineer: Everyone can be a craft beginner
In order to promote traditional handicrafts, we have organized a series of handicraft workshops and community cultural tours for free. 14 workshops were successfully held up till now, with a total of 13 different traditional craftsmanship being taught including mahjong carving, wooden box carving, bronze plate making and Chinese calligraphy etc. We have invited 17 proficient craftsmen to be our workshop instructors. Over 100 participants have joined our workshop so far. During the workshops, participants are able to learn basic knowledge on certain crafts, as well as create their own works. Positive feedback was received from the public. Some of the participated families appreciated us to let them recall their childhood memories, as well as let their children gain an insight into the traditional culture. A few participants even showed their interest to pursue further study on certain craftsmanship. This series of workshops brought mutual benefits to both public and the craftsmen. Participants regarded it as a precious opportunity to experience the traditional crafts. Since the public have experienced the difficulty as crafts beginners, the skills of craftsmen can also be appreciated through the workshops. Most importantly, the workshops successfully acted as a platform to promote the traditional crafts to the next generations. Beside handicraft workshops, we often organized community cultural tours in Yau Tsim Mong District for free. Guided by enthusiastic teenagers and neighbors, participants are able to explore the other side of Yau Tsim Mong District as well as interact with shop owners during the tours.
Lastly, we would like to express our deep gratitude for over 140 volunteers from the community who contributed to this projects during these 2 years, ranging from being workshop instructors, tours docents, REstore Store assistants etc. Their efforts were indispensable to the success of this project, especially for 2 summer interns recruited from Citi-HKCSS Community Intern Program 2015. They successfully promoted the work of REstore with a series of marketing strategies such as redecorating the showcase of REstore Store. Upon the completion of internship, they were being awarded among 40 teams with the Grand Awards for Excellence. Due to the award, this project has received wide media coverage and positive reaction from the public.
In the mid-May 2016, Life Workshop started a new, re-enhanced project “Kengaku – Small Shop Handcraft Master Nurturing & Community Revitalisation Project” as the Third Round Applications of the Urban Renewal Heritage Preservation and District Revitalisation Funding Scheme. To know the upcoming news of the project, please visit www.lifeworkshop.org.hk / www.facebook.com/REstore.LifeWorkshop.