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Social Entrepreneurship in Vietnam

December 27, 2013 - January 15, 2014

(Registration deadline: October 17, 2013)

Vietnam Graphic

"Vietnam is being created," wrote a 16th-century poet and sage, one of the earliest recorded uses of the word for this beautiful country in Southeast Asia. Today, however, Vietnam struggles with incredible economic growth and polarizing income inequality. Students will experience the role of the artist and designer within an international context and bring about social change through their work. Make art and make a difference--help create Vietnam--through this course structured around social collaboration and cultural immersion in bustling Ho Chi Minh City.

Students will put their art and social design skills into action by engaging in group projects at selected local organizations with the goal of increasing the professional presence of those organizations and helping improve their members' well-being. Students will research, develop, and implement a project-based idea with one of three organizations:

  • 15 May School for Disadvantaged Children provides vocational training and performing arts programs for street children so they can learn confidence and skills to gain stable employment. These children receive vocational training in sewing and embroidery, hair and beauty, computers, and cooking.
  • Green Bamboo Warm Shelter is a shelter for boys aged 8 to 16 that teaches skills for independent living.
  • Si Hoang Designer Workshop was founded by one of Vietnam's most famous ao dai designers, Si Hoang. He has joined many prestigious shows in Vietnam and around the world.

Fascinating field trips are also a part of the program. On a three-day Mekong Delta trip, students will take a scenic boat ride, stay overnight with a local family, and visit a weaving co-op. During a long weekend in Hanoi, students will get to know the city's historic sites, visit a nearby craft village, and finally watch a famous water puppet show. In Ho Chi Minh City, site visits range from the War Remnants Museum to local businesses like KuJeans. Free time activities might include enjoying a Vietnamese iced coffee, shopping at Ben Thanh Market, or heading out with local roommates for a playful karaoke session.

Students will stay at a guesthouse in the center of the city, Ho Chi Minh City's famed District 1. Each student is paired with a Vietnamese roommate who will introduce students to life in Vietnam and provide helpful insiders' information. Guesthouse rooms typically include basic furnishings, air-conditioning, telephones, wi-fi, and small refrigerators. Students make use of the area's many inexpensive cafés and food vendors, all within walking distance of the guesthouse (meals are not included in the program fee).

FACULTY

Annet Couwenberg, an artist born in The Netherlands, received an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art and an M.F.A. in Textile Arts from Syracuse University. Couwenberg teaches in the Fiber department at MICA, where she served as chair from 1989 until 2008. She has received individual artist awards from the Maryland State and Ohio State Art Councils. Telos Art Publishing published a monograph of her work in 2003. Her work is in numerous collections, among them the Textiel Museum in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE; 28th Street Studio, New York, NY; Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD; City Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD; The Arkansas Art Center, Decorative Arts Museum, Little Rock, AK; Textiel Museum, Tilburg, The Netherlands. Couwenberg's work has been reviewed and featured by the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, City Paper, The Atlanta Constitution, Philadelphia Inquirer, Fiberarts, NO (Nouvel Object), Surface Design, and Sculpture Magazine.

Dan Meyers teaches Photo Imaging in the Graphic Design department at MICA. He has a B.F.A. in photography from Southern Illinois University and an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has freelanced for 26 years specializing in photographing artwork for museums and individual artists. His own black-and-white fine artwork has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including a group show at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and he has also received individual artist grants. His photographs of Paul Rand's home are included in a book published on Rand's life work. His worked has also appeared in numerous publications, including the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's Design Culture Now, Sculpture, Fiberarts, American Craft, Contemporary American Pottery, and the New York Times.

PROGRAM FEES

$4,500* per student

  • Three studio credits for Graphic Design and Fiber. Credits can also be used as studio electives for other majors
  • Guesthouse accommodations with a local Vietnamese roommate
  • Traveling seminars to the Mekong Delta and Hanoi
  • All program-organized site visits in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Transportation within Vietnam for all program-organized activities
  • Visas

Graduate credit is available to qualified students with the approval of the Program Coordinator at an additional cost of $75 per credit. A limited number of merit and need-based scholarships may be available, contingent on the continued availability of gift and grant funding. Fund-raising opportunities may be organized with other program participants.

* Fee does not include international airfare, most meals, and items and services of a personal nature.

This program is supported by CET Academic Programs. To request more information or to register, please contact School of Professional and Continuing Studies office at spcs@mica.edu or 410-225-2219. Instructor Annet Couwenberg may be contacted directly at acouwenb@mica.edu.