In April 2016, led by Dr Ho Siu-kee, over a dozen AVA students of the Contemporary Applications of Bamboo Craftsmanship course went on a study trip to Jhushan Town of Nantou County in Taiwan to witness the local developments of the bamboo industry. With this trip, students gained a broad and comprehensive understanding of this highly malleable creative material.

Jhushan Town is a key location of Taiwan’s bamboo industry. Its natural environment is conducive to bamboo growth, and during the Japanese Occupation the Japanese quickly made plans to exploit its potential through the founding of the Jhushan County Bamboo Work Education Centre by Japanese bamboo craftsmen, aiming to train up local talent. This marked the beginning of the bamboo industry of Jhushan Town.

The study trip gave students the chance to visit different bamboo workshops and experience how, for the craftsmen, the preservation of the art would be a life-long commitment. The class also followed veteran craftsmen into the groves to harvest bamboo, and had the chance to learn about the ecological attributes of this natural material and how the craftsmen can shape the material using their imaginations.

The artwork created by the students who participated in the Traditional Bamboo Craft and its Possible Applications in Contemporary Art & Design course were showcased in the “Living with Bamboo: Museum of Art is Here” exhibition and education programme.