“Telling Stories From Neighborhood to Neighbor” Academic Program

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“Telling Stories From Neighborhood to Neighbor”

Academic Program: A Space for Students to Learn and Share Tales of the Community


Every year, Bangkok Design Week features an Academic Program that opens up opportunities for students from various disciplines to unleash their creativity and pass on ideas about urban development through designs in line with the theme of each year. During the event, experienced creative professionals provide guidance, support, and advice to students. This year, Cloud-floor, an architectural company that prioritizes the development of urban and public spaces, served as the main curator for the project. We invited Nattapong “Fuse” Phattanagosai, Co-founder of Cloud-floor, to discuss the process and some intriguing results from the recent festival.

“This year’s Academic Program theme is ‘Telling Stories from Neighborhood to Neighbor.’ We invited 10 groups of students to participate in 10 storytelling projects that narrate the tales of Hua Lamphong, Nang Loeng, and Bang Pho neighborhoods from perspectives that outsiders may not have heard before, or to expand on familiar stories to make them even more special. We selected the neighborhoods we wanted to present together with CEA, singling out districts where we thought the Academic Program could help promote content, especially areas that had only recently joined Bangkok Design Week and where there were not many existing programs.”


Learning Across Disciplines: Seeing More Than Just What’s in a Textbook

In addition to having Cloud-floor serve as the main curator, this initiative also saw collaboration with creative professionals from various fields, including photographers, film directors, fashion designers, and multimedia design studios, who all joined as mentors for the students. Mr. Fuse explained, “We believe that interdisciplinary learning sparks new creative ideas. This led to discussions with CEA about a working process that allows students to blend their academic skills with disciplines not found in their departments. We therefore invited professional creatives from different fields to mentor and work alongside students. Imagine what could happen when architectural students work with fashion designers or film directors, allowing both sides to merge their knowledge and ideas. Mentors sharing their experiences can also learn from the students.

“We also want students to engage with the community and work on physical exhibitions or activities. To that end, we established this year that the Academic Program would not only be a desk study, but would also be presented in a physical form. However, we have not dictated what the output should be, as that will depend on what the students discover through fieldwork and mentorship. They might present a perspective that reflects the community’s identity or something else entirely, which may not necessarily be related to livability (the theme of Bangkok Design Week 2024). We hope this project reflects real urban changes, prompting authorities to consider how community areas should be developed. While it may not solve existing problems in these areas directly, students can nevertheless narrate stories to enhance identity, express what the community wants to share, or reflect on the daily life context of each area.”


Adding Value to Spaces with Captivating Story Snapshots

“The feedback after the exhibition was quite broad, but overall, it exceeded expectations. For example, the ‘Voice Hua Lamphong’ project displayed at the Station Hotel reflected the essence of the community without embellishment. It gathered the voices of the community to chronicle how life has changed since the Central Train Station moved to Bang Sue, or after the installation of an expressway cutting through the district, or the introduction of an MRT station. These were presented in both positive and negative lights to tell all sides of  the story. We presented the reality for people to consider how urban changes are not always good or bad. The way communities are impacted is multifaceted, often depending on how much we listen to residents.

“Another project involved photographing local fashion and inquiring about the importance of everyday clothes for the people who wear them. What memories does a piece of clothing hold? This project highlights a charming side of people, helping to form relationships and allow outsiders to learn more about Hua Lamphong. It is about communicating understanding through the narrative of daily life and its values.

“In the Nang Loeng District, students participating in the ‘Lan-Ruen-Loeng’ activity noted that Nang Loeng was once an entertainment district, with a dance tutoring center situated within a house, officially known as Samakee Leelad School, that taught dancing to celebrities and actors of years past. This wooden house has since fallen into disrepair, with former dance teachers invited to revive faded memories and give brief lessons again on the old school’s rooftop, providing a lovely and emotionally valuable activity.

“This process teaches students to be more meticulous in their work. Mentors also bring their experience on how to appropriately interact with the community and foster understanding. These practices are important. We don’t view community members as exhibition objects, but rather collaborative partners in creating value for a given area, which might not always result in tangible or physical changes, such as new facilities. Nevertheless, one factor that might not register with outsiders is residents’ emotions, which are intangible and difficult to quantify. Still, whenever we work with a community, we can see many are eager to participate in the activities, to tell their stories and exhibit their work. It may sound romanticized, but it’s true.”

The 10 Programs by 10 Student Groups Include:

1. Hua Lamphong District: Journey Memory

by the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Thammasat University x Weerapon Singnoi (Fotomomo). Memories of the past that can never be reclaimed are captured in photographs and converted into prints using the Cyanotype technique on natural cotton fabric.

2. Hua Lamphong District: Ditto! Hua Lamphong

by the Faculty of Architecture, Department of Integrated Product Design Innovation, Kasetsart University x Chayanop Boonprakob. A semi-experimental short film that presents stories, traces, and transitions through the senses of sight, sound, and touch.

3. Hua Lamphong District: Voice Hua Lamphong

by the Faculty of Architecture, Art and Design, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang x Cloud-floor. Hua Lamphong is one of the Bangkok districts most affected by urban development. We want audiences to hear from both the community and outsiders to open perspectives on changes and their impacts.

4. Hua Lamphong District: 88/610

by the Department of Creative Arts and Graphic Creativity, Faculty of Fine And Applied Arts, Burapha University x Apichet “Madaew” Atilattana. A photo series accompanied by narratives and installation art inviting people to share stories about fashion, clothing, hairstyles, accessories, and household items that continue to reflect the community’s vocational skills into the present day.

5. Bang Pho District: Carved Images

by the Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Bangkok University x Weerapon Singnoi (Fotomomo). Art pieces intended to communicate the lifestyle of the woodcarving profession in Bang Pho, a district known for its woodwork.

6. Bang Pho District: Soul of the Craftsman

by the Faculty of Architecture and Design, Department of Architecture and Interior Design, King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok x XD49. An exhibition that explores the stories of Bang Pho craftsmen, reflecting the strength and prominence of the district through the concepts of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and doing.

7. Nang Loeng District: Lan-Ruen-Loeng

by the Faculty of Architecture, Rangsit University x Chayanop Boonprakob. Opens a space reflecting the existence of a once well-known dance tutoring center situated within a house in the area, inviting people to dance again, while offering dance lessons to the new generation.

8. Nang Loeng District: Nang Loeng, Joyful and Unforgettable

by the Department of Communication Design (International Program), Chulalongkorn University x XD49. A return to the joys of the old entertainment district through paper tickets that serve as an entertainment gateway while telling memorable historical stories.

9. Nang Loeng District: Fried Banana Universe

by the Faculty of Architecture and Design, Department of Architectural Technology, Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin x Cloud-floor. Highlights the district’s famous fried banana packages by designing patterns and colors that can be assembled into an image of the district, featuring Nang Loeng’s distinctive colors.

10. Nang Loeng District: Scrawl of Imaginary Lines

by the Faculty of Architecture and Design, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi x Apichet “Madaew” Atilattana. Recognizing print media as a significant part of Nang Loeng’s storied history, the organizers invite participants to write, draw, smear, and express their emotions and creativity on massive sheets of paper.

Bangkok Design Week 2024

Livable Scape

คนยิ่งทำ เมืองยิ่งดี

27 Jan – 4 Feb 2024