I went to Miaoli, in northern Taiwan last week to attend the opening of a new centre aiming to provide visitors more information about the unique traditions and cultures in the area (its made up of a rich mix: with Saisiyat and Atayal aboriginal tribes as well as a Hakka community) and offering a window on some handicrafts made by locals.Members of the Saisiyat aboriginal tribe dance at the opening of the centre
Creative cultural industries is a buzz word in Taiwan right now - how to maximise economic opportunities from cultural industries..from handicrafts to film.
This new centre is aiming to provide more economic opportunities for locals - especially aboriginal communities. Around 2 million people visit Nanjhuang every year...a high figure that surprised me - to appreciate its scenic beauty.
Those behind the project says it can take advantage of the large number of visitors to the region...and hopefully get them to purchase some local crafts and learn more about the culture of the local people.
One of the biggest problems for local craftsmen and women: how to properly market their goods. This centre can help: acting as a kind of cultural shopwindow for local artisans.
Lin Shu Li This (pictured above) also runs a great dyeing and textile centre nearby. There's a beautiful garden, featuring some of the plants she uses to dye fabrics; visitors can have a go at tye-dyeing themselves. There's also a very charming bed and breakfast place, which is extremely tastefully decorated with the textiles that they produce (different rooms feature different colour themes).
The web has info in English and Chinese.. http://www.raisinay.com/
The building itself is beautiful..made out of wood, and established on the grounds of a former Japanese-era police station. Some wonderful black and white photographs documenting the local community over the decades hang on the walls, donated by locals. and wine...
The idea is to provide more economic opportunities in the region..so that young people can have a better future.