Red Room Reflections, Nov – Dec 2018

Red Room Listening Space 3

Dear Readers,

November and December were busy months at the Red Room. Our new venue feels a lot more settled, and is functioning at full capacity. New collaborations bring new energy to the space, giving it a truly community feel. The Red Room family is growing!

Some highlights:

The NDC partnered with the Red Room and co-founder Ping Chu to host a Meet and Greet Jazz Night for the new Gold Card holders. Red Room celebrated its 9th anniversary with The Art of 「跨」Kua.
C-Lab held a festival on Circular Economy, where Red Room provided entertainment and food, and was fortunate enough to connect with many organizations who subscribe to sustainable lifestyles.
FIG, a newly formed improv group, has found their new home at the Red Room, where they hold their practice workshops and performances.
In December, we co-hosted with Infinity Key to bring theater in the round to the Red Room. 8 shows of White Rabbit Red Rabbit made its Taiwan debut performance at the Red Room.

Coming up in January, XY Bridges and All Hands Taiwan are collaborating to host workshops on topics such as public speaking, entrepreneur support, and more.

Together we have the potential to make an impact – so here’s to another year of creativity and collaboration.

Happy New Year!

The Keeper of the Faith

Diwali and APRC Conference on Sustainability for Non Profits

by Robyn Hutchinson and Roma Mehta

Sustaining Non-profits in an unsustainable world.
10-12 November 2018

The Red Room Taipei hosted a thinking forum on this topic over 3 days, as part of the ICAI APRC 2018 Conference in Taiwan.

There was a welcome dinner and celebration held on the 9th evening as a prelude to the pre-conference held at the Red Room from 10-12 November.

“I had the privilege of participating in the wonderful Diwali celebration on the Friday evening, on the eve of the 3 days, hosted by the Red Room. About 50 folk from all walks of life attended this magical opening evening event, and many returned for the following day of creating.”

Robyn Hutchinson

Jimbo Clark and James Bishop from Brains on the Beach (BOB) together with Frieda Lin, facilitated 3 days of creative thinking.

The first day began with small group discussions sharing personal stories of transitioning from passion to sustainability. The groups very quickly identified that this was not too different to what sustains any organisation… forward planning, having an exit strategy, what legacy is to be left and how to do that, deep listening, developing leadership teams, not being dependent on any one or two people, the initiators nurturing the new leadership, and moving onto other roles, at the right time.

On the afternoon of the first day, Red Room became a living case study on this topic. Key players from the Red Room shared their story of transitioning from a monthly spoken word gathering to a NPO with a location and paid staff. It was soon clear that the Red Room had already set in place the strategies of moving forward into an unknown future.

Curator of Red Room, Manav Mehta, presents his team’s learnings.

With nine years of impact on the creative arts world of Taipei, Red Room has been steadily building community, and bringing together people from all walks of life in a safe environment to learn, grow and experiment together. The leadership was well aware of the need to continue to grow the organisation in new and different ways, and sought the group’s input on this future direction. Each of the representatives of the Red Room team shared their individual journey with Red Room, after which the smaller groups discussed Gifts, Challenges and Guiding Principles and presented their findings.

This openness and honesty set the stage for creative thinking over the following two days.

On day two, the spirit behind Brains on the Beach was shared and the group formed into teams focusing on a common touch point of sustainability. BOB presented Clockwise, the BOB Co-Creative Process; a game that allowed teams to work together to design, analyze, and implement a project. This creative approach was a challenging yet fun way to discern the various energies in a group that could be harnessed to achieve the best possible solutions. The best ideas were shared in “marketplace of ideas” where teams look to create buy in and support for various methods for change.

ClockWise is a Creative Innovation process that was created by Brains on the Beach.

The closing day brought time for individual reflection on the learning of the past two days. Each person made a board sharing their own commitments and requests for support.
The Red Room team worked together to consolidate clear and cohesive approaches for the future of the organisation. Outreach, volunteer management, and succession were on top of the list of tasks to address.

Facing the real question of sustainability in all our organisations was also a theme of the APRC in the following 3 days in Tainan. Similar factors were identified, and helped organisations present build their own strategies for moving forward.

Photos from the conference can be viewed here.

The Art of Kua – Celebrating nine years of community building

By Vanessa Neeff

Red Room 9 Anniversary - the Art of Kua

“As in the case with all of Red Room’s events, the ‘Art of Kua’ was intimate and meaningful, with multiple layers of purpose” ~ Julia Kao

9 years have passed since friends and family first gathered at Aveda Learning Kitchen to share their thoughts about life, embrace their love for beautiful contributions and open their hearts in a homely atmosphere over a glass of wine. What began with “Stage Time and Wine” has since evolved in many ways over the last 9 years. Red Room has broadened it’s horizons, and encourages and supports growth and exchange of values through visual arts, performance and family friendly events.

On the occasion of Red Room’s 9th anniversary on the 24th of November 2018, Red Roomers commemorated the core essence of their work by setting up a living room salon-style event “The Art of Kua”. Although Red Room has been engaged with intercultural community building and cultural exploration ever since 2009, Taiwan itself has to overcome great obstacles before acceptance and esteem towards cultural exploration can be completely ensured. “The Art of Kua” refers to the desire of challenging contemporary values by enriching, exploring and internationalizing Taiwanese culture in different aspects.

Arriving in Taiwan just a few days before the event took place, and soon after, entering the Red Room space has definitely gave me a feeling of warmth and acceptance within a joyful and loving community. It is most certainly an open listening place where people embrace their love for the performing arts. I can remember listening for the very first time to the speeches and anecdotes of seven different curators, who came along to acknowledge a topical issue and share their perspectives on cultural exploration. Each of the engaged speakers have created an environment where people across the generations are encouraged to take action and make Taiwan a more accessible place for both local and foreign communities.

“The inner ability to reinvent lies within each of us, and it is awakened by involvement” ~ 季勳

Social impact platforms and various labs emerging in Taiwan’s community landscape encourage global community building by offering the chance to make beautiful contributions in a space filled with creative energy and positivity. People like you and me are empowered to impact others by getting involved and taking responsibility for ourselves. Being the founder of 棧戀棧練 (woodsart upcycling) lab based in Taiwan, 季勳 has experienced the growth and cultural enrichment first hand. Her social events create a sustainable, nature and arts-based environment, which attracts people across the generations. Respective labs in Taiwan do not only offer to let off steam with ideas, but there is also a great chance to give something back to the community you have chosen to be part of.

“Listening to the speakers during that night really gives you an idea of how to impact the people surrounding you, and that you can learn from each of them” ~ Romona Guan

Romona Guan has established a social impact platform called share4impact, engaging potential change makers within a global community. In order to be involved, you simply have to “be yourself, treat everyone equally and with love, and above all, take responsibility for your learning”, says Romona, when I asked her if she followed certain guidelines when it comes to setting up an event. The pay-by-value system does not only offer a borderless environment, but it also creates a podium for those, who are willing to share their values offline just like “eye to eye, heart to heart”.

“Through comparing and contrasting differences, we can select the qualities and ways of doing from the other that we admire, and shed the routines that we decide no longer serve us in our newly made ideas of where we want to go.”

Being surrounded by listeners from both Taiwanese and international cultures on that bilingually held event, I was able to perceive the desire for mutual understanding and bridging gaps where it was needed. Emerging labs, cultural facilities and innovation centers in foreign countries allow insights into the actual practice of cultural experimentation. Instead of waiting for the desired changes in Taiwan, the artistic community takes matters into their own hands. To “Intimidate and push boundaries of other artists in Taiwan”, is Julia Kao’s mission being the curator of Oomph, a creative movement and art space.

“The demand is for social innovation is there, and there are movements aiming to push the boundaries of what’s possible, despite many limitations – be it cultural, political, or financial.”

Being part of a thriving community such as Red Room does not only offer me the opportunity to connect to people within a creative ecosystem, but it also challenges my intercultural understanding when it comes to working in a multilingual sector. It is not only the listening culture and the cultural growth and experiences, but also the borderless working environment that attracts people to come to Red Room as volunteers. We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and we want to contribute to something meaningful, not only within our own private surroundings, but also when it comes to work and business. One of the top goals speaking of internationalization is making Taiwan a more accessible place for foreigners, says speaker David Chang, who is one of the founders of the Crossroads platform supporting entrepreneurs of foreign residency within Taiwan. By creating a more open governmental framework, equal opportunities in both work and finances could be generated to make sure that foreign residents can stay and settle in Taiwan.

The greatest of all challenges is to preserve the feeling of warmth and belonging when conserving traditions. Being part of a global community like Red Room comes with reinvention of ourselves and how we perceive the world. As we come together to talk about our identity here in Taiwan, we do not only discover our similarities, but also different perceptions of how live up to long-perceived traditions and how to displace the ones that has come off our way of thinking . The desire for change is a constant, therefore the greatest of all challenges is to preserve the feeling of warmth and belonging when conserving traditions.

Seeing how people from across the world have decided to come to Taiwan, whether it’s only temporary or to settle, working side by side to enable an environment of listening and learning, a beautiful space was set up. And it is not only the creative energy and intimate gatherings that attracts people coming to the Red Room space. It is a place of intercultural understanding, a place where each of us can easily integrate into the community, even though you are still newbie just like me.

Stage Time and Juice

By Carol Yao

Stage Time and Juice hit a high mark in educational content last November, with various members of the community and beyond sharing their gifts and their knowledge with the families. F.I.G., the newly founded Formosa Improv Group, had a debutante performance in front of an audience with children. Using puppets and themselves as interactive props, they drew laughter from children, teens, and grownups alike. Afterwards, there was a Q and A session where the players shared why they love to practice improv, and how they use principles from it in their everyday lives.

Brad, a father who claims he is NOT a musician, played a few chords while introducing his homemade guitars. He explained that this creative method of throwing together scraps to make simple instruments was developed by African slaves in America due to lack of options. One of Brad’s guitars was made using a license plate. The sound of these instruments were convincing to us: we will be hosting a workshop later in the year where he can teach others to make their own handmade guitars, so keep watching Rendezvous at the Red Room for announcements!

As a special treat, Priya brought three performers who were in Taiwan for the India Festival to demonstrate different theatrical techniques. Dr. Gayathri Subramanian (yes, she has a PhD!!!) interpreted the elephant headed god, Ganesh, and Shiju Kumar Kalamandalam demonstrated first how he could move his eyes to a percussion beat, and then went through a repertoire of different theatrical emotions. Mr. Kalamandalam has trained for seven years to learn these techniques.

Sharon, assisted by MC Sue De Simone, led the audience in a lively and easy to learn dance. It was fun to see EVERYBODY get up and move, EVEN the Indian dancers (hee hee!) Hopefully we will have more of these great warm up sessions in the future, to get everyone moving.

There was plenty of variety with open mic as well. Roxy and Sabrina did a dance duet to “Make It Shine.” Max taught us how to say the alphabet in Japanese and sung a Japanese song. Nicole sang the song “Real Friends” while playing the guitar. Ania played two songs on the keyboard. As usual, we received the comment that THE KEYBOARD IS TOO SHORT.

We are hoping that an angel donor will help us find a longer one!

If you would like to see some video clips of this amazing event please check out our Facebook page:

C-Lab|循環城市進行式:快閃城事 Circulating our Cities

By 張悅安 Yueh-an Chang

C-Lab Circulating Cities

View photos here

紅坊很榮幸有機會能夠與這兩個相當傑出的夥伴一同策畫這次的循環之夜,打造屬於循環人的趴踢。我們結合純素創意料理「喜喜 好吃」,加上現場音樂表演「孟萱+靖玟」。當天以租借餐具體現一個「循環人」的負責,雖然在諸多小細節皆有未盡事宜,但與各組人士的學習真的使我們在活動規劃上又更有一番長進。

On December 15th, 2018, C-lab collaborated with NTU Plus to hold a 24 hour Pop-Up exhibition on the topic of circular economy. About 16 groups were chosen to share their ideas at “Circulating our Cities. Urban Rural Linkages Popping Up“. Their projects conveyed the idea that a sustainable lifestyle is always our choice to make, and encouraged people to think about the role we humans play in relationship with nature.

Red Room was honored to be included in this group of exhibitors and to collaborate with them on the “circular night”. We tried to introduce the concept of circular economy into the party by using rented reusable utensils and cutlery, be environmental friendly by serving vegan food on the day, and installing interactive stations for art projects made with recycled materials.

This experience of working with groups active in sustainable lifestyles has benefited our curation skills and increased our network with other groups. Many thanks to C-Lab and our collaborators for this opportunity.

Visual Dialogues

By Erique Chong

I use art as a media and a way to make friends, to tell my story, to describe my feeling or what I have observed and also to tell and develop a message to the audience. Last but not least, not just a way to remind myself to think as a kid but also trying to encourage the people to think as a kid, too. To make people get inspired, happy and smile is one of the reasons i make art.

I call myself as an observer, and I love to listen people talk and share their thoughts. Which is why I don’t tell people what’s the meaning behind my drawings very first unless they want to know. Because telling people what you’re drawing in the first place will limit their imagination and thinking. I love to hear different perspectives and voices because it’s really fun and tricky to observe how each different brain works, that’s what makes people unique and adorable!

Some of my works are made from digital media and some of them are made from traditional media like ink and ball pen. Since I wasn’t born in a very rich family, I often think that investing acrylics and watercolors on me is a huge waste. However, I know colours are important in art, so i decided to self learn digital painting with using colours. On the other side, I really love using ball pen to make arts, because every line you drew with ball pen creates different texture. I believe these details make an artwork more attractive and watch-able.

I am still on the “discovery” era in this field. Sometimes I think i know what i’m doing and sometimes I don’t. Everything is possible and everything can be happened in this period so I am pretty much open-minded to every possibilities. Of course, eventually my goal is to build my own illustration brand and push my brand to worldwide, serve the people with my illustrations and make their day!

我覺得我大部分的作品都反映了自己當時的情緒,生活和自己觀察到的人事物。但是,全部的作品都有一個核心,就是提醒自己有時候必須像個小孩。我一直都認爲,內心的小孩很重要,即使我們不再是小孩。這就是我爲何在大部分的作品想要加入“兒童”“童趣”的元素。此外,我也很喜歡給自己一些挑戰,這也造就了目前擁有102張作品的 FoToon系列作品 的誕生和其他個人系列作品。





Read more about Erique here.