What’s the Real question I want to ask about

During the whole process of figuring out what’s the question I really want to ask and what’s the concern I really devoted for, I started my point from exploring intangible cultural heritages.

In the very beginning, my question was ‘how to keep the intangible cultural heritages alive in our modern world’. This is a big question and so many items are included. Thanks to my tutorials, I kept rethinking about what is the one item I connected most and there could be a chance if I can make a change.

I kept my research going and I finally realized that Zha Ran, the Chinese traditional tie dye in Dali, southwest China is the one I really want to explore more.

Zha Ran is one of the most traditional textile-dyeing techniques in China, which already has over thousands of years history. But due to the lack of marketing promotion and design innovation, Zha Ran is disappearing in our lives.

Compared with the growing market share of African and Indian tie-dye in this fashion world, Chinese tie-dye definitely deserved more opportunity to earn the popularity. So how to make Zha Ran survive and more popular became the question I want to find some answers.

Tutorial with George


1. What: TITLE

1.1 Subject / area / theme

> These are the big words (e.g. creative collaboration, plastic recycling, empowerment, ambient design, sustainability in fashion, inclusivity, accessibility, wearable technology, primary education, cultural exchange, etc.)

Traditional textile sustainability, accessibility & popularity

Research more about organic

1.2 What it is within the subject area that you intend to focus on

> Your subject areas can be broad, so what key elements within your subject topic will you focus on?

The topic will be focused on how to promote Chinese traditional Zha Ran in modern age especially among young people

1.3 What is your ‘How can’ question?

> The question is the most important component of your research. What is your overarching question, that will act as guidance for your action research? The question will naturally develop over time.

How can Zha Ran(a traditional Chinese textile art form) keep sustainability in modern age and have bigger market share among young generation?

Gain popularity — preserving / revive this traditional technique

Creative experiment

Branded what is the one image represents Zha Ran

2. Why: TITLE

2.1 Why is this research project worth pursuing?

> Make sure it has not been done before, through research. It may certainly be a topic that has been explored but how will you tackle it differently?

Nowadays, we pay more and more attention on tradition preservation and Zha Ran is definitely one of the jewels from the crown of history which we need to make more efforts to make it shine.

But due to the lack of promotion and innovation, Zha Ran is disappearing in our lives. Only few craftspeople are still working on Zha Ran in Dali, SW China.

Compared with the growing of African and Indian tie-dye, Chinese tie-dye deserved more opportunity to gain the popularity. So how to make Zha Ran survive and more popular became an urgent and worthwhile topic to do further research.

2.2 Why will it bring positive change to the world?

> Your project will create positive change in the world if there is a need for this change

Zha Ran is one of the most traditional textile-dyeing techniques in China, which already has over thousands of years history. But we could see less and less Zha Ran in our modern use around the world, even in its hometown China.

So how to find a breakthrough for traditional Zha Ran technique in our modern world could bring a lot of positive reflection and sustainable development of cultural heritage protection.

2.3 Why is it important to you?

> Are you passionate about your project and excited to make it part of your life over the coming months?

I used to interview few craftsmen who are still using Zha Ran for clothes production. And when they were talking about the young people who are not interested about Zha Ran and it’s hard to find new apprentice to inherit the technique, I felt the calling of the responsibility to promote Zha Ran and do my best to see if I can make a difference.

3. How: TITLE

3.1 Background research

         a. What books, blogs, online articles/papers will you read? Make a list of these. This list will grow over time

         b. What films, theatre pieces, music performances, exhibitions, talks, TED talks or other interactive things will you engage with? These will differ and change as lockdown restrictions change

         c. User questionnaires (surveys)

1.Securing the past : conservation in art, architecture and literature /

Eggert, Paul

2.Digital applications for cultural and heritage institutions /

3.The future of the past: how the information age threatens to destroy our cultural heritage / Stille, Alexander

4. Heritage: critical approaches / Harrison, Rodney,

5. Made to Stick / Chip and Dan Heath

6. Comparing Research about the Beauty in Form between Fractal and Traditional Textile Patterns / Tang Ying

7. The Inheritance and Development of Ethnic Traditional Craftsmanship of Decorative Arts in Modern Garment Design / Yang Xiao Bing

8. Exploring textile arts: the ultimate guide to manipulating, coloring, and embellishing fabrics.

9. Sustainability and the social fabric Europe’s new textile industries / Clio Padovani, Paul Whittaker.

3.2 Questions that are intriguing and that you would like to answer. These will come up as a result of your research, and you can use these questions to develop interventions, to test with users and stakeholders. Make a list of these….

How many ways can promote Chinese traditional Zha Ran around the world?

What intervention can be used to innovate Zha Ran?

How can we attract young people increase the interest about Zha Ran?

How to branding Zha Ran to make it more popular among young people?

3.3 Users, who is your target user group(s). Think of how to approach them

Young generation

By online approach mostly

3.4 Stakeholders, who are your stakeholders. Think of how to approach them

Textiles factory              Mazdak Khoshdaman  Textile manufacturer in LA

Textile designers             Agne Jonynaite

Textile experts.                Wendy Garrity  Owner of Textile Trails

Art school.  

Fashion critics                  Matt Trueman Art journalist and theatre critic

E-commerce website        Lisa Founnder at LivingxLG

Government                     Dali local government, Yunnan government

3.5 Action research

         a. Intervention ideas (products/artefacts, workshops, other sessions that you would like to pursue`

         b. Small ideas

         c. Big idea

I googled Zha Ran or Chinese tie dye and there are only few materials to show about this technique.

So my intervention plan could be few steps ——

First I would like to build up a website include more information about Zha Ran, such as the film and photos about how to use Zha Ran, and the history, interviews about the craftsmen,etc.

Then based on the website, I would prepare questionnaires and collect feedbacks from target users and stakeholders.

From the feedbacks, I will keep develop the website and reach out to art schools to seek the opportunity of promoting Zha Ran.

After maybe create an online shop for customized Zha Ran crafts to attract more attention and exposure.

3.6 Challenges, make record of these as your project develops

4. What-if: TITLE

4.1 What happens if your project is successful?

I will make it a long-term sustainable project to promote more Chinese traditional arts and make more efforts to make ‘obsolescence’ become fashionable again.

4.2 How will your project be valuable to your users?

Textile is a way to express self-identity. And Zha Ran can be represented as a way of pursuing organic, natural and simple lifestyle which could be worshiping by a lot of young people.

And this project can arouse the attention from young generation to realize the importance of the traditional heritage protection.

4.3 How will your project be valuable to your stakeholders?

Zha Ran can be an exotic option for textile industry and it will be very catchy with the trendy of simple lifestyle. From the market, most stakeholders know about African and Indian tie dye, but Chinese tie dye could be a new excitement to explore.

4.4 Where would you like to be toward the end of your journey?

I would like to make this project into a long-term program that I can keep working on and branding.