Creative design centre ‘will boost' northeast Thailand

BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN) - Cultural skills from the northeast, including beautiful handicraft-making, will serve to inspire Thai creative circles, as the region’s first creative and design centre is established in Khon Kaen province to promote learning about design and help boost the economy.

Cultural skills from the Northeast, including beautiful handicraft-making, will serve to inspire Thai creative circles, as the region’s first creative and design centre is established in Khon Kaen province to promote learning about design and help boost the economy.

Khon Kaen University (KKU) and Thailand Creative and Design Centre (TCDC) recently signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a TCDC branch in Khon Kaen. During the signing ceremony at the university’s Sirikunakorn Building, Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong said the centre would help promote all citizens’ access to public services – especially academic and business administration information.

Prajin said the government hoped people would join the public and private sectors, plus local administrative bodies in initiating creative activities that benefit the public and propel society forward.

The TCDC – which already has two branches, one in Bangkok and the other in Chiang Mai province – aimed to expand to the regions. Studies found Khon Kaen to be the most suitable place for the third branch. The key Northeast province, which has routes leading to Laos, Vietnam and China, was deemed to be highly enthusiastic about education and basic transport infrastructure development projects.

KKU was handpicked to be the venue, as it will help boost good ties between students and other institutes, as well as outsiders. The branch is exFpected to officially open next year. Prajin said the centre’s promotion of creative and design research would also translate into more production of goods infused with creativity, the basis for a good creative economy.

KKU council chairman Narongchai Adornseranee said the development of a creative economy begins with using the region’s cultural capital.

This was the foundation for extending into various fields including cinema, advertising, entertainment, food and fashion.

Narongchai also said the region had over 670,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – 16,000 of which were ‘One Tambon One Product (OTOP)’ local entrepreneurs covering more than 28,000 products. There were 1,392 community learning centres and 79 folk sages.

In Khon Kaen alone, there were 81,503 SMEs – the highest number in the region. He said the province needed to use technology, innovation and creativity to produce goods that were of international standard. There had already been some initiations such as modern silk-weaving and taem mhee silk colour staining in Mancha Khiri and Chonnabot districts.

Narongchai said development of the creative economy – whose value in 2014 was Bt1.6 trillion, or 13 per cent of Thai gross domestic product – should be included in the National Economic and Social Development Plan (2017-2021).

The top three income earners in the Thai creative economy were the fashion industry, designing and broadcasting. So, the partnering of KKU and TCDC would be the beginning of a creative or intelligence-based infrastructure system development for Khon Kaen and the Northeast, he said.

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