Hand Up Mentoring

The Hand Up Mentoring Program takes the ‘Hands That Shape Humanity’ vision to the source of creativity. Hand Up encourages emerging designers and artists to explore the messages of the Hands’ participants through the universal language of the arts, ultimately bridging the gap between experience and industry, locally and globally.

Students and emerging designers are encouraged to design a product that is inspired by the Hands’ project and its participants, is philosophically aligned to our manifesto and creates positive social change through its butterfly effect – the belief that one small act can have a great impact. In return, Hands’ will provide mentoring with established members of the industry, facilitate production and take care of marketing and distribution of selected designs.

For the last 3 years, Hands’ has collaborated with the College of Fine Arts (COFA) in Sydney, bringing several extraordinary projects to life, through a nurturing and empowering design and mentoring process.

In 2009, design student Niki Banados, designed S.E.A.T, a small stool fabricated in a sustainable bamboo factory in Vietnam. While the factory itself is fueled by the bamboo offcuts, the S.E.A.T project also provides a sound working opportunity for the local community. Back in Australia, S.E.A.T has partnered with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Fund (ALNF) to help promote their award-winning programs which aim to put an end to indigenous illiteracy across Australia. And if S.E.A.T wasn’t already doing enough, it also forms the basis of a trans-disciplinary education program for primary school children that is aligned with the Australian Curriculum.

Raising awareness of a different but equally important cause, 2009 COFA graduate Jason Giam designed Protect the Child, a range of graphic T-shirts and posters surrounding the issue of ‘conflict minerals’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fueled by the Western avid use of mineral intensive technologies. In partnership with NGO Save the Children, Protect the Child aims to incite international companies to source minerals ethically and transparently.

Since then, more projects have gone from the drawing table to becoming marketable products. Take a Walk in My Shoes by Visala Wong aims to improve the plight of the extremely poor in China by manufacturing a colorful range of simple hand woven slippers following local traditional techniques. Life in Parts by Santina Ingui is an artistic exploration of the fragile human condition when it is impacted by mental illness. Lace by Emma McMunnigall offers a range of simple baby products, designed and manufactured by artisans in Vietnam, with the aim of raising funds towards reducing infant mortality rates in the country’s highlands.

This is what we mean by ordinary products that have an extraordinary butterfly effect.

The Hand Up Mentoring Program works locally to affect positive change globally. If your university, here in Australia, or around the world, would like to find out how to become involved, contact the Hands’ team today.