‘I use design as a way of creating an immersive space, a safe space, where connections and interactions are enabled and positive experiences are created.’ – Jennifer Tran
A Chinese Vietnamese Australian community designer, Jen Tran grew up in Melbourne’s western suburbs of Footscray, St Albans and Sunshine. Following studies of industrial and interior design, she undertook a mentorship with Platform Youth Theatre focusing on set design. In 2012, Jen completed a Graduate Certificate in Arts and Community Engagement at the Centre of Cultural Partnerships, VCA. Through this certificate she developed a program pitch aimed at bringing together the Chinese Vietnamese and African communities of Footscray through food and spent the beginning of 2013 relationship building while working with Creative Rebellion Youth and Lentil As Anything Footscray. During this time, Jen identified a need to develop her skills and resources to implement the project and saw the Emerging Cultural Leaders program as a unique opportunity to do this. Mentored through the program by community theatre maker, David Cuong-Nguyen, Jen delivered her first creatively produced community-engaged project the Foodscray Race as part of the 2014 Melbourne Food and Wine festival. She has since worked with FCAC as a teaching artist, project facilitator with Big West Festival, designed and built sets for 100 Story Building and the Emerging Writers Festival and works as a project coordinator at Centre for Cultural Partnerships, VCA.
As part of the 2014 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, The Foodscray Race is a fun and interactive race through Footscray in search for the key ingredients that makes up the flavours of a tasty Vietnamese, African and Indian soup.
Mama Stirs the Pot is a performance-led dialogue between audience and performer using theatre as a framework to discuss the underlying issues.