Oct 24, 2012

Teaching in NABA, Milan!

I am back in Milan! This time, I brought my mum and we are loving it and wishing that the hours will pass slowly! Mum said maybe we should elope to some other part of Europe after my teaching stint at 

Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano (NABA) and Domus Academy.

Mum and I enjoying our cakes; love spending time with her!

Enjoying a cake, tart and coffee after my class! 

I am taking about 23 second year Bachelor of Design NABA students through a workshop until the end of the month. I was thrilled when some of them recognized me and told me they know my work from  my Youtube videos! Some didn't, and thought I was a student. Both Domus and NABA are leading Italian design institutions (check Wiki) with about 1,500 students. Two weeks before the start of the new semester, NABA conducts workshops for their students and there are tutors like me from other parts of the world, to give students an international perspective. I think workshops before the new semesters are great ideas - they warm up the students, get their creative juices flowing, and prepare them for the year ! For Domus, I will give a presentation next week to masters degree students. Nervous, just a little, but also looking forward to sharing my lecture, 'Urban Experiences: Macro, Micro and the Digital'.

Playing a game before the start of the workshop, to break the ice and warm them up!

Brainstorming through ideas in class - love how my class is so international, there are students from Norway, Mexico, Taiwan, Indonesia, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Turkey...

My NABA workshop is titled The Exchange Project. My challenge to the students is to come up with a design, art piece or installation made of things they can get from the public. How they procure these things is by giving something they make to the public in exchange for whatever the people will give them. There are 7 groups of 3-4 and tomorrow they will go out to the square in front of the beautiful Milan Cathedral to conduct their projects. I think it will be fun and interesting to see what the final designs will be - I'm really looking forward to seeing what they make in a limited amount of time; they'll have to work efficiently in order to mass produce. It'd be interesting to see how they approach people (lots of marketing strategies!), and how they assemble the final work with objects they get back from the community. I think it's a great way for the international students to get to know the city of Milan and interact with the people who live here.

The presentation to the panel shall be next Tuesday and the students are stressing out already...this brings back dark memories of uni that resulted in big, red, angry pimples, sigh. I will be one of the panelists and it's great to be on the giving end, the giving of assignments and torture that is. It's only been two days but I've discovered that I love teaching; it's such a rewarding feeling being able to share my knowledge and experiences. I love learning, exploring and experimenting new ideas with my students...I'm excited for them, for their future - I'm excited to see how they'll each have a unique part to play in this world as designers.

One of the groups started experimenting on campus! They gave out free coffee and cookies, and in exchange, the person taking the coffee would have to write a wish on the cups. These students would then use these cups for an installation...what a fun idea! 

Mum's wish: To come back to Italy again! My wish? A secret..hah.

Mum started the ball rolling and a crowd grew around her immediately!

My teaching hours are 10 am to 5 pm. The institutes have provided a service apartment only 10 minutes' walk away, with restaurants, delis, grocers and supermarkets nearby. The apartment is great but unfortunately there's no wifi, which is especially hard for my mum. Since the shops close late, about 9 pm (yes!), mum and I window shop after class, eat dinner and walk around until bedtime which is early, about 11 pm since there's no internet. I think sleeping early has greatly improved my skin!

The weather is just perfect, in the low 20s. Mum hates the cold so she's very happy to be here this time of the year. She said she's living her dream. I offered to pay for this entire trip; about time I start pampering her after all these years of mothering me, haha


  1. Like the pic of you and your mum! Good luck with the workshop. Can't wait to see what the students come up with.
    - Siobhan

  2. You look so much like your mum!

  3. I saw some of these photos via Terri's FaceBook page but I'm utterly rubbish at navigating around that social media. What an exciting adventure! I'm so pleased for you that your talent and hard work have opened doors for you. Please send my regards to your mom and do pop by London when you're in town. And no, it doesn't really matter what she wears when she sees me!

  4. Looks like you are having a good trip , both work n holiday. Do share your projects with your students. Both you and your mother are beautiful!

  5. Sharon C@ Running BrookOctober 31, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    Hi Yi, tell your mum I was wondering why there was no news from
    her on her blog for sooooo long. now i know... no wifi. LOL

    Looks like you are both having fun - feel very happy for u both!
    Make the most out of it. And with regard to enjoying teaching -
    I know how you feel as I recently discovered I love it too.

  6. No wonder your mom's not blogging. Tell her to relax and have a blast. And you enjoy the teaching experience too!


  8. I LOVE YOUR WORK!!!!! YOUR BLOG IS AWESOME!!!! So great that you can take care of your mum..I cant wait until I'm able to do that for mines!
    Much Love
    Chari T (deep fried stilettos)xoxo

  9. visiting here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =)

    http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

  10. You look so, so pretty!
    I wish 2013 is going to be your best year ever!


  11. You're more than creative genius lady..I love your art.