UNESCO TechCul Initiative 2020 Winners Announced

© UNESCO Bangkok Office

UNESCO Bangkok Office has announced the thirteen winners of the TechCul Initiative 2020, an innovative idea challenge co-hosted with FossAsia and sponsored by Tencent, Huawei, ICHCAP, etc. on 9 January, 2021.

TechCul Initiative 2020 was launched to bring together tech and culture leaders with startups and entrepreneurs to develop innovative digital solutions and win-win business models to address challenges faced by the culture and creative sector.

On 13 December 2020, twenty-five creative ideas were submitted from twelve Asia-Pacific countries in a follow up to the Ideaton held to brainstorm with and provide professional advice to the potential applicants.

The final pitch session was hosted online on last Saturday night with applicants’ video presentation and Q&A session to clarify the issues raised by the jury from the partners and sponsors. Final evaluation was then made upon seven criteria; relevance, business potential, solution design, technical implementation, scalability, collaboration, and inclusiveness.

At the end of the event, eighteen prizes were awarded to thirteen teams from eleven countries. ICHCAP named four teams from Thailand, Hong Kong SAR in China, Vietnam, and Singapore as ichLinks Prize winners and awarded $2,000 to each of them.

The Roots Routes, a social travel companion platform that introduces key cultural and travel destinations, was awarded five prizes for its unique combination of Thai cultures and history with interesting storytelling and presentation methods. Local gourmet restaurants and handicraft shops are also introduced throughout its itineraries as an integrated travel information solution.

The Roots Routes, a social travel companion platform from Thailand © UNESCO Bangkok Office

Wah! Collective was awarded the Gear Up and ichLinks Prizes for its online platform presented as an initiative to support rural communities and cultural sectors in Hong Kong SAR, China by recruiting and developing mixed-mode virtual village tours and cultural workshops for the artists, cultural workers, and general public. E-commerce website will also be made available for the direct online sales between the potential buyers in the cities with the craftsmen in remote villages, further delivering financial and social benefits to the ICH communities.

Wah! Collective, an initiative to bridge urban and rural communities © UNESCO Bangkok Office

Hat Boi 101 is an integrated heritage platform presented by a local team named Cultural Fish to promote the Vietnamese traditional opera. The platform is largely characterized by its extensive online education, exhibitions and performances with lively videos and eye-catching illustrations for those with limited accessibility to cultural experiences.

Hat Boi 101, an integrated heirtage platform for Vietnmese traditional opera © UNESCO Bangkok Office

Lastly, Way of Life is a complex roll-playing game (RPG) pitched by an individual applicant from Singapore, suggesting that a player can actively engage with ICH through various interactions with virtual characters and interesting quests based on stories themed on culture and heritage. E-commerce store will also be made available to directly connect the players with the ICH communities that potentially trade their products through the game platform. This model was particularly recognized for presenting ICH as a key source of content development in the game industry.

Way of Life, an ICH-themed Roll Playing Game © UNESCO Bangkok Office

In 2021, ICHCAP is joining hands with the four ichLinks prize winners to embody their ideas and concepts into the final outcomes. The final outcomes will be made available for the public on the ichLinks platform at the end of this year.

Ms. Duong Bich Hanh, Program Specialist and Chief of Culture Unit of the UNESCO Bangkok Office said that the TechCul Initiatve has presented new modes of digital technologies that can be adapted to culture and arts and bring them back on track as it was before the global pandemic. Mario Behling, the co-founder of FossAsia, expressed his anticipation that the new digital solutions suggested by twenty-five teams would help overcome the today’s crisis and create more opportunities in the culture and creative industries.

ICHCAP also conveyed its strong will to initiate additional efforts to develop a cooperative framework that can foster convergence between culture and technology. More programs and activities will follow to use a variety of digital technologies to enhance public accessibility to ICH information and further contribute to the ICH safeguarding throughout the Asia-Pacific region.