International Language of Creativity — a Day of Cultural Exchange, Entrepreneurship, Design and Technology
Bridging diverse cultures can pose a significant challenge, particularly when the spoken and written languages differ substantially. However, when done right, it can be hugely rewarding. In the end of July, our studio in Tallinn welcomed 12 Japanese youngsters from Uda city in Nara prefecture in Japan to join local vivinauts for a day of workshops to spark entrepreneurial mindset and creativity.
Through joint explorations and experiments new friendships were formed that will undoubtedly continue growing over time.
Imagine — in 5–10 years from now these youngsters from Estonia and Japan building world-changing products together.
Examining the course of the day and the workshops the youngsters engaged in provides us with a closer perspective. As the youngsters from Uda and Tallinn met, their origins in diverse cultures, characterised by distinct languages and writing systems, became evident. However, through creative workshops, they unearthed shared ground that exceeded their initial assumptions.
Within a single day, these youngsters managed to establish a common language, both in the literal and metaphorical sense, while also cultivating fresh bonds of friendship. While delving into subjects like entrepreneurship, design, and technology, the most valuable insight they gained was the potential of connection and mutual comprehension.
We kicked the day off with a brief presentation about Vivita, our philosophy and values and introduces the course of the day.
Every attendee received a bilingual name tag, furnished in both English and Japanese. The Estonian youths extended their assistance in transcribing the Japanese children’s names into the Latin alphabet, while reciprocally, the Japanese youngsters transcribed the Estonian children’s names into Kanji characters. This name tag initiative served as an exceptional catalyst, fostering connections among youngsters hailing from distinct cultures. Collaboratively engaged in this task, they not only formed bonds but also began to discern their shared traits instead of focusing on disparities. A special acknowledgment goes to Nao, who diligently provided Japanese-English translation throughout the entire day.
But there was no time to waste — and hence we embarked on to our first workshop of the day: Wall Clocks Made out of Recycled Plastic.
Participants were organised into groups, and preferences for both the hue of shredded plastic and design were established. Among these groups, one opted to create a wall-clock amalgamating the Estonian and Japanese flags, albeit facing a shortage of black plastic.
Nonetheless, this obstacle proved inconsequential, given that Vivistop studio is also the home to Precious Plastic Estonia’s plastic recycling enclave. Guided by the expertise of vivinaut Sass, everyone could learn how to use the plastic shredder and gain hands-on experience with the apparatus. With this hurdle surmounted, the creative process could seamlessly resume.
Another team used the laser cutter to cut out a heart shape from already recycled plastic sheet. When the clocks were ready, it was time to assemble the clock together by adding the clock hands. Some teams managed to get their clocks ready faster so they crafted a box which Japanese youth could bring back to their home to Uda city. At the end of the workshop, four unique wall clocks were completed!
Not only did the kids have fun crafting their own wall clocks, they also learned valuable lessons about sustainability and the importance of reducing plastic waste.
They got hands-on experience using tools and machines, developing their fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities. The teamwork aspect of the activity also helped them practice communication and collaboration. Overall, it was an enriching experience that combined fun and learning in a meaningful way.
Next up, it was time to go and have a lunch at Fotografiska photo art centre— Vivita’s neighbour and collaboration partner.
Hikari from Fotografiska had kindly prepared labels for food both in English and in Japanese. Together with Carlo Vivita’s and Fotografiska’s joint asset on food science, they introduced the Fotografiska restaurant’s rooftop garden and the zero-waste philosophy of the kitchen.
Carlo emphasised that the diversity of our nationalities, cultures, and languages — spanning English, Italian, Estonian, and Japanese — is immaterial in comparison to the significance of one’s mindset and the presence of supportive individuals in one’s circle.
After lunch, vivinauts introduced their personal entrepreneurial projects that they have been working on Vivita.
Karolin (13y/o) shared her journey as a young entrepreneur and about building her startup Mastermind which develops DIY science kits for kids .
Jaan (13y/o) loves maths and doesn’t understand why this isn’t the case for every other child. However, he recognizes the universal appeal of sweets. This awareness has led him to work on an invention: a machine that dispenses candy as a reward upon successfully solving five distinct mathematical equations.
Aged 14, Silver, and at 12, Sass are youngsters with a keen fascination for financial literacy. During Vista Global programme they collaboratively designed and prototyped an app for youngsters for tracking finances, managing budgets, investing, saving money, and receiving insights on how to be smart with money.
Next up was a workshop where the aim was to design a distinctive deck chairs for Telliskivi Creative City that would foster a deeper sense of community.
This enjoyable challenge was designed to encourage the children to collaborate in teams, granting them the autonomy to handpick their materials. With complete access to the extensive array of tools and resources within the Vivistop studio — from various machines and materials such as spray paints, acrylics, and a digital cutter — the youngsters were empowered to unleash their creative impulses. As a result of the workshop, Telliskivi outdoor area is now furnished with 7 unique and fun deck chairs for all visitors of the area to enjoy.
The pinnacle of the day was the assembly of a do-it-yourself dragon, driven by Vivita’s proprietary tech — the Viviware Cell.
Indeed, you read that right! The workshop’s objective was to seamlessly integrate technology and design. We successfully constructed a dragon of life-size proportions, now soaring beneath the canopy of Vivistop Telliskivi’s studio. Adorning the entirety of the dragon sculpture with Japanese paper, we then established a connection between the dragon and the Viviware Cell, enabling it to take flight within the studio ceiling.
The dragon sculpture was covered with traditional Japanese paper, which added a special touch to the project. “Washi” is the Japanese word for traditional paper, which is made from renewable plant fibers like mulberry, hemp, and gampi. Washi has a long history in Japan, dating back to over 1,300 years. It has been an important part of Japanese culture and aesthetic. We were lucky to use the paper delivered straight from Uda city. This paper is made from high-quality materials and is known for its durability and strength. There are several special techniques used to make paper in Uda city, and the process has been passed down from generation to generation. This makes it ideal for a variety of uses — including making this massive dragon! This workshop combined traditional and modern elements, using both paper and technology to create something unique and meaningful.
Across the course of the day and amid the workshop sessions, it was truly remarkable to witness the children employing tools like Google Translate and Deepl to facilitate seamless communication. Observing the participants embrace these resources to interact was heartwarming, fostering connections among them. With any luck, these newfound connections will endure over time, allowing them to remain in touch moving forward.
By bringing together diverse perspectives and experiences, we can create new solutions and approaches to global challenges.
The Vivita x Uda City Summer School Day serves as a prime illustration of the advantageous outcomes that can stem from global cooperation. Through partnerships akin to that of Vivita and Uda City, the potential to furnish children and adolescents with resources and insights that would otherwise remain elusive becomes tangible.
It is definitely crucial to start these projects from early ages, because it allows children to develop a global mindset and grow up with an appreciation for other cultures and perspectives. It will help to instil a sense of empathy and compassion in children, which will have long-lasting benefits. When children engage in positive interactions with individuals from varying backgrounds, their likelihood of evolving into open-minded, inclusive, and tolerant adults in the future significantly increases.
International collaboration does not just lead to immediate benefits, it also helps to create long-term relationships and networks. These connections possess the potential to spark future collaborations, partnerships, and friendships. By building these networks, we can create a more interconnected and peaceful world.
A heartfelt thank you to Mai and Key from Next Innovation and Uda city for their support and collaboration. Without them, this event would not have been possible. Thank you to all the vivinauts from Tallinn and children from Uda city who took part in the Summer School. Your enthusiasm, creativity, and curiosity made it an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.
Let’s keep inspiring the next generation of innovators!
Text: Vivita Estonia
Photos: Vivita Estonia, Next Innovation