When Art And Entrepreneurship Converge
An artist with a technopreneurship degree may seem like an odd combination – but not for Dr. Xie Xiaoming. All his life, Dr. Xie has explored the arts, starting with paintings in his youth to eventually becoming a recognised name in the ceramic arts scene. To Dr. Xie, continued cross-disciplinary learning is the best way to expand one’s knowledge. In fact, the business lessons from MSc TIP helped him to express more creativity and explore new verticals never before thought possible before.
Dr Xie Xiaoming’s foray into the arts started as a child when he first picked up the brush and learnt to paint. From that, he moved on to ceramics, and was enrolled into the nation’s only institute of higher learning dedicated to the study of ceramic arts. His country-topping results and passion for the craft eventually cemented the full-fledged ceramic master a place as an associate professor of ceramics at the renowned Nanjing Normal University.
For Dr Xie, there is a complete correlation in pursuing his creative passion as a career. “As an artist, there is no need to differentiate between work and life; my works are my life, and my life is dedicated to my works,” he explained. “Each day is an opportunity for new creative works.”
The artist and craftsman’s belief ties in with his motto of constantly striving for creativity and possessing a teachable attitude, which extends to a desire for continuous learning and further education – even in vastly different disciplines. “Restlessness is in the essence of an artist’s bones, and innovation is the wisdom that accompanies throughout their lives,” he said. “I’ve always considered drawing from the merits of my profession in the creative industry to practice an enterprising mindset.”
Geared with this eagerness to learn beyond his comfort zone, Dr Xie decided to enrol with NTU’s MSc TIP in 2006. As a believer in cross-domain learning and application of knowledge, Dr Xie also hoped that a formal education would help him better balance his worldview, and convert his knowledge into value for the society.
“The ability to innovate is our language and what sets us artists apart from others,” he said. “By mastering more areas of study – like enrolling into MSc TIP, and completing my doctorate in South Korea – I feel that I am able to express more creativity in my work.”
The economic slowdown in recent years was also when Dr Xie was able to put what he learnt into practice. He elaborated, “While the artistic industry was affected by the economy, I was able to translate my skills and crafts into tangible products – be it through the establishment of a nationwide ceramic training programme, expanding into the corporate gifts market, or by providing the Jingdezhen experience to visitors through large-scale events.”
“Through these innovations, we were able to open up new markets and explore new verticals, and create greater value in the society through ways previously not explored,” Dr Xie added.
After returning to China upon the completion of the MSc TIP in Singapore, he continued to apply the technical knowledge gained through the course, to the field of art education. “I’ve even used economics and business studies approach to spur on and encourage the students in their artistic creations. This not only enriches the learning experience, but also helps the students develop a deeper thought on sustaining their crafts when they step out into the society in the future,” he added.
The seamless integration of his unique teaching methods and these forward-looking thought processes has brought him much recognition. Aside from being named ‘the most popular teacher’ in his faculty, he also received affirmation by Jingdezhen city, who honoured him as one of the city’s ‘Top Ten Outstanding Youths’.
Formal recognitions aside, what Dr Xie treasures even more about his MSc TIP experience was gaining a completely new perspective on his work. “I’m able to step out from my creative circle and view my own work from other people’s shoes,” he said. “This has allowed me to see my own mistakes and deficiencies more clearly, and from there, to learn and improve.”
Located in Nanjing, the ancient capital of six dynasties in Chinese history, Nanjing Normal University (NNU) is one of the provincial key universities of “Project 211” under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Jiangsu Provincial Government. Today’s NNU consists of 26 schools and 2 independent colleges with an enrollment of 10,830 undergraduates, 9,584 graduate students and 1,246 doctorate candidates.