British designer Marie Hill has been working in South East Asia since 1992, whilst working for South East Asian Outreach a British NGO she set up a design craft skills and income generation project in Phnom Penh. In 2001 she set up her own social enterprise outlet in Siem Reap to cater to tourists visiting Angkor Wat. Here custom orders are made for hotels and boutiques and items are sold in the museum shop, the mines museum and boutique hotels.
Marie has first hand knowledge and experience in the design crafts industry where she discovered the remarkable, skills and talents of Cambodian artisans that she works with. She admires and promotes their intricate and exquisite work especially amongst the textile weavers, metal smiths and carvers.
Marie studied 3D design at the college of art and design in Plymouth, England. Marie’s main focus in design today is in design and product development, digital design, photographic manipulation and illustration/graphics. Asia has strongly influenced her work. she is presently distance learning for a M.Sc. in poverty reduction with London University School of oriental and African studies to enable her to be more effective in her work.
My journey started in the early nineties in a refugee camp working with Cambodia, Laotian and Vietnamese refugees, two years later the UN organized elections so I moved to Phnom Penh and set up an arts and crafts association, many of my first staff were the repatriated refugees from the camps. The journey like Cambodia’s roads have not always been smooth there has been many struggles, obstacles conflicts and misunderstandings but with patience, resolution, love, respect and compassion for one another we have managed to overcome unbelievable obstacles.
Panat Nikom, Thailand, refugee camp, with Cambodian Laotian and Vietnamese refugees.
The boy on the right hand side always visited me in the camp with his sister no 5 both have been working me since they returned to Cambodia 20 years ago. The boy is now a man and a skilled jeweller with a wife and two children sister no 5 is an artisan.
Above: 1997 Coup
Plymouth college of art and design
(SOAS) is part of the University of London, and the only higher institution in the UK specialising in the study and research of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. SOAS is unique in combining disciplinary expertise, language scholarship and regional focus. SOAS scholars grapple with pressing issues such as democracy, development, human rights, identity, legal systems, poverty, religion and social change.