Setting up HAUS KCH, a creative community hub
By Patricia Hului
The plan to transform an unused place to a creative community hub seems like a huge responsibility for a group of local youths in Kuching to take on their shoulders.
But the members of HAUS KCH were determined to convert the vacant space on Lot 216, Jalan Capital Garden into a hub for creative and community activities.
The four-storey building which once served as police living quarters had been abandoned for almost seven years. Without regular maintenance since the mid-2000s, the building had since fallen into a dilapidated state.
The land was then bought over by Jia Li Construction in 2008, during which they renovated the ground floor to include an office space.
The members of HAUS KCH then organised Sup4haus, a soup dinner aimed to promote and encourage the further development of HAUS KCH through a simple sharing of ideas between potential patrons for the project, the Kuching public and of course its own members.
Sup4haus was conceptualised to encourage Kuching people to be involved in the efforts of local arts, cultural and entrepreneurial groups by providing support, networking and collaboration.
Besides serving as a soft launch, the event held on Dec 17 also sought to provide an opportunity for individuals who wanted to give back to the Kuching arts, cultural and entrepreneurial community via monetary support.
The Sup4haus soup dinner event gave these groups a chance to elevate their contributions through crowd-funding, where people donated contributions which, when accumulated into a substantial fund, could significantly contribute to the development and maintenance of HAUS KCH.
Funds will be audited by a local accounting firm and made public for anyone to monitor and view.
The coordinators of the project were Momentum KCH and The Champions, who also called themselves the HAUSkeepers while the members of creative groups who occupied the building are called HAUSmates.
Momentum KCH is a non-profit entity that aims to push Kuching forward through three areas – arts, entrepreneurship and community.
As for The Champions, they are a local independent group of young people dedicated to empower youth with the experience, knowledge and skills necessary to become what they called as agents of change.
HAUSmates so far comprised of 9Lives (visual arts), Timbre (music), PhotoBorneo (photography), Makeramai (3D printing), Eden Atelier (woodworking), Kuching Parkour and Ruai Rolls Kuching partnering with School of Skateboarding (skateboarding).
The building will be split into two sections: for-profit and non-profit.
For-profit is to be set up and managed by Momentum KCH and Jia Li Construction/QC Nett with the ground floor office and first floor reserved exclusively for Jia Li Construction/QC Nett.
The ground floor office is also intended to be used as soup kitchen serving food to homeless and poor in Kuching.
The rest of the building will serve as a non-profit space where performances, workshops, and gatherings for non-profit organisations and event for educational programmes take place.
Project director for HAUS KCH, Syed Rusydie said, “With Sup4haus, we are not just funding the rejuvenation of a decrepit building and transforming it into an artistic and communal focal point for the local youths. We are also showcasing the true spirit of Sarawak’s youth—an inspiring demographic that consciously discards ethnic labels in order to work toward the betterment of their community.”
PhotoBorneo for instance, is an online photography community that promotes photography to everyone.
Through HAUS KCH, PhotoBorneo plans to bring people together to experiment and create portfolio-worthy material for photographers, videographers, makeup artists or anyone who want their work photographed.
9LIVES, a non-profit community serving as a platform to promote and expose artists from Sarawak is looking to create an art studio or gallery where artists gather and exchange ideas while allowing the public to engage with their community more easily.
Kuching is need of a boost with its local music scene, a place where artists can record material and exhibit whilst creating connections through collaborations with other performers both local and foreign.
With HAUS KCH, Timbre wanted to have a dependable platform for artists to breakout into the local entertainment scene, providing technical and educational support from individuals within the industry.
Meanwhile, for Kuching Parkour which typically explores the streets of Kuching making creative use of public space available to hone their skills can bring the spirit of parkour to a more controlled environment at HAUS, allowing its practitioners to train in relative safety.
Rusydie stated, “We are providing these – I would say luxuries and opportunities – by adding all these services in one place. It is a quite daunting task to take on but the prospects are too good to refuse.”
HAUS KCH is also looking forward to open its doors to all university students and even those in secondary schools to use all the services they provide.
For more information, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hauskch/