About Joanne White

I am currently in my third year at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee, studying textile design. Mainly specialising in Knitwear design.

Assignment 4 Generations

Joanne White – Group 6

Assignment 4 – Generations


For this assignment I decided to look a bit further into Factory working conditions in China and the effects they have on workers leaving their families behind. Focusing more to the point on why they do it. It seems to be the daughter/son’s responsibility to provide for the family when in poverty, even though the parents do not like to see their children leave. In some cases, it is merely a way of survival.

 China believes strongly in respecting your elders, as it is known that the oldest person in the family should receive the most respect and honor, as they pass their wisdom onto the younger generation. The Chinese also highly believe that their ancestors are always looking down on them and their actions, perhaps making them more respectful in a way. Caring for one’s family is one of the most important things in a Chinese person’s life. Retirement homes are highly uncommon and placing your parents into one see’s you being labeled as very uncaring and a bad son/daughter. Abandoning your family is one of the most dishonorable things you could do. Even with such degenerative illnesses e.g. Dementia, most people would rather hire a carer than leave a family member alone. Taking care of an ill parent is all the children’s responsibility and those who do not contribute are almost disowned from the family all together.






“According to culture and tradition, children have responsibility for the older members in the family. The word care here means that you as a child have to personally take care of your parents and not let the nurse in the nursing home take care of them. So, it is very common to see a grown adult living with his/her family.”


 Parents were cared for by all of their numerous offspring who relied on one another to work as part of a team but now China’s “one-child” policy is in order, social attitudes of China are changing.

“A family must have a son. Min’s mother had four girls before finally giving birth to a boy; in those early years of the government policy limiting families to one child, enforcement was lax in much of the countryside. But five children would bring heavy financial burdens as the economy opened up in the 1980s and the cost of living rose. As the second- oldest child, Min would bear many of those burdens”.







Factory Girls – Leslie T. Chang

Therefore children of a family in poverty feel it is their responsibility to migrate to the city to work endless hours at a mass producing factory, lifting both themselves and their family normally still back in a rural area out of poverty. You hear a lot of horror stories from workers of these factories but the colleagues are still willing to put themselves through it to make their family proud. 

I watched two short documentaries called “Santa’s Workshop” and “A dollar a day: Made in China”, they focused on working conditions in a mass production toy factories and electronic factories in China

. One Swedish toy factory reports that 95% of their toys are manufactured in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong was part of the British economy before it was reunited with China in 1997 – “enjoying more freedom and democracy than the rest of China”. The reported asked the manager of the toy store what buyers are looking for with their products and he replied with “buyers are interested in pricing”. It seems that all the people involved in running these large businesses are only interested in the profits being made. The film shows a small clip of inside the factory where workers are dealing with hot plastic for nearly 12 hours a day. He mentions how hot the factory is and that it is difficult to breathe.






The whole factory economy seem very secretive in what actually goes on, limiting camera crew to only certain areas and not allowing them to speak to any workers. Looking around the factory they notices signs warning workers that film producers would be in that day. What are they hiding?

The subject of gender is brought up quite often in these programmes and it seems that it is mainly females working under these conditions. It is explained by some workers that sons normally stay at home while the daughters migrate to the city to provide earnings for the family. One boss of the toy company says that 90% of workers are female and this is “because they are easy to manage”. On “A dollar a day” one factory boss mentions how girls are more precise and easier to manage than boys. The workers migrate from rural areas usually because “they have no choice but to come here to get better wages”. Nobody working in the factory is local residents.

Employees in this factory get paid for how fast they work. Those who work the slowest earn about 300 Yuan a month, when the average makes 500 Yuan. They are under a lot of control and follow ruins obediently; any slacking can result in a fine or dismissal. Working with plastic often results in burns or cuts, as a lack of safety equipment is seen. Any major injury caused will not even see compensation being offered.

Although it is very difficult for workers to leave their family behind, living conditions are normally better at the factory (but not much).

“My parents sent me here because they didn’t have the money to buy a new house. I really hated my parents when I had to leave home”

 “The workers live in quarter, normally 12 to 20 a room”. And the only storage for personal items is on their beds.

This young girl on a dollar a day had the intelligence to go to University but her family did not have the money for it. There is a clip where she gets the opportunity to phone her family and arrange a trip home, it is an upsetting scene:

“I miss you so much. I feel so homesick. I want to go home…”

The girl hasn’t even seen her brother in almost four year and it is an emotional time for all when the trip finally goes ahead. She cannot see herself at the factory forever, as she would like to eventually open her own small shop restaurant.

It is crazy what some of the young girls actually do and put themselves through just to help their family out. It really makes you wonder if the young society in Britain would do that for their family today.

Made in China – Assignment 3

Joanne White

Made in China – Assignment 3

For this assignment my group and I decided to look more closely into what items are actually manufactured in China, and if the people who buy them know where they are being made. It all stemmed from Jonathan’s lecture on Wednesday in which we watched a short programme on the massive factory industry in China, where the majority of products are manufactured due to cheaper labour. I never really thought about where my clothes, iPod and everyday essentials were made until after watching that documentary.

 Many people would leave there families and poverty behind to go work for the massive company called EUPA, where everyday essentials are made. They live there, eat there, can get married there and their children attend school there. It is often known as the “Factory City”, in the southeast corner of China. The massive workforce put out nearly 15 million irons a year, and also millions of grills, microwaves, coffee makers and blenders.  The show focuses not only how the goods are made, but how the factory operates. Looking into the mass production of food being made to feed to worked and the cramped living conditions where employees stay. 


“It’s a novel concept for the rest of the world. But it’s become the way of life for China, where a new industrial revolution is unfolding on a scale the world has never seen”



It is seen now as Modern China, with the factory the size of a City and work that never stops. The company is fiercely loyal to their employees but there are also a lot of negatives to working for such a large business. Employees have to literally devote their lives to the company by leaving everything behind. It is an overwhelming atmosphere for new employees, juggling work, school and social life together. There are over 17000 workers, who dedicate roughly 40 hours non -stop work a week to the company, earning only $300 a month. The workplace is also run like a military rank, where the workers all wear the same uniform and line up etc.






But there are still massive positives to working for EUPA. Food is supplied, housing is supplied, opportunities such as sports are supplied, and they even encourage work relationships.

The thing I found most bizarre was that people who were in a relationship at work, actually wanted to get married in a mass wedding. Numerous couples would participate in a mass wedding, paid for by EUPA as it was seen as good luck.







Our group all went down to the Overgate shopping Centre in Dundee, to ask people we did not know if they knew any idea where there products were manufactured. The majority has no idea at all.








1) Do you have any idea where the majority of your products are produced?
2) Are you willing to pay a bit more money for clothes if you knew they were made in better conditions?
3) Do you own any Apple products and/or know where they were manufactured?

Female, 23 year old

1) Probably not

2) Possibly, it’s a fairer way

3) Mac computer, I phone and didn’t know where was made. Guessed the USA


Female, 20 year old

1) No idea where from

2) Yes willing to pay more. She actually stopped shopping at Primark all together when their manufacturing process was exposed.

3) IPod. had no idea.


Male, 25 year old

1) Guessed India

2) He would pay more. Never crossed his mind when purchasing something

3) Doesn’t own any. Guessed Japan


Female – 17 years old

1) Not a clue

2) N/a

3) IPhone


Female – 69 years old

1) Assumed China.

2) Would have been willing to pay more for certain products if they were produced more fairly and working conditions were better.

3) Didn’t own any Apple products. Had just bought a HP computer and was happy with it. Assumed the parts were made abroad.


We then decided to go into some shops and see what Employees had to say about the manufacturing of the products they sell…


Male – 22 years old – Apple Shop Worker

1) Yes. Worked in the Apple shop so knew quite a lot about where the components were built and how poor the conditions of the workers are.

2) Would definitely pay more for the product, even if built in the west and cost more. He stated that the love for the product was the main reason, and if working conditions were improved or even moved to the west, he would still buy them.

3) Yes. Pretty much owns every Apple product known on Earth. Knows they are built in factories in China.


Female – 23 years old – Works in SuperDry

1) When we first asked her if she knew where the clothes she was selling were made from she replied with “I’m not sure were allowed to tell you that”. We stated that it says on the label. Then she went onto say that the majority was made in China.

2) We asked her if she were to have the choice of buying the same polo shirt, one made in China and one made in America, would she pay more for the one that was made with better working conditions and fairer pay. She eventually stated that she would, after discussing she had done a college course in fashion and discovered that even though Primark got exposed for the working conditions their products were being made in, that Sports shops such as JJB were no better.

3) She didn’t own any Apple products, but assumed they were made in Asia.


We also had a snoop around Topman and Superdry to see where the majority of their clothes were manufactured.

Topshop clearly labeled at the neck where that item had been made but in Superdry it was more difficult to find. We also discovered that it was mainly the thick coats that had been produced in China. These costs were selling from £80 right up to £110 in Superdry. But made you think, did it really cost that much money to make? The other popular countries were Mauritius, Turkey, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In Superdry most Clothing explained on the label that the item had been designed in Britain but made in China.

 We came to the conclusion that barely anybody that we interviewed had no idea where any of their items were manufactured. Even shop workers didn’t have much more knowledge where the items they were selling, were made. I feel like this subject should be more looked into, as people genuinely did seem interested and would be willing to pay a bit more for a product made more ethnically.

Silk Production in China

Chinoiserie is a French word that means “in the Chinese taste”. It is used to describe a European style of a decorative ornament, mainly popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it still looks great today. Oriental scenes and images were bound onto textiles, wallpapers, porcelain and the famous lacquered painted furniture. If you owned a piece of Chinoiserie at the time you were seen as very fashionable. The thing that makes Chinoiserie different is the tremendous range of decorative details, including intricately detailed pieces with layer upon layer of pattern. Elaborate traditional signs, tassels, landscapes, bells, and numerous animals were used to create these patterns.

Back when transportation was difficult, exotic goods such as silk, carpets and porcelain reached Europe via the trading route known as the “Silk Road”, which carried goods by cart or camel. Chinoiserie decoration combines real elements with fantasy, to give a more unique design.

Back in the nineteenth century, entire rooms were covered with the Chinoiserie style, to give of the impression of wealth. It was seen to be more of a wealthy women’s taste (as lacquer was extremely expensive) and would realistically be seen in a dressing room, bedroom or drawing room, in large stately homes.

“Taking tea (perhaps the major commodity brought back from China) was becoming a fundamental part of polite society and also stimulated the growth of our ceramics industry. Potters endeavoured to discover the secret ingredients for making Chinese porcelain and developed their own forms for teapots, bowls and cups, decorated with imaginative chinoiserie motifs, whilst silversmiths created exquisite pieces such as caddies, pots and epergnes, also decorated in the Chinese style. Playful ‘Chinese’ structures, such as pavilions (with upswept roofs, bells and dragon finials), as well as seats and bridges, first appeared as features in the fashionable gardens of private and royal estates.”

Asian Art, Chinese Whispers: Chinoiserie in Britain 1650 -1930

Traditional Chinese textiles reveal that nearly every image or scene on a Chinese robe, would have a particular symbolic culture. They aimed to make to robe not to just be seen as a decorative piece but something of social standing and tell a historic story or moral message. Emperor’s robes consisted of ‘Twelve symbols’. The symbols consist of, in order of importance, the sun, the moon, the constellation, mountain, dragon, flower creature, sacrificial vessel, water, plant, flames, grain, axe-head, and the “Fu”. The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), however elevated the symbol of the dragon, as the main symbol used on imperial robes.

Textile Designer with a Chinoiserie style – Vivian Cohen

Chinoiserie Birds – This hand painted textile collection was inspired by Chinese bird and cloud motifs, traditional found on the embroidered textiles. The saturated, multi-coloured palette makes this a statement piece in the collection.

Intricate Chinese textile art ranges from large silk embroidered wall hangings, table frontals to small panels or garmented. Natural images and traditional designs appear, even amongst geometric patterns.

“China is so far ahead of other countries as a production source for clothing that its dominance seems likely for many years. But it is not all easy going for Chinese manufacturers. Most recently, China has been seeing a shortage of labour, high has been fuelling salary rises and is leading to higher apparel prices. Factories in southern China talk of employees who simply don’t return from annual holidays. The new generations of young factory workers are more ambitious than their predecessors: they want a better quality of life and are keen to set up their own businesses back home in the inland and western regions of China, from where they migrated originally in search of work. Wage costs are steadily being pushed upwards, reflecting the progress China has made in recent years.

A poll in the China Daily newspaper in April revealed that 90 percent of 300 companies surveyed had raised wages in recent months to attract workers. The options for companies sourcing from China include: reluctantly accepting price increase; sourcing from cheaper regions of the country, particularly the inland; or sourcing more from cheaper locations in Asia.”

Textile View Magazine.

There are also more problems for Chinese clothing companies, especially in the region of Southern China, where the majority of clothing and footwear is made. The government is also under a large strain to allow its currency (the Yuan) to strengthen. Emerging economies such as Brazil and India are especially showing a large competitive streak.

Silk printing and weaving

Silk was one of the luxurious items which were transported along the “Silk Road”. It was seen as a prized good and is produced by various insects but the largest quantity comes from the silk worm. They feed on mulberry leaves and then when ready form a cocoon of Silk before pupating. The threads are then unwound to form a single strand of raw silk. This fine thread is the basic component of all yarn and fabric.

The silk strands are then weaved together by interlacing the warp and weft yarns to create the end fabric. There are two main types of silk fabrics: those of which the yarn has been dyed before weaving and those when the fabric is dyed after weaving. In both cases when the yarn/fabric is being dyed at boiling temperatures, it allows the gum (sericin), from the worm to be removed off of the fibre. A pattern can then be transferred onto the piece of fabric using different methods of printing.

Tourism in China

Made in China

Assignment One – Group 6

Joanne White – Tourism in China        

How is china “sold” to potential tourists? What images, stereotypes and places are featured?

After doing some research on tourism in China, I discovered that China was never that large a country and had only greatly expanded over the past few decades. There are now roughly 1,338,299,500 living in China today and it is thought to be the third most visited country in the world! With nearly everything manufactured in China nowadays there has been an increase in technology, in people wanting to visit the Country and an increase in hotel construction. There has been a large change in China over the years and it is becoming more modern every day.

 I would like to find out if it really is a holiday to enjoy or are you just a tourist, lost in a big city. The main tourist attractions include: The Great Wall of China and The Forbidden City – Beijing (which used to be off-limits but now open to anyone). The cost of visiting these attractions are approximately £4 per person and cheaper rates for students, which in comparison to tourist attractions over here are very cheap!

Even though China is never I place I’ve been interested in going too before, the more I learn about it, the more appealing it sounds. I think the wide range of food out there would be incredible but also being able to see people living a different lifestyle than us.

I went on the website Travel sphere to see how much it would be for me to go there on a tourist package holiday. For 8 nights in March it came to from £1299:

“Discover the wonders of Shanghai, a fascinating blend of Chinese and colonial architecture, then head to Xian to see the incredible Terracotta Army. Your holiday ends in Beijing, where we include a tour of the city, visiting Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and more.”

But I wanted to know if it was that incredible when you got there!

Tour packages are normally included within the price but I noticed on the descriptions some days you have “free time”… what if you were buy yourself and knew no Mandarin? Would you know where to go? Is it a country really suitable for tourists?

I would love to go over there and just see people living in a completely different environment, different cultures and different ways of living. I find the idea of the language barrier being difficult there quite interesting, as many Chinese do not speak English due to the education system.


What is China really like?

By Einar Tangen , for BizTimes

Published September 5, 2008

   “At the end of their trip, each of my guests has said that their experiences differed sharply from their expectations and that they had enjoyed my suggested excursions.”

I think a lot of people are surprised when they get there and it not what they had expected. I heard some mixed reactions from people I know who have been there. Whether it being a holiday or living there. I can imagine it being busy 24/7 and a country that never sleeps. I decided to ask my cousin Blue a couple of questions as she lived there for a year.


Blue Wilson interview (cousin)

Sheffield University, studying Business with Mandarin.

Gap year living in Beijing, China


How is China sold to potential tourists?

“I think by the culture and history China has. Beijing has loads of it. For example the Forbidden City, great wall etc. it also has really modern buildings too. But I think a lot of people go to see the old stuff. Also the food, different types from all over the world. Images and stereotypes, food – people always think it’s like what you get in Chinese takeaways but it’s really different. Food we normally eat is Hong Kong style food. Also the people are actually quite short! Again that’s normally in Hong Kong; in Northern China people are taller. There are a lot of people, subways are really packed. Cheap things, loads of markets – loads of fake things, bags and DVDs etc.”

 How does it match to make China a modern country?

“Still massive inequalities; see really poor people and really rich people. Massive modern buildings but also still small traditional buildings. 24 hour country especially the bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai. So much to do, nightlife is also amazing. Lights everywhere, outside restaurants etc. They really like Western things like clothing brands, food etc. these things are often more expensive in China. “

Did you struggle with the language barrier?

“Language barrier is very difficult – if you’re in a shop, restaurant etc. people won’t speak English. Need a Chinese local person to guide you. Taxi drivers don’t speak English so you need to have things written down in Chinese to give the driver. Only uni students really speak English, so young people. Quite rare for older people to speak English.

I loved living in China. So much to do and so cheap, subway was 20p a journey, typical meal about £2.00 in a restaurant. Amazing culture, friendly people. Such a huge country with so much to see and do. Sometimes the language was hard to understand though.”


Blue’s Photographs