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Viola Gaskell

Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
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About Viola
Viola Gaskell is a journalist based in Hong Kong. Her work includes photography and writing on various elements of Hong Kong culture including the wealth of traditional and modern storylines that collide on a daily basis. 

Viola graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Visual & Multimedia Journalism from the Brooks Institute in 2012. Since then she has lived and worked in New York City, Seattle, Maui, and Hong Kong - where she is now available for freelance work.
Languages
English
Services
Feature Stories Content Writing Interview (Print / Radio / Podcast)
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Skills
Current Affairs Music Health & Fitness
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Portfolio

In a Historic Honolulu Home, a Lamp Maker Finds a New Muse

12 Mar 2024  |  flipboard.com
Hawai‘i creative individuals are attracted to the historic Johnson house, with Brennen Cunningham finding inspiration in its enduring nature to elevate his craft.

How Hawaiʻi Chefs Are Feeding Thousands of Maui Fire Victims

11 Sep 2023  |  Eater
Following devastating fires in Maui, Hawaiʻi, chefs and the culinary community have rallied to provide support and nourishment to the victims. With over 115 people killed, hundreds missing, and more than 2,200 buildings destroyed, grassroots efforts have been crucial in the absence of immediate government response. Organizations like Chef Hui and Common Ground Collective, alongside local chefs and businesses, have prepared and distributed thousands of meals and produce boxes. Efforts include sourcing local food, maintaining quality, and ensuring sustainability through federal and state funding. The community's resilience and solidarity are evident as they work to feed those affected and support the local food industry amidst a drop in tourism.

Why Hāna Kū Is Unlike Any Other Food Festival

16 May 2023  |  fluxhawaii.com
Hāna Kū is a unique food festival in East Maui that brings together Hawai‘i chefs and the local community to celebrate and integrate traditional hunting, fishing, and farming practices. Organized by Ala Kukui, a Native Hawaiian-run retreat center, the festival fosters a deep connection between chefs and local hunter-gatherers. Chefs like Mark Noguchi, Isaac Bancaco, and others participate in conservation efforts, learn from the community, and cook using locally sourced ingredients. The event emphasizes the importance of cultural heritage, community engagement, and the perpetuation of traditional knowledge and subsistence practices.

How Hawaiʻi Farms Are Bringing Local Food to Diners’ Plates

11 Apr 2023  |  Eater
Hawaiʻi's local food movement is gaining momentum with an increase in locally grown mushrooms, reducing reliance on imports and supporting self-sufficiency. Farmers like Fung Yang of Small Kine Farm and pioneers like Bob Stanga have led the way, with chefs such as Dave Caldiero and Ed Kenney of Mud Hen Water prioritizing local ingredients. The state's isolation and historical reliance on imported food are being challenged by a tripling of mushroom farms from 2012 to 2017 and a significant contribution to the local economy. The article highlights the challenges and successes of local mushroom farming, the commitment of chefs to source locally, and the broader trend of returning to indigenous crops alongside new additions like mushrooms.

The Last Dance: Hong Kong’s Indie Music Venues Struggle to Survive

10 Apr 2023  |  Hong Kong Free Press HKFP
The article by Viola Gaskell discusses the closure of Premium Sofa Club, a popular underground music venue in Hong Kong, due to unsustainable rent increases and the challenges faced by indie music venues in the city. The owner, Lucas Luraka, started the club out of frustration with the mainstream club scene and the lack of venues playing music he enjoyed. The article also touches on the plight of another indie venue, Hidden Agenda, which is shutting down after conflicts with authorities and the arrest of its owner and foreign musicians. The piece highlights the difficulties of running indie venues in Hong Kong's regulatory environment and the disparity in treatment between mainstream and underground clubs. Lucas Luraka expresses hope for the future of electronic music in Hong Kong but remains uncertain about finding a venue that matches his tastes, hinting at the possibility of opening another club.

Buses, School Safety And Student Lunches All On The Agenda For Legislative Education Committees

31 Dec 2022  |  civilbeat.org
Hawaii's legislative committees on education are set to address campus safety, transportation, career education, and early learning in the 2023 session. Key issues include preparedness for active shooter incidents, sexual violence on college campuses, expanding early learning funding, and facilitating out-of-state teacher hiring. Legislators support raising teacher pay and expanding career and technical education. Bills are also being proposed to make community college free, strengthen civic education, and improve school lunches with local produce. Transportation challenges in rural areas due to driver shortages are a priority, with some schools resorting to using vans. Conservative bills on controversial topics are expected to be introduced but are unlikely to pass. The education reporting is supported by Chamberlin Family Philanthropy.

Ambitious State Plan For Expansion Of Pre-K Hinges On Boosting Workforce

01 Dec 2022  |  www.civilbeat.org
Hawaii is set to expand access to preschool with significant funding and legislative support. Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke emphasizes the need for more funding to bolster the workforce, while Kerrie Urosevich advocates for higher wages for early childhood educators. The state aims to double or triple the workforce by 2032 to achieve universal pre-K. Efforts include the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact and the Hawaii Promise Program. The state is also considering partnerships with private providers to make preschool more accessible. The mixed delivery system is seen as crucial for meeting the state's educational needs.

Hawaii Schools Are Struggling To Help English Learners Recover From Pandemic Setbacks

28 Oct 2022  |  newsfromthestates.com
Hawaii schools are facing difficulties in assisting English learners to regain language proficiency lost during the pandemic. Virtual classes and reduced social opportunities have led to a significant drop in students on track for language proficiency, with only 4% of high school seniors meeting goals in 2022, compared to 16% five years earlier. The state has 530 teachers for English learners, but only 30% are highly qualified in TESOL. Students proficient in English before high school are more likely to succeed academically and economically. The DOE is focusing on teacher training to improve outcomes, with a directive for all teachers to earn TESOL credits by the 2024-25 school year. However, the achievement gap persists, and other factors such as poverty and living conditions also affect student performance.

Hawaii Schools Are Struggling To Help English Learners Recover From Pandemic Setbacks

01 Oct 2022  |  civilbeat.org
Hawaii public schools are facing difficulties in assisting English learners (EL) to regain language proficiency after the pandemic. Virtual classes during the pandemic posed challenges for students like Rianna Milne, leading to a decline in proficiency rates. In 2022, only 4% of high school seniors met language proficiency goals, a significant drop from 16% five years earlier. The state has 530 teachers for EL students, but only 30% are highly qualified in TESOL. Students proficient in English before high school tend to have better academic outcomes. Strategies to improve proficiency include support programs, bilingual teacher aids, and content-based ESL classes. The DOE is focusing on increasing ESL training for teachers, with a TESOL certificate program and a directive for all teachers to earn TESOL credits. Despite these efforts, the achievement gap persists, and factors such as poverty and home situations also impact EL students' success.

Hawaii Public School Teachers To See Long-Awaited Pay Raises In November

01 Oct 2022  |  civilbeat.org
Nearly 9,200 Hawaii public school teachers are set to receive significant pay raises in November, following the Legislature's approval to address pay inequity and retention issues. The raises, which are retroactive to the start of the school year, will benefit about 72% of the teaching workforce, with the most experienced teachers seeing increases up to $18,056 annually. The pay compression problem, which began during the 2008-2009 recession, resulted in many experienced educators not reaching the top of the pay scale. The Department of Education's Superintendent Keith Hayashi presented the final plan for the salary adjustments, with overdue payments expected to be issued in a lump sum. The Hawaii State Teachers Association noted that the resolution of the pay compression issue has encouraged some teachers to postpone retirement, thereby aiding in teacher retention during a worsening shortage.

Hong Kong medic first to be charged with inciting secession, terrorism

04 Jul 2020  |  WAtoday
Tong Ying-kit, a 23-year-old Hong Kong medic, is the first person charged under the new national security law imposed by Beijing, facing accusations of inciting secession and terrorism. The UN Human Rights Office and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed concerns over the law's vagueness and rapid implementation, with Canada suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The law could lead to life imprisonment or extradition to mainland China for various offences. Over 300 people have been arrested since the law's enactment, and pro-democracy activist Nathan Law has fled Hong Kong to avoid persecution.

Hong Kong medic first to be charged with inciting secession, terrorism

04 Jul 2020  |  The Age
A Hong Kong medic, Tong Ying-kit, has become the first individual charged under China's new national security law, accused of inciting secession and terrorism. The law, criticized for its vague definitions and potential for misuse, has sparked international condemnation, including from the UN Human Rights Office and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who suspended Canada's extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The law's implementation has led to numerous arrests and the disbanding of pro-democracy groups, with prominent activist Nathan Law fleeing the city to continue his activism abroad.

Kadoorie Hill: how a historic enclave became one of Hong Kong’s most desirable residential areas

30 Mar 2020  |  www.scmp.com
Kadoorie Hill, a neighborhood in Kowloon, Hong Kong, has transformed from a granite mountainside into one of the city's most desirable residential areas with a history of nearly a century. The concept of a British-style 'garden city' was introduced to Kowloon in 1922, and by 1933, Kadoorie Hill began to develop. Influential figures in Hong Kong's history have resided here, enjoying the greenery and proximity to the urban center. Despite the surrounding urbanization, the original land lease has protected Kadoorie Hill from redevelopment, preserving its historic status. The exclusive homes, often leased for long periods, reflect a lifestyle from a bygone era, with spacious designs and natural surroundings.

Hong Kong’s Cha Chaan Tengs

11 Feb 2020  |  Whetstone Magazine
Cha chaan tengs, iconic Canto-Western diners in Hong Kong, are known for their affordable fusion food and cultural significance. Despite not being the healthiest or classiest option, they are cherished by locals and tourists alike. The cafes originated in the 1950s, offering local versions of British cuisine. Their popularity peaked during the 1997 financial crisis, and they have maintained their cultural importance, with some techniques being recognized in Hong Kong's Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory. However, rising rents and living costs are challenging these establishments, forcing price increases and threatening their existence. Local restaurateurs express a desire to preserve these cultural icons amidst the city's evolving landscape.

‘We are human, we are hurting’: Families separated by Wuhan quarantine as coronavirus death toll rises

06 Feb 2020  |  The Independent
Before Wuhan was locked down to contain the new coronavirus, over 5 million people fled, but many stayed, including Yixian Chen, who was in Singapore when the lockdown was announced. Her sister, who developed symptoms, quarantined herself, leaving their elderly parents to care for themselves. By Chinese New Year's Eve, her sister was too weak to go to the hospital.

A tiny house complex in Seattle shows what it can do for homeless families

06 Oct 2017  |  YES! Magazine
The article discusses a tiny house village in Seattle that was built to help address the city's homelessness crisis. It focuses on the story of Jessica Gudor and Scott Marsh, a couple who were previously separated and homeless but are now raising their baby together in one of the tiny houses. The village provides residents with case workers to assist in finding permanent housing, and the couple pays a significantly reduced rent compared to their previous living arrangements. Marsh is working through a temp agency and hopes to join a carpenters union for better job prospects. Despite challenges such as poor credit and a criminal record, the couple is optimistic about their future and the stability the tiny house village offers.

Art and Textiles on the Cutting Edge: Elaine Yan-ling Ng’s Fabrick Lab

19 Jul 2017  |  Zolima City Magazine
Elaine Yan-ling Ng is a British Chinese textile designer and weaver based in Hong Kong, known for her innovative work combining textiles, art, architecture, and technology at The Fabrick Lab. Her diverse creations range from nature-inspired fabrics to sculptural jewellery and leather wall tiles. Ng's career shifted from fashion to textiles after a recommendation from a tutor at Central Saint Martins. She has worked for Nissan Design Europe and Nokia Design Beijing, but returned to Hong Kong to establish her studio. Ng won a Designers of the Future Award from Swarovski and has been involved in preserving traditional weaving techniques in China, providing villagers with new materials and designs to sustain their craft. She secured a grant from the Design Trust fund for a documentary and has collaborated with luxury furniture manufacturer Stellar Works on a project featuring indigo-dyed furniture. Ng's studio also produces bespoke textiles for interior designers and architects, and she remains optimistic about the potential for artists in Hong Kong.

HKFP Lens: The timeless charm of Sheung Wan’s decades-old neighbourhood shops

18 Jun 2017  |  Hong Kong Free Press HKFP
The article explores the impact of gentrification in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, where traditional shops are struggling to survive amidst rising rents and changing consumer habits. The author highlights the stories of local shop owners like Mr. Ming of Hui Chun Tong, Perry Chu of Chu Wing Kee, the Chans of Hip Ho Warehouse, and Luk Kee, who have witnessed significant changes in the neighborhood. These shops, which sell antiques, handmade goods, and various products, face competition from new businesses, online shopping, and a shift in customer demographics. Despite the challenges, these shopkeepers express a desire to preserve the unique cultural heritage of Sheung Wan. The article underscores the importance of supporting local businesses to maintain the character and history of the area.

When Porsches are a dime a dozen and a Mercedes is a poor man’s car, rich Hongkongers work harder to differentiate themselves.

12 Jun 2017  |  RICE
The article discusses the trend among wealthy individuals in Hong Kong to use vanity car plates as a means of showcasing their wealth and individuality. With luxury cars like Porsches and Mercedes being common, these affluent residents seek to stand out by choosing personalized license plates. Some opt for plates that display playful arrogance, such as 'Too Slow', while others spend large sums on plates they believe to be lucky. This phenomenon highlights the lengths to which the rich in Hong Kong will go to differentiate themselves in a society where high-end vehicles are ubiquitous.

Karaoke Row: A Refuge From Loneliness in the City of Glass

23 May 2017  |  RICE
The article describes a local gathering spot where men, who have experienced the hardship of their wives leaving them, come together for camaraderie and support. The narrator recounts the story of a man in a 'Southern Cycle' T-shirt who began frequenting this place following his separation. He shares how the simple act of singing 'I Really Miss You' helped him start to move on. The environment is portrayed as one where making friends is easy, with the offer of a drink being enough to spark a new friendship. The story highlights the importance of such social spaces for individuals dealing with personal difficulties.

Down and Out in Lan Kwai Fong

12 May 2017  |  RICE
The article prompts readers to recall their worst night out, suggesting that the details of such an event are often forgotten. The author implies that the only remnants of that night might be a few poorly taken photographs on one's phone, capturing the moment before things took a turn for the worse. The imagery of friends taking a shot that pushes them 'over the edge' is used to evoke the memories of such nights. The article seems to be a reflective piece on the nature of social experiences and the role of photography in preserving them, albeit imperfectly.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race: A Journey of Personal Challenges and Recovery

18 May 2016  |  Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The article by Viola J. Gaskell covers the personal stories of three individuals participating in the 10th edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Jennifer Burgess joined the race to honor a promise to her late father and found the experience transformative. Jack Chidley, an experienced sailor, used the race as part of his recovery from severe depression, finding solace in the simplicity and rawness of sailing life. The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, a South African non-profit, sponsors disadvantaged South African youth to participate in the race for personal development. One of the beneficiaries, Lerato Masonmbuka, aims to use the experience to inspire her community and develop life skills. The race, which began in London and includes various international ports, started its Seattle to Panama leg on April 30, 2016.

Beauty. It's different for everyone — thank goodness.

06 Aug 2014  |  Mashable
Photographers Viola Gaskell and Alison Luntz embarked on a project for eBay's style blog, capturing the diverse perspectives of beauty in Seattle and New York City. They asked people a simple question about what makes them feel beautiful, receiving a wide range of answers from having a healthy family to wearing trendy clothes. The project, titled 'What Makes Me Feel Beautiful,' draws inspiration from Humans of New York and includes a series of portraits showcasing individuals' unique views on beauty. eBay Fashion's project manager, Chibuzo Okoro, emphasized the goal of allowing participants to express their personal feelings of beauty.
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