Marie Lee's involvement in Dimen started in 2007 when she co-managed the Guizhou Ethnic Minorities: Preservation, Archive, Eco-Heritage Conservation project at City University of Hong Kong. They sent groups of students to document the Kam minority people of Dimen village in China over the next two years. The project resulted in several exhibitions in Guizhou and Hong Kong, and a multi-dimensional documentary archive which included film, photography and audio recordings. Lee's work became part of the archive housed at the School of Creative Media and she created a photo essay “Past Perfect in Present Tense” describing the plight of the villagers based on her experience.

In 2010, Lee spent four weeks working with several elderly Dimen artisans on documen-tation and preservation of their unique knowledge. Marie and her student Anastasya Uskov learned the various art and craft techniques never before recorded, which would otherwise be forgotten. In 2011, Lee continued developing the project with focus on the complex indigo-dyeing techniques. Her students Anastasya Uskov and Joanne Kwan focused on developing projects with children and young adults to build up local identity.

She am in process of writing a book on the experience entitled “Dawn of the Butterflies” to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. The book celebrates the wisdom and closely-guarded knowledge of the village matriarchs by recording and illustrating their arts and the processes associated with their traditional crafts.

Lee involved her introductiory Graphic Design I class in the project in the spring of 2014. They digitized many Dimen motifs that Lee collected in the form of photographs during her previous trips. They also proposed products featuring these motifs that would represent the local aesthetics, be easily producible and appealing to outside markets. Lastly, the class created a coloring book for children featuring local animals to support the children's pride in their environment.

In May 2014, Marie Lee conducted a series of screen printing workshops in Dimen to promote local identity and develop new ways to create products with indigenous aesthetics. During the workshops, she closely worked with seven Dimen Dong Cultural Eco Museum staff, four of whom were from the village. They spent several hours every day learning various techniques and then applying them to actual items that can be marketed.

With support of the Museum, Lee and her team also had two workshops for children with 16 and 21 in attendance respectively. The children stayed for two hours instead of one and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They had 6 return students for the second workshop with two bringing drawings of their relatives embroideries to show, a homework the team gave them in the first workshop.

Within a moth, the Museum staff, accompanied by Lee represented the Kam minority and China at the 2014 Smithsonial Folklife Festival in Washingto, DC. They used the screen printing methods learned during workshops to communicate with the American public and impart it with the richness of Kam heritage.

Meanwhile, Marie Lee and Joyce Huang from the Museum worked with Wu Mengxi, one of the most respected Dimen artisans to develop products to be marketed locally as well as abroad. After several rounds of prototypes, Joyce Huang approached more artisans to produce sample products to be test marketed in US. She held several workshops and oversaw production by individual artisans. Lee is coordinating marketing of the items in US. We will use these experiences to expand our production and involve more artisans.

After establishing the artistic methods and gathering the local folklore, the project's long-term goal is to raise leaders in the village who are proud of their heritage and who will bring the village through its transformation to modernity without destroying its culture. Similarly, we want to nurture talented children into artisans and designers who will take their unique aesthetics and bring it to the digital age.