Education for Artisans: Beginning a Sustainable Future for Craft Traditions
In India today, craft is perceived as an inferior form of manufacturing and artisans are perceived as skilled laborers. The introduction of design as “intervention,” contributed to this perception. With little to no opportunity for creativity or recognition, artisans are leaving craft. The chapter describes the result of a program that the author runs in Kutch, in western India, to teach traditional artisans design, and enable them to gain respect and income. The underlying beliefs are that craft is cultural heritage, and money is not the ultimate goal. Results have demonstrated graduate artisans’ success in the market considering recognition, tradition, and community as well as income. Additionally, the author notes that traditionally, Kutch artisans created within a community-based horizontal social structure, where artisans were economically and socially equal. However, as craft is pushed into the world of cash economy and industrialized scaled-up production, the structure of artisan societies inevitably changes from horizontal to vertical.
KeywordsCraft Artisans Design Education Craft traditions Cultural heritage Community social structure Sustainable development Value based economy
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