Making Links Together: Valuing people and creativity

HANSON, Maria, CAVE, Laura and ZULAIKHA, Ellya (2020). Making Links Together: Valuing people and creativity. Making Futures, 6.

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The eighth United Nations sustainable development goal promotes inclusive and economic growth, employment and decent work for all (UN 2015) with a number of set targets to be reached by 2030. Creativity and innovation form part of the third target and are seen as key drivers in the strategy to develop and increase SME’s in specific overseas development contexts (ODC’s) by connecting communities and promoting local culture and craft. For this to be effective, understanding the identity and cultural relevance of crafted products, are fundamental in the design development of new products that will be meaningful to others. This paper explores how the economic livelihoods of a defined group of craft producers in Indonesia can be improved by expanding upon already established linkages and collaborations. By using Participatory Action Research (PAR) methods, (Swantz: 2008) involving co-creative workshops that are situated within the terrain of Design Anthropology, this research aims to empower through activities that enhance design and making practices. The project ‘Making Links: craft value chain’ was funded through Research England’s, Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF 2018-19). It builds upon an earlier AHRC funded, ‘Create-Connect-Sustain (Indonesia) project which had already established initial craft networks in the UK, Java and Bali. Craft makers within ODC’s are often seen as inferior to ‘designers.’ Making Links sought to empower craft makers by teaching design thinking through making in a shared studio/workshop environment underpinned by the principles of fair trade. The aim was to work within a specific context where potential had been identified by members of the in-country project team for the development of unique craft items for an international market. Project collaborators consist of a UK academic researcher; a UK fair-trade social entrepreneur; both trained and practiced within the field of jewellery and an Indonesian design academic with expertise in collaborative learning in the Indonesian rural craft industry. A Javanese design graduate with knowledge of sustainable craft cooperatives and a Balinese craft facilitator with European export market experience completed the team. Fieldwork was situated within Jombang, a rural area of East Java, with established artisanal skills in recycled glass bead making. Two thirds of the community work in this craft industry which has been in decline since 2000. Therefore, design innovation and new markets are pertinent to the long-term sustainability of the community (Zulaikha & Brereton 2011). The UK partners devised cumulative design activities, that engaged 18 artisans in an intensive 3-day co-creative workshop, resulting in four prototype collections of new jewellery products in glass and metal suitable for exhibiting and with export potential. Collaborative activities are continuing in order to achieve a long-term sustainable route to market. References Research England (2018) Global Challenge Research Fund. SWANTZ, M. L. (2008). Participatory Action Research as Practice. In REASON, P. & BRADBURY, H. (ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice (Second ed., pp. 31- 48). London: SAGE Publications. United Nations. (2015) Sustainable development Goals. Zulaikha. E and Brereton. M (2011) “Innovation strategies for developing the traditional souvenir craft industry,” presented at the First International Postgraduate Conference on Engineering, Designing and Developing the Built Environment for Sustainable Wellbeing, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, 2011, pp. 53–58

Plain Text Summary

Craft-makers within many overseas development contexts are often seen as inferior to designers, especially within communities where formal education and knowledge about design is limited or non-existent. In places where rote methods of teaching are the norm, artisans often rely on copying existing products, as they lack agency to creatively generate new ideas and products. This paper discusses how the application of co-creative design thinking strategies within a rural Indonesian community can provide creative agency for artisan craft-makers. The research is set within the context of the United Nations eighth sustainable development goal, which promotes inclusive and economic growth, employment and decent work for all. It uses the collaborative Making Links project led by Hanson as a case study to illustrate the positive outcomes of using Participatory Action Research methods. Co-creative activities adhered to the approach of design and research with the users, adopting collective participation in order to enable a sharing of knowledge and remove inequalities of power.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Due to be published on the 30 Dec 2020
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2020 16:30
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 14:46

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