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Traditional know how has regained its significance as a base for knowledge which can be utilized for the welfare of all. In a globalizing and increasingly digital world, which is reaching for emotional and cultural connections, crafts can bring forth harmony. In the emerging knowledge economy, crafts and folklore will form the foundations of a nation’s wealth, especially in countries like India, which has a magnificent heritage and a glorious future.
Much has been done to revive languishing crafts, rejuvenate traditional ones by product development and appropriate marketing. The skills of traditional craftsmen have been recognized and appreciated. The initiatives by NGO’s, individuals, organizations and Government have been wide ranging and have definitely changed the perception of consumers towards crafts. Presently the key social challenges faced by the practitioners of crafts are to secure sustained livelihoods, fair wages, and enhanced dignity for the caste based craft practicing community for continuity.
Craft is not just a romantic notion or artifact but integral to the Indian lifestyle. So much so that it was employed as a tool and metaphor of nation building in colonial India. Why then is it relegated to a mere artifact in modern India?
Craft has evolved from a closed community-based enterprise to a quasi business model. This is exemplified by the fact that there is a longer value chain connecting the craftsman and the user. Designers form significant links in this chain. Can designers then be the game-changers in this value chain? After all designers can enhance the relationships between links in a meaningful way.
National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) is bringing together experienced voices to share varied perspectives on the subject at the 15th Annual Congregation of India Fashion Forum in Mumbai beginning on 18th March. The NIFT session on crafts will see eminent personalities like Prof. Ashoke Chatterjee and Judy Frater presenting keynotes and a panel discussion with Prof. A.G Rao, Meera Mehta, Prof. Nina Sabnani, Sally Holkar, Sarfaraaz Khatri, Shibani Jain, Sunita Shankar and Prof. Sharmila J. Dua .
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