Be it the ajrakh block printing from Gujarat, puppets from Rajasthan or dhokra metal casting from Orissa, it is well established that Indian crafts have a worldwide appeal. In a distinct initiative, the British Council has brought its craft programme to India, to help boost the economic status of craftspeople of this country.
Its focus, however, would be on the upliftment of women crafters which would be done through digital technology. The initiative is called the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme which is a three-year programme. It centres on boost UK-India collaboration in the Indian crafts sector.
The initiative has asked Indian and UK crafts organisations to submit joint proposals by November 11 this year. The scheme’s attempt is to support local artisans and give them global exposure. Further, the idea is aligned with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals such as, of education and training in order to develop skills, entrepreneurship and further improve the creative quality of crafts.
Submission is open to organisations across textiles, jewellery, sustainable fashion, handicrafts, furniture, pottery and more. There will be six winning organisations which will receive both monetary and technical support from the British Council.
Jonathan Kennedy, Director Arts, British Council India in a statement said: “…Through innovative collaboration and the infusion of entrepreneurial digital technology, we aim to have a positive impact on the social, cultural and economic aspects of the Indian craftspeople and design organisations. We are looking for project ideas that can elevate economic opportunities for women and other crafts entrepreneurs in India.”
For the 12-14 month projects to take place in India, the themes would include finding new platforms for craft and how traditional and contemporary skills can come together to create new ecosystems for this industry.
It will also focus on how craft can become a route to women’s empowerment and leadership and simultaneously address global environmental challenges. The role of digital technology and tourism will also be addressed here.