Design in Craft

Design, Designers, Innovation, Contemporization

Design in Craft: A Note

Ballyn, John

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I am never fed up with being asked to make noises in the field of design in craft development. There are many organisations feverish with activity, reinventing wheels we had used a long time ago and discarded because they did not work or were unacceptable to producers themselves. . One subject which is very sensitive and would be difficult to address is that of apparent stagnation of ideas for new ways to work with artisans. A generation of indigenous craft support NGOs, (ATOs, FTOs) with whom I worked when they were establishing themselves have now matured. Some of them merely continue with policies and systems developed in the 1970s and 1980s on models established with their customers, the foreign NGO/ATO/FTOs, who were and still are their trading partners. Each NGO has its own philosophical criteria for partnership, some of which exclude artisans from being involved. Some NGOs provide training only in skills which consolidate the relationship between producer and NGO, not developing producer capability for independent operation. Each layer of NGOs adds a percentage to the price of products, reducing competitiveness in the final marketplace. These methods and systems do not necessarily help producers become independent, sustainable or self-sufficient enterprises in either export or domestic market terms. . The international development agencies, who control the bulk of money available f...
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