Abstract

This study aims to develop a method of retrieving indigenous knowledge, cultural identity, and artistic quality in local craft through design activities. Taking bamboo basketry product as the case study, this research selected Bangchaocha, a sub-district in Ang Thong province, as a representative of Thailand’s rich culture and established crafts village. The community has recently encountered a problem seen in many craft communities throughout Asia – one that sees the loss of their traditional craft identity due to foreign traders placing large orders for generic products that showcase neither indigenous craft knowledge nor traditional craftsmanship. This study aims to show how the design activities can help empower the Bangchaocha craft community to appreciate, utilize, and market their invaluable craftmaking skills. Our research method grouped design students and professional designers into three teams - each with their own unique strategy. Each team was then assigned to collaborate with local craftspeople and craft “children” in testing three different design scenarios: (1) Master and Apprentice in old time craft scenario (2) User and Designer in co-creation scenario (3) Maker and Designer in current global crafts scenario. The methodology employed by each team was based on an anthropological approach. The activities involving locals were mostly conducted in a participatory and holistic manner. The three teams started with the same preparatory method of learning basic Bangchaocha craft weaving skills from the locals. Naturally the different approaches adopted by each group produced uniquely different and valuable results. Thus, the research concluded that the 3 types of designer/craftspeople social relationships and design activities would greatly benefit Thailand’s crafts communities as efficient mechanisms for the retrieval of local know-how.

Keywords

retrieving local wisdom, communal identity, co-creation, design process

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Design Process in Retrieving the Local Wisdom and Communal Identity: A case study of Bangchaocha’s bamboo basketry crafts

This study aims to develop a method of retrieving indigenous knowledge, cultural identity, and artistic quality in local craft through design activities. Taking bamboo basketry product as the case study, this research selected Bangchaocha, a sub-district in Ang Thong province, as a representative of Thailand’s rich culture and established crafts village. The community has recently encountered a problem seen in many craft communities throughout Asia – one that sees the loss of their traditional craft identity due to foreign traders placing large orders for generic products that showcase neither indigenous craft knowledge nor traditional craftsmanship. This study aims to show how the design activities can help empower the Bangchaocha craft community to appreciate, utilize, and market their invaluable craftmaking skills. Our research method grouped design students and professional designers into three teams - each with their own unique strategy. Each team was then assigned to collaborate with local craftspeople and craft “children” in testing three different design scenarios: (1) Master and Apprentice in old time craft scenario (2) User and Designer in co-creation scenario (3) Maker and Designer in current global crafts scenario. The methodology employed by each team was based on an anthropological approach. The activities involving locals were mostly conducted in a participatory and holistic manner. The three teams started with the same preparatory method of learning basic Bangchaocha craft weaving skills from the locals. Naturally the different approaches adopted by each group produced uniquely different and valuable results. Thus, the research concluded that the 3 types of designer/craftspeople social relationships and design activities would greatly benefit Thailand’s crafts communities as efficient mechanisms for the retrieval of local know-how.

 

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