Half-Baked Talk: Designers meet Artisans
Presenter; Kate Bissett Johnson
Lecturer in Industrial Design and Product Design Engineering, Swinburne University
There is no word for design in India, creativity and making are intertwined. Craft and culture are also inseparable, making craft practice a cultural and increasing financial activity. The income from crafts in India is estimated to be only second to agriculture, yet many artisans remain living in poverty. There are precedents for designer-artisan collaborations in India and other countries, developing new products for local and global markets, however these design interventions focus primarily on the product rather than the generation of livelihood opportunities. This presentation will discuss research, including student projects and interviews with Artisans living and working in the Indian state of Gujarat, investigating opportunities for different types of designer and artisan engagement including co-creation. These findings suggest some of the artisan’s key objectives and concerns, including recognition and respect of their skill, desire for creativity and intrinsic relationship between a sense of self- identity and craftwork.
Kate lectures into the Industrial Design and Product Design Engineering Programs at Swinburne University. Her career as an Industrial Designer spanned working in several of Melbourne's premier design consultancies, developing commercial products for both local and international clients. As an academic her primary interest is in how Industrial Design and Product Design Engineering can lead the world to a more environmentally and socially responsible future. Thus she seeks collaborations outside the university to provide real world scenarios and projects for students. Recent projects in this area have been in collaboration with VEIL (Victorian Eco Innovation Lab), World Vision Australia, Sangam Craft Platform and the Honey Bee Network in India.
Half Baked Ideas
The half-baked ideas workshop series is an opportunity for individuals to test and develop their ideas in a convivial, free-spirited, and interdisciplinary environment over lunch. The aim is to encourage speakers with a particular interest in India or Asia more broadly.
A half-baked lunch will differ from the standard seminar format. It is expected that the speaker will present first of all for a short time - perhaps as little as 15 minutes - on ’the issue’. This might be a paper they are trying to write, a new initiative they are developing, or simply a set of more inchoate ‘musings’ that they’d like to see crystallise into a project. The speaker might also like to outline to her or his audience areas of doubt, uncertainty, and concern as well as questions where she or he would specifically welcome the audience’s input.
For the speaker, this is an opportunity to obtain high-quality feedback in a fairly informal, non-evaluative setting. For the audience it is a wonderful opportunity to acquire a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the ongoing thoughts and processes of discovery occurring in the mind of the speaker, and engage with him or her in a more lively and active way than is typically the case in seminars.