Craft sector as agents for sustainable future

AROUND 145 artisans and techies converged in Cebu over the weekend for the Making Futures, a global conference for the craft sector, the first held in Southeast Asia.

The British Council in the Philippines and the United Kingdom-based Plymouth College of Art (PCA) organized the event from March 6 to 8, 2020 to discuss the role of the craft sector and artisans in creating a sustainable future.

Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio, British Council country director, said the conference provided a venue for artisans, designers, researchers and techies from across the globe to collaborate.

The event was aimed for the participants to “develop a strong international crafts community that is in touch with cultural heritage and open to innovation and development,” Prudencio said.

“We see leaders and makers of the craft sector as change agents that redefine the role of craft towards a more sustainable future,” she said.

Some of the issues discussed at the event were the dwindling natural resources, the struggles of craft enterprises and the importance of leadership in sustaining the craft sector.

While challenges continue to threaten artisans and practices such as weaving, a paradigm shift seems to be taking place, acknowledging the role of culture in holistic, sustainable development.

A study commissioned by the British Council found that interventions from government and private stakeholders as well as a renewed interest from consumers have helped propel the craft sector—particularly handwoven textiles—back into the limelight.

The international conference pioneered by the PCA runs every two years.

The Department of Trade and Industry Design Center of the Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Textile Research Institute also supported the event.

Cebu, the host of the event this year, was recognized as one of the new “creative cities” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2019. (CSL)