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Unlimited: Designing for the Asia Pacific – In Review – Day 2

October 6, 2010

Lots more to see and do at Unlimited on Day 2…

Global Artisan Forum

The lovely SBS Presenter, Lee Lin Chin facilitated the panel presentation and discussion with speakers: Marie So from Ventures in Development, Brian Parkes, Director, JamFactorySimone Le Amon, Founding Director, O.S Initiative and Simone Le Amon Design and Creative Strategy, Bunker Roy, Founder, Barefoot CollegeSuzi Vaughan, Portfolio Director of Fashion, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Kevin Murray, Director, Kitezh, Writer and Curator and Paul Bennett, Chief Creative Officer, IDEO.

Giving us an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of the entrepreneur, the marketer, the designer, the curator and the maker, Marie began by talking about a couple of the projects Ventures in Development run including the Yak-cheese making project, Shokay, providing stable income for nomadic Tibetans. She talked clearly about innovating for social change through community consultation: find out what people need and use local resources to help them become self-sustainable. Yes… I said Yak-cheese!

Brian advocated for the need for cross-fertilization between designers and indigenous communities to create sustainable livelihoods, highlighting Yuta Badayala: a collaboration between furniture designers Koskela and Yolngu artists/weavers from Elcho Island Arts who created a lighting product with a story. He said, “one of the most exciting things you can take from collaboration is to learn from each other.”

Simone talked about cultural and corporate sector mass manufacture and how we need to understand the context or design just becomes “beautiful artefacts”. Simone believes global artisans engage in the regions in which they operate…

Bunker illustrated through the Barefoot College in India, how the life of the rural artisan is under threat by cheap plastic imports, but how we can change this by documenting these extraordinary people and passing on their skills.

Suzi had a great bunch of ‘versus’ flashing on screen through her presentation: slow vs fast fashion, glocal vs global, values vs value, care vs consume, micro vs mass etc. She said that universities such as QUT are educating their students in the importance of keeping production local, valuing artisanal skills and how we also need to educate consumers.

Kevin related Craft Victoria’s Craft South Project and it’s focus on cultural product development for urban settings. He emphasised the importance of carrying the enchantment of the artisan working on the product, with the product…

And finally, Paul talked about IDEO’s approach to projects. He said, we shouldn’t use global as an excuse for great: “Just because it’s woven in some rural village doesn’t mean it’s great. It has to be great.” And, how “we need to drop the ego and simply ‘ask first’, ask what people want and need and allow others to be clever.”

In summary, give people a chance to shine, ask them what they need and help them carve out their own path… Great forum…

Real Impact with Bunker Roy

I don’t know where to start to describe Bunker’s presentation… As he talked about the amazing work of the Barefoot College, in not only rural India, but other countries, you could hear a pin drop in the great expanse of the auditorium. That was until the double standing ovations – yes, after he presented and again after question time… All I can say is, find out about the Barefoot College through their website and see where and how you can contribute. This is pure inspiration, dedication and unwavering determination at work… They are doing amazing things… (Photo below of Bunker Roy by Tobias Titz)

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