I work with organisations based in the handloom and handicraft sector to build capacity in the following areas –
- GI related analysis of craft
- Communication skills
- Craft documentation techniques
- Content strategy
- Brand marketing strategy
- Image and film editing
- Story Telling
- Craft Research methodology
Samaj Pragati Sahayog, Bagli, MP
Kumbaya is a textile based social venture run by women from one of the most remote, marginalised and economically deprived regions of India. The uniqueness of the venture is the creation of a new craft based skill and employment opportunity in a predominantly agrarian region. Kumbaya has been teaching and employing women to sew fabrics.
Although this region had no cultural history per-se about the craft they were engaged in, the team failed to capitalise on the general heritage of the region and the artistic history of the people who are producing the crafts. As one of the main goals of this venture is empowerment of women and the disabled, most of the stories about brand Kumbaya are around these aspects of their work. While it is important to highlight these stories, it is equally important to present the people as a proud people. The pride lies in history of the people.
During my workshops, the participants shared a number of unique stories about their lives. References to local customs and traditions led to unearthing a treasure trove of information that the in-house media team was excited to explore further. The workshop helped the team value research and documentation. It taught them to visualise the use of local customs and traditions to generate a unique talking point about their brand.
Internal communication and Team/Process Management
The challenge for Kadam at the Hardoi Craft centre was one of coordination and effective communication. The team there is scattered over several craft clusters located in remote regions around the city of Hardoi, UP. The team relies on HCL foundation to manage transport logistics and so are at the mercy of their schedules. As a result they would not get time to consolidate their work regularly. This was leading to missed deadlines and miscommunication that resulted in team fatigue and frustration. After understanding the functioning of the team and their day to day activities, I worked along with Salmaan, their project coordinator, to set up a process. I helped them standardise communication parameters and generate relevant templates to collect data that could be used by the team situated outside UP.
The Handloom School
WomenWeave Charitable Trust, Maheshwar, MP
The Handloom School, is a unique, forward-looking, experimental project of WomenWeave Charitable Trust which offers a six-month fully-residential entrepreneurship development course for young weavers from different handloom clusters of India. It is aimed at creating ambassadors of Indian handloom who can carry the age-old craft forward.
I conducted a 7-day collaborative workshop with the students. The workshop taught the participants principles of branding and marketing.
Apart from teaching basic techniques of developing a story, I also taught the students photo and video editing on a mobile phone. Instead of relying on computers which can be expensive and difficult to maintain in remote rural towns, I am interested in harnessing the power of the ubiquitous mobile phone. People are already comfortable using a smartphone. A mobile phone is largely considered to be a technically familiar device and there is little resistance to learning new software applications. We used a cheap video editing software to create short films that the students shot and edited on the phone itself. The films were about their brand and their life as weavers. Through such content the weavers can reach customers and promote their work in original ways.