New for Old is a firm example of how the British Council is moving toward a more regional, coordinated and collaborative approach to culture-based creative economy activities in East Asia.
Entering its fourth year, Handmade Chiangmai will focus on capacity development and artistic collaboration between Thailand and the UK, and will work with TCDC - Thailand Creative and Design Center- to give the programme more impact.
The British Council and SACICT (the SUPPORT Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand) successfully organised a craft showcase at CRAFT, London, the only curated craft fair in the UK, at Olympia Exhibition Hall on 11th -13th January 2015 featuring 20 Thai brands who have been taking part in the Craft & Design Innovation Programme - a 7-month long capacity building programme for Thai craft entrepreneurs. SACICT has strengthened its commitment to join forces with the British Council under New for Old by committing to co-fund the programme for 2 more years. Both organisations look forward to promoting an exchange between Thailand and the UK in terms of skills development and business incubation.
About the programme
Launching in 2014 in Thailand, the programme is planned to run for three years across several countries in the region, and aims to contribute to the sustainable and viable development of the craft sector.
Crafts play an important role in the informal sector, and for women and ethnic minorities. Yet the sector faces a lot of challenges, many a result of a lack of investment in innovation and digital technologies, lack of interest by national governments because it is not associated with growth and competitiveness, low levels of entrepreneurship, copyright infringement and weak links to changing markets.
However by integrating creativity, technology and local wisdom, local business can become more competitive. Crafts production is an important form of cultural expression reflecting the aesthetics, symbolism and worldviews of the producing communities. As tradable forms of cultural diversity, crafts have become a significant source of income and employment in many parts of the world.
Expected results of the programme include:
- Improved craft, design and entrepreneurship skills of designers, independent craft workers and SMEs
- Skills to develop and diversify contemporary craft products producing new market-demanded products that feature strong cultural identity, yet respond to emerging market trends
- Growth in income from new and improved products, improving livelihoods for individual craft workers in the informal economy and SMEs
- Integrated network of craft bodies, designers and entrepreneurs established with improved market access within the region, with strong links to established regional fora, the UK and the EU
- Increased understanding on the cultural diversity of the crafts industry in South East Asia.