Three women sitting at a table, in conversation and laughing. On the table there are threads of different coloured cotton.
Participants from the Crafting Futures programme learning from local artisans during an international exchange in East Asia. © Simon Mills 

A diminishing interest in traditional culture in East Asia

Though craft and design is a significant part of the creative economy in the region, particularly in emerging economies such as Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, interest in culture-based design processes is diminishing, particularly among young people. 

In East Asia, we create opportunities for marginalised communities by promoting traditional crafts and heritage in the region. Our programmes support the craft sector and culture-based design processes in order to achieve social inclusion and economic development. By developing higher quality products, local artisans gain greater recognition, assisting them to be financially autonomous, in turn enhancing self-esteem.

Our regional programme aims to make connections between local craftswomen and international designers that will inspire the next generation to value and nurture their cultural assets and identities.

Crafting Futures

Crafting Futures supports the future of craft around the globe. This British Council programme connects designers and artisans to knowledge and expertise, new markets and new audiences, ensuring the value of craft is appreciated more broadly and knowledge can continue to be shared within the sector. The programme also supports research and education in craft, ensuring our projects are relevant and the quality of creative practice is preserved and continues to develop.  

In East Asia, Crafting Futures aims to foster economic empowerment through the development of creative social enterprise and design-led skills for female artisans and designers, with a specific focus on promoting social innovation, fair and ethical collaborations, and an appreciation of cultural heritage.

Past projects

Human Drama in Myanmar