Woman artisan in East Asia
Participant from New For Old, a programme that aims to promote, support and develop the craft and design sector through opportunities for training, collaborations and exchanges with artisans, designers and makers. ©

Simon Mills

A diminishing interest in traditional culture 

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 a 2013 report the UN highlighted the importance of promoting village industries, citing that their development can ‘improve living conditions in economically depressed areas’. 

Creating opportunities for marginalised communities

Our work in East Asia will focus on supporting female artisans and promoting traditional crafts and heritage for social inclusion and economic development in the region.

Through promoting and supporting the craft sector and culture-based design processes, we will work to create business opportunities for marginalised communities. By developing higher quality products, local artisans will achieve greater recognition, allowing them to be financially autonomous, in turn enhancing self-esteem. 

We aim to make connections between local craftswomen and international designers that will inspire the next generation to value and nurture their cultural assets and identities.