With growing disconnect between urban demand and rural production of Indian crafts, might a disruptive innovation help traditional crafts survive?
The ProblemIndian craft forms are dying out at a rapid pace, in spite of government interest and investment. Urban dwellers value craft products but rural craftspersons are discontinuing their arts that have been handed down generations. How might designers help?
Exploratory ResearchWe traveled to five villages around Gujarat, India, each having historically produced a distinct craft form. Observing craftspersons and conversing about their hopes and dreams, we uncovered recognizable patterns in responses.
InsightThere is a real disconnect between rural production of crafts and the urban demand for it. Rural artists don’t understand urban lifestyles and carry on producing existing products that no longer meet urban expectations.
With lesser demand, artisans end up in a financial downward spiral that in turn does not allow for product experimentation or innovation. This disconnect is resulting in stagnation and helplessness.