Bridging arts, crafts in making sustainable futures

By Minerva BC Newman 

CEBU CITY—About 145 artisans, artists and techies from 17 countries in Europe, East Asia and Africa, including policy leaders, and designers, converged in Cebu for the three-day “Making Futures” Philippine conference organized by the British Council in the Philippines and the Plymouth College of Art (PCA) to explore the role of craft communities towards a sustainable future.

British Council PH Country Director Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio (British Council Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN) British Council PH Country Director Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio
(British Council Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to British Council PH Country Director Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio, the conference provided a chance to initiate collaboration among artisans, designers, researchers and techies to explore how craft and maker movements can develop a strong international crafts community that is in touch with cultural heritage and open to innovation and development.

"We see leaders and makers of the craft sector as change agents that redefine the role of craft towards a more sustainable future," Prudencio said.

The gathering brought in Kidlat Tahimik, Filipino National Artist for Film; Amneh Shaikh-Farooqui of Pakistan's polly and other stories; Tomas Diez Ladera of Fab Lab Barcelona; Hamza Cherif D'ouezzan and Kenza Oulaghada of The Anou from Morocco; sustainable design expert Cameron Tonkinwise of the University of Technology Sydney.

Caroline Meaby, director of Global Arts Network, British Council said that the “Making Futures” conference was a British Council program that local crafts and arts into a platform of collaboration, sustainability, identity and distinction of the marginalize community.

Tahimik articulated the challenges that artists, crafts makers and artisans in villages, specifically in indigenous villages face today in the advent of digital technology and design.

Tahimik said there was greater challenge on how to cross between craft and art, crafts on wood carving and other indigenous types of crafts for example.

“My interest, which are mostly incorporated in my films, is the convergence of all these arts, crafts, others within the eco-chamber at the same time preserve culture/art and be environmentally sustainable,” he added in a media interview Friday.

In his opening message, Malcom Ferris, curator, “Making Futures” Plymouth College of Art (PCA) told the participants that “Making Futures” is a long-term research project of PCA with its first edition in 2009 and that he curated it through six biennial UK editions to date.

“PCA’s unique because of its vision for the crafts which ‘Making Futures’ defines and articulates. It is about exploring the progressive social possibilities presented by the revival, development and promotion of craft in its many forms and guises in societies across the world,” Ferries said.