Cebu City – The British Council in the Philippines and the Plymouth College of Art (PCA) brought the global Making Futures conference to Cebu City last 6–8 March at Quest Hotel to explore the role of craft communities towards a sustainable future.
‘This gathering is a relevant forum to ping pong ideas for a global culture in search of meaning and balance,’ Kidlat Tahimik, Philippine National Artist for Film, said.
Kidlat Tahimik headlined the conference together with Amneh Shaikh-Farooqui of Pakistan’s polly & other stories; Tomas Diez Ladera of Fab Lab Barcelona; Hamza Cherif D’ouezzan and Kenza Oulaghada of The Anou from Morocco; and sustainable design expert Cameron Tonkinwise of the University of Technology Sydney.
The conference sought to dispel the notion that craft is a dying sector. Some of the issues discussed were dwindling natural resources, the struggles of craft enterprises and the importance of leadership in sustaining the craft sector.
While challenges continue to threaten artisans and practices such as weaving, a paradigm shift seems to be taking place, acknowledging the role of culture in holistic, sustainable development.
In fact, a study commissioned by the British Council revealed that interventions from government and private stakeholders, as well as a renewed interest from consumers have helped propel the craft sector – particularly handwoven textiles – back into the limelight.
‘This conference provided a unique opportunity to initiate collaboration between artisans, designers, researchers and techies. It will 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,’ Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio, British Council in the Philippines Country Director said. ‘We see leaders and makers of the craft sector as change agents that redefine the role of craft towards a more sustainable future.’
The international conference is pioneered by Plymouth College of Art and runs every two years. It was the first time the conference was held in Southeast Asia. This year’s event is supported by the Crafting Futures programme of the British Council.
Given the relevance of the issues in the Philippines, the event has also attracted the support of DTI-Design Center of the Philippines and DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute. Both government agencies are spearheading innovations across craft, design, enterprise and the sciences.
Cebu City, the conference host, was hailed UNESCO Creative City for Design last December 2019.