About the project
This scoping and mapping project mainly aims to map the existing weaving practices of the Tagbanua community in Sitio tina, Aborlan, Palawan, understand their challenges, ambitions and proposed ways forward in three impact areas: sustainability, innovation and lifelong learning.
- The craft community's weaving practices, processes and dependence on forest and non-timber sources will be mapped. The community resources and assets will be mapped (i.e., financial, physical, human, natural and social). We expect the main outcome in terms of a common framework or guidelines for resource management to meet the community's production and conservation goals. Using participatory research approaches, we also expect to understand gendered-power relations from the lived experiences of women weavers about existing power structures, processes and networks, how they are marginalised and disadvantaged systematically by these, and how weaving, arts and crafts provide them agency, sense of purpose and empowerment beyond just means for livelihood
- once the weaving practices and process have been identified, the focus will be on innovation in their product and design through the visual participatory workshop with both local and UK-based academics, artists or entrepreneurs. We expect that innovative designs for their mats, baskets and others can help boost the marketability and profitability of their woven products and their design both locally and abroad. Access to a supply chain through potential partnerships with UK-based and local organisations and universities is given priority as part of innovation through market and value chain analysis
- recommendations on sustainability, innovation and lifelong learning will be disseminated through public sharing activities. The research outputs and outcomes lay the foundation for constructing a community creative hub in the community as a centre for lifelong learning, where young people, children and the larger community can potentially learn and appreciate weaving as a significant part of their cultural identity.
The main research approach is participatory research methods, utilising informal qualitative interviews, focus group discussions, and visual arts workshops to achieve these aims. We elect to depart from common top-down approaches and instead use community-based approaches to highlight the voices of local weavers especially women through collaborative research and partnership. Our main perspective toward the participants is collaborative partners and co-creators of knowledge, being the artisans who grow forest resources and livelihood.