ProblemAs a key employer of a significant proportion of rural populations and women, the traditional artisan craft industry is vital to the prosperity of South East Asia. As a core expression of cultural identity, craft-practice also provides an important lens for interpreting historical and contemporary norms. Yet, the craft sector is facing a number of challenges. In an increasingly interconnected marketplace, artisans are facing stronger competition and their market has shifted from local communities to a much wider, more competitive and more demanding consumer base ultimately dramatically influencing their livelihoods.
ApproachLove Frankie was commissioned by the British Council to identify how it can better engage and support hard-to-reach female artisans in rural communities in Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia using digital technologies. Love Frankie’s in-depth qualitative study included in-depth interviews with over forty artisans and artisan collaborators (in their local languages) as well as with key media and digital influencers across the region.
ImpactThe study informed a set of detailed recommendations for all stakeholders seeking to support artisans in Southeast Asia, identifying ways in which the craft sector can: support the documentation and preservation of indigenous craft practices; provide opportunities to inspire and showcase indigenous craft design throughout rural communities; build on existing digital tools and learning platforms to ensure artisans can upskill, support one another’s supply chains and better engage with consumers and their needs; better collaborate with each other locally, nationally and regionally to inform their interventions, and develop approaches to measuring their impact to benefit craft-practice and the economic empowerment of female artisans and rural communities more broadly.
ServicesLiterature review, qualitative research, strategic recommendations