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Workshop on Craft & Innovation

Event Start Date:
11th November 2018
Event End Date:
18th November 2018
Event Venue:
Chirala, Andhra Pradesh

We propose to conduct a workshop on knowledge in handloom weaving in India, to be conducted in Chirala, one of India’s largest weaving-focused towns. We will invite scholars, artisans, and other professionals involved in textile industry in order to better understand and promote futures and livelihoods in handloom weaving.

— Handloom Industry Background

  • The handloom industry in India provides livelihoods for 4.3 million families, making it the second largest employer sector in the country after Agriculture.
  • The industry has the potential to create over one million jobs with the lowest per capita investment for creation of such jobs, through building on existing skills and social capital.


Visit webpage: www.craftsandinnovation.org

The handloom industry employs thousands of people across the state. However, due to certain perceptions regarding handloom cloth, and the necessity of competing with powerloomed imitations, growth in the sector is severely hindered. For example, powerloom designers can easily copy popular handloom designs and produce them in a cheaper fashion, as designs are not protected by copyright, eating into the demand for handloom cloth.

In order to improve the situation of handloom weavers, it is crucial to improve market and production infrastructure, capacitate weavers and designers to innovate deep craft skills, and provide access to credit and financial support. Designs have to be protected under the intellectual property regime. The system of production can be re-engineered such that the creativity of the weaver can co-exist with the demands of production to the designers taste. Handloom currently services many growing market niches; luxury, ethnic, semi-urban markets for sarees as well as green markets for sustainable goods.


Following the notion of ‘anchoring innovation’ in the context of handloom weaving and crafts, the conference/workshop will have three components –

  • Exhibition of looms: We intend to exhibit looms and weaving techniques from various regions across the nation. Volunteers from the RCJS will travel across India in order to mobilise weavers and build awareness. This part of the workshop will be open to the public, so that civil society is also involved in understanding the value of weaving techniques.
  • Technical Sharing sessions: Sessions in which weavers interact with each other and with scholars and designers to discuss the operation of the loom, the variety of techniques used across India, and the policies and economic factors that affect handloom craft. Activists will prepare histories of weaving techniques, changed understanding by practitioners and society at large and engage with local weavers to discuss innovation in the sector. It is expected that there will be wide participation by local weavers and government institutions in this component.


All the funds we have are being used to fund weavers from across India, todate we are expecting around 400 weavers as registered participants, not including local participants from in and around Chirala. If you let us know, we will help you to organise accommodation for the dates you would like to be there, also if there is anyone who you think would like to participate, please pass on this link, for registration, www.craftsandinnovation.org

 Organising committee

Prof. Wiebe Bijker [University of Maastricht] Prof. Ineke Sluiter (Universiteit Leiden), Macharla Mohan Rao [National Federation for Handloom and Handicrafts], Uzramma[Handloom Futures Trust] and Dr. Annapurna Mamidipudi (MPIWG)

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