Dialogue between Craft Knowledge and Design

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Abstract

Collaborative design with artisan groups presents different challenges. The cultural uniqueness of each community, the characteristics of local territories, and the technical particularities of the craftsmanship translate into highly differentiated projects. Therefore, it is difficult to define a single methodology for this design approach. Also, design students should be trained in the different dimensions of sustainability so that they can engage in a dialogue with different social groups and collaborate with them in an empathic, responsible, and equitable way. This article presents an experience in which craft workshops were improved. These workshops were held in 2021 by the Municipality of El Carmen de Viboral, the Faculty of Industrial Design at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, and five pottery workshops in the Municipality of El Carmen de Viboral (Colombia). The first part of this article establishes the authors’ position on the relationship between design and crafts, provides some context for the pottery knowledge present in El Carmen de Viboral, and describes different forms of collaborative design. The methodology adopted here was divided into three stages: (i) collaborative design process for developing new pottery collections; (ii) methodological model of collaborative design synthesizing the design process; and (iii) conceptual model to improve craft workshops based on comprehensive sustainability—in its social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental dimensions. Finally, the results are reported, and several conclusions are drawn.