Paraa and Ajiyer has collaborated together to develop ‘Responsible Tourism” in Tangail. . As Tangail is the hub of many different crafts, the best possible way of engaging tourism with the community is to bring the crafts as a media to learn and experience Tangail . Currently we are working to establish a Community-based Craft Centre in Tangail, Bangladesh.
While designing the craft centre, we are trying to think from different perspectives. To know how the artisans think of the idea of their own studio and craft centre,we went through four workshops with the artisans to learn more about them and also to share our ideas and progress. Their enthusiastic participation made every workshop fruitful.Their feedback ,all the questions they asked and all the ideas they shared helped us to understand each other. We became a family sharing the same dream of developing a proper craft centre where artisans can explore their artistic boundaries and visitors get a chance to experience ÄRT and CRAFTS of Tangail.
For the workshops we invited two or three artisans from each Craft village. Their enthusiasm and participation amazed us. All of us worked together as a team and developed a primary model of the craft centre.
On the first workshop we shared the idea of the craft centre with all the local artisans. They liked the concept and agreed to help us with the process of developing the craft centre. We shared what we know about each craft process and they shared more details and we got clearer idea of how they work,what environment they prefer to work comfortably etc. We exercised “River of Life” together. “‘River of life” reflects the past, present and future of their art and lifestyles of their community. This also reflected the process of their work in detail. These informations were very much important to start with a conceptual design of the centre. And getting the support of the artisans was amazing.
On the Second workshop all the artisans surprised us with their feedback on the sketch pads we gave them earlier. They filled those with their ideas, thoughts and views.Some described the process of their craft in details. Later we did another exercise(Tree) together. “TREE” exercise was basically about drawing a tree to represent their craftwork : Drawing/writing the strength on the roots of a tree, their dreams on the leaves , opportunities and obstacles on the stems.The trees were filled with effective points, an easy go through of their traditions, culture and livelihood. Later they designed their own area in the craft centre. Basically they mentioned/drew details about what they need to work, the equipment,materials and the environment they prefer etc. We also had a musical sessions with local musician, which we enjoyed a lot.
Our third workshop was bit different than the previous two as it included activities that made the community more involved and more aware of the possible outcome.We did a real scale master plan exercise with the participants. The master plan was initially developed through previous workshops.
The real space is always difficult to experience and understand when its done only in pen and paper. Thus we decided to go real, so that we understand and more importantly help the local craftsmen to understand the true nature and the area of the space that they are designated to.We explained the place allocation and distribution of each craft and took the artisans to the craft centre site. As plan itself is based on their previous feedback, they were easily able to relate to it. They put boundaries for each craft with rope, bamboo, measuring tape and decorated it with colourful papers. This produced many queries and cleared a lot of doubts and highlighted more possibilities. The amazing part is ,all of us got to understand the space in real dimensions and also got a clearer picture of the space that will be converted from two dimensional lines into a three dimensional space through community participation and involvement.
On the last and final workshop,our intention was to develop the sections in groups and assemble them to get the mass model at the end. Each artisan worked on the section to which their respective working zones belong.The artisans were well briefed about the rough plan. After completing all four sections, we assembled and revealed the mass model.
The realisation that they are actually contributed in the plan of the craft centre made them more involved.A sense of responsibility to the centre has already stated growing among them. The artisans were happy for their creation .As the concept of design developed so far mostly extracted from their opinions and requirements, through participating to the four interactive workshops, they are able to visualize how it may look in reality.
We are thinking to call this centre: GHOR (home) , as it would be home of all the artisans with their art appeal. We hope “ghor” will be a platform of exhibition of crafts to the curious world that cares little more than just being consumer, to evaluate and appreciate Tangail craftsmanship through community tourism.
We are very thankful to all the artisans. Working with them was an experience of lifetime. With them,we dream of a craft centre where we can offer a live art experience to the world.
(to know more details of the project : visit http://tangailbuti.tumblr.com//
Here are some pictures of the workshops :