From Gandhi to Globalization: Craft and Human Development

by - Sunday, April 12, 2009

Maiwa Textile Symposium

Wednesday October 21, 2009 at 7pm
Vancouver Museum (MacMillan Space Centre Auditorium)

Craft may seem timeless – but it is, in fact, tossed on a constantly changing sea of social, political, and economic currents. Few have been able to navigate these waters as skillfully as Ashoke Chatterjee who, among his other achievements, has been the Executive Director of the National Institute of Design (India), President for many years of the Crafts Council of India, and earlier put in five years at the International Monetary Fund (USA).

Mahatma Gandhi dreamed of India’s independence and used localised hand production as a weapon against colonial rule. Later, Gandhi’s legacy helped shape craft development within national planning. But contemporary globalization dreams of market influence, often at the expense of independence. The shift between paradigms has had far-reaching effects for human development in all countries, especially in the craft sector.

In this, Mr. Chatterjee’s Canadian debut, he will explore India’s craft experience: the social, economic, and political challenges found in the transition from the independence movement to the present era of so-called “liberalization.” Mr. Chatterjee will draw on governmental and civil society experience and his experience with the current effort by the Craft Council of India to create a national economic survey of the craft sector.

Mr. Chatterjee, an eloquent and insightful speaker, joins us from India. His lecture will prove fertile ground for both students of the business sciences and those actively involved in craft. The experiences of India have far-reaching implications for all countries.


Ashoke Chatterjee’s teaching and training activities have a focus on the management of design in industry and in the social sector. He has worked to guide projects in the areas of communication, health, education, craft regeneration, ecology, and conservation. Following 25 years at the National Institute of Design, he has been involved with institutional development at Shristi School of Design (Bangalore), Indus Valley School of Design and Architecture (Karachi), Royal College of Art (UK), and Kala Raksha Vidyalaya (Bhuj).

Mr. Chatterjee’s development experience includes consultancies and training conducted on behalf of the National Institute of Design, National Drinking Water Mission (Govt. of India), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (Govt. of India, New Delhi), Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (Geneva), National AIDS Control Organization (Govt. of India, New Delhi), UNICEF (India and New York), UNFPA (New Delhi), World Conservation Union (IUCN, Geneva), National Conservation Strategy of Pakistan (Islamabad), World Bank (New Delhi), Ford Foundation (New Delhi), Gujarat AIDS Prevention & Control Unit (GAP, Ahmedabad), Centre for Environment Education (Ahmedabad), Department of Health (Government of Gujarat), and on behalf of several NGOs working on health and environmental issues.

Maiwa is very pleased to be able to bring Mr. Chatterjee to Canada for the first time.

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