The Artisan Project - Lima, Peru -

Buenas de Peru!
The Creative Nomad Project launched a few weeks ago upon my arrival in Lima, Peru. For my first design adventure, I’m partnering with Green Design Link, an organization which “connects artisan leaders with the global marketplace through a collaborative design process.” Founded by women, for women’s empowerment, they are deeply committed to creating social impact through artisanship. Naturally, this seemed like the perfect place to launch this journey.

The Challenge:
How might we enable Peruvian artisans to become better leaders, designers, and entrepreneurs?

Project Background:
Green Design Link is committed to developing and empowering the artisans in their network as designers and entrepreneurs. The artisans have tremendous talent in craftsmanship but aren’t often designing the goods themselves. We hope to unlock their talent and inspire and develop the women as designers and as better artisan leaders. As accomplished artisan leaders, they will have more opportunity for professional development and mobility in the marketplace.

Design Proposal:
Through a series of creativity workshops we aim to help the artisans develop new techniques and learn how to get inspired to design with new colors, textures, and formats. We want to empower the women to bring their own aesthetics and craftsmanship, and to strengthen their visual language as market differentiators, versus imposing our own design aesthetics on the women. We will help the women to better understand the market, their end users and customers. And, through field work with the team, I’ll gain more empathy and understanding for their needs and context.

I’m currently asking myself:

  • How might we teach creativity in a manner authentic to local talent and processes but which also enables Peruvian artisans to play in the world market?

  • How might we navigate cultural machismo, which might prevent women from participating, in order to offer these development opportunities?

  • What can we learn from a culture seated in making? How does this change the format of our course offerings and what curriculum can be brought to other students globally?

What other questions do you think I should be asking myself (or my team)?