I wanted to come up with a way to save traditional (textile) craftmanship and local handicraft centers that were dying off. Therfore I had to ask myself how to bring people together in a way that would offer an alternative to mass production, low wages and environnement pollution. In exploring the topic, I spent a great deal of time with crafters and completed a study tour that took me through South Africa and Bosnia in 2017.
One of my main goals is to keep the knowledge and techniques of these craft communities alive for future generations and create a holistic network of local producers, crafters, and sellers. Digitalism might be one way to bring these people together and to create transparent production and supply chains.
My session will be about a hidden shoe factory in Wupperthal, a town 200 km from Cape Town, South Africa, that was founded in 1830. There is no "next generation" to take over the factory, so the crafters have to decide whether to open their factory to more people - there are currently only four employees - or close it down.