Raising awareness of inclusive crafts: building capacity and self-sufficiency of communication within the Charity SAFOD and the Countries of SA.

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Loughborough Design School

Abstract

The aim of this follow-on proposal is to enhance the awareness of people within the countries of Southern Africa to the opportunities for inclusive arts and crafts through a Assistive Technology exhibition being organised in Namibia for April 2019 to publicise the Crafts abilities network outcomes; and, make people with disabilities as well as the general public aware of and celebrate the work in inclusive arts crafts and design from the ten Countries in which the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), who help 50,000 people in local communities. The project will deliver information and raise awareness among the 66 Million people who live in Southern Africa of Inclusive crafts and available Assistive Technology (AT) resources.

An AHRC sponsored network activity (Arts and crafts abilities, ref: AH/R004307/1) that involved disabled arts and craftspeople from the Southern Africa federation of the disabled (SAFOD) and those from the UK highlighted a number of aspects to be celebrated and challenges to be addressed:

1) The needs of disabled artists and crafts people are very similar in the UK and Southern Africa, for able-bodied and disabled alike;
2) The need to identify a market for their artefacts that will pay a fair price for their work;
3) making it easier to produce artefacts;
4) Training of new disabled artists and craftspeople;
5) Celebrating the quality of ideas and concepts produced, as well as the heritage crafts used to create products and works of art;
6) Ways of reframing society's viewpoint of them (as 'no-person' disabled and in some cases because they are female) and viewing their work more inclusively; and,
7) Exploiting the many opportunities to share knowledge, skills and ideas through dialogue using different communication formats and technologies.

Through a celebration of the quality and diversity of inclusive crafts being produced it is hoped to begin to change perceptions about disabled and female members of communities in Southern Africa and their value within their Society. The delegates from SAFOD preferred the term disabled people over people living with a disability or similar terms and so this is the term used throughout the proposal.

The proposed exhibition in Namibia will continue the theme of cultural exchange and raising awareness of inclusive crafts. The exhibitions will be accompanied by a catalogue of artefacts and products produced, which will also include everyday living assistive technologies (AT products) and where to obtain them. The AT products and resources support an existing online project that identifies these resources AT-Info-Map, (https://assistivetechmap.org/). During the exhibition Dr Tim Whitehead will present more detail of the outcomes of the previous network event and promote resources for Inclusive crafts, including those accessible from the Crafts Council in the UK.

The catalogue will have a pre-paid reply card to request further information about any of the topics highlighted. Those using the request card will be able to ask to be notified of any new events or work through a range of communication options; and, become members of SAFOD. This will facilitate future dialogue with a wider audience about a wider range of issues relating to disability assistive technology and inclusivity. The project will lead a pathway to the overarching aim of reframing society's view of disability and disabled people.

Planned Impact

This follow-on proposal has two functions in terms of impact for the 66 million people living in Southern Africa:

1) Enhance awareness of available resources and opportunities for disabled people, using the example of inclusive arts and crafts; and,
2) Facilitate knowledge transfer relating to communication tools and resources to build capacity and self-sufficiency in the SAFOD Charity to enable them to more effectively connect with their membership.

1) Raising awareness of opportunities for disabled people, through the examples of inclusive arts and crafts; sign-posting to resources and equipment, targeting different audiences within society is provided by:

a) The printed catalogue and associated web sites will help membership of SAFOD across the ten Countries of Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia) to access the same information via different formats. The online feedback and request option and pre-paid postcard will enable individuals and groups to ask for more information specific to their needs, even though the distances may be large between the available resources.
b) Providing inspirational examples of skills and creativity, along with the artist or crafts person's story, will facilitate the raising of exceptions of disabled people for themselves and change perceptions of the potential a disabled person has within the community in which they live.
c) The exhibition and printed publicity materials, supported by the online website will provide a platform for artists and craftspeople to sell their wares on an international market.
d) Making the artefacts more accessible, will raise the profile of individuals in their communities and internationally.

2) The transfer of skills knowledge and a different way of thinking about the world provides a number of opportunities for disabled people in Southern Africa:

a) Obtain training and knowledge that would be too expensive to access in their home communities.
b) Providing specific training to SAFOD staff (some of whom will be disabled) will enable them to be more self-sufficient when publicising events, sign-posting to resources for SAFOD membership.
c) Being more capable in web design, graphic design and print technology will enable SAFOD staff to better support other members and the local community with high-quality printed and online resources, with the potential to earn additional funds for the Charity through commercial contracts.
d) The development of a 'print team' and resource is the first steps towards the setting up of the first community interest company (CIC) or co-operative within the SAFOD Charity, run predominantly by disabled people. The intention is to develop a template for CIC's and or co-operative businesses that may be used across Southern Africa by SAFOD and affiliates.

Publications

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Description The Award is ongoing, however, the current activities have highlighted:

The need to communicate and make the inclusive crafts communities in Southern Africa aware of the resources and support that are already exists to support them in being more self-sufficient in their arts and craftwork.
The need for a range of communication formats to be used to reach those who do not have direct access to the internet.
The combination of knowledge and experience from UK Crafts Council and personal experiences of artists and crafts people already successful in their fields can help others to develop their work and livelihood.

The AT Webinar highlighted the online resources available to disabled people in Southern Africa for knowledge exchange, but with key challenges of raising awareness and building optimised mechanisms for the two-way flow of knowledge still to be addressed.

The training of staff from the Charity Southern African Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) by Simon Downs in graphic and print design has demonstrated how self-sufficiency can be built in to inclusive businesses.
Exploitation Route The Award is ongoing but it is expected the outcome of the SAATE conference exhibition and distribution of the booklet will result in an increase in interest in the Craftabilities website and requests for information and advice, leading to additional insights to take forward in conjunction with the Charity SAFOD.

The outcomes of the Webinar on Assistive Technology Business Innovations (https://atwebinar.org/) have already led to further collaboration with other Higher Education Institutions and Inclusive businesses in South Africa via the Innovation for African Universities Programme from the British Council. This involves Dr George Torrens and Dr Tim Whitehead expanding the work from the two funded network programmes (AH/R004307/1,AH/S005765/1) and beginning to address the challenges of raising awareness of available Assistive Technology business Innovation resources and mechanisms of knowledge exchange. This is injunction with Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, South Africa and Steel Wheels Inclusive Wheelchair manufacturer.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://atwebinar.org/
 
Description The outcomes of the workshop have been used to focus requests for support an inclusive crafts theme within the conference exhibition (SAATE), Namibia, 24th-26th June 2020, to bring together craftspeople, disabled and able, to discuss issues surrounding inclusive crafts in Southern Africa. Raising awareness of support and resources for inclusive crafts in Southern Africa was one of the outcomes of the workshop. Exemplars of crafts people and their work will be displayed at the conference exhibition, supported by a booklet, plus additional entries to the Craftsabilities website. Tim Whitehead will be presenting some of the outcomes and ways forward suggested by the UK Crafts Council in the previous workshop to the crafts people who will be attending the Conference and Exhibition. The Namibian Government is supporting the conference exhibition with financial support coming from Industry sponsors. To facilitate this activity, Simon Downs, an experienced digital graphic designer and educator, has been training staff from the Charity SAFOD to produce their own printed catalogue and website material. George Torrens has been interviewing Craftspeople from Southern Africa via the SAFOD charity to provide material the SAFOD graphics team can then populate the booklet and provide examples for Tim Whitehead's presentation. A competition to design the SAFOD catalogue template was run with students in their final year of the Visual communications programme, School of Arts, Loughborough University, 2019 with the winner, Miranda Priestley, developing the catalogue template, (https://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/design-school/whats-happening/news/2019/safod.html). She is now working as a freelance graphic designer and strategist, (https://mirandapriestley.co.uk/download-portfolio). Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, the SAATE exhibition has been delayed until September 2022. (https://saate.org/) There has been an associated AT Innovation Webinar produced through this follow-on funding, that has built upon this original programme of work, (AH/R004307/1: Expression of heritage and culture through inclusive arts and crafts design: empowering people with disability to contribute to their community in SA). The Webinar on Assistive Technology Business Innovations was held over two days, 28th-29th September 2021 (https://atwebinar.org/). It had over 200 delegates and 15 presenters from Government, Charities, Academia, and inclusive businesses, including the Hon. Alexia Manombe-Ncube, Deputy Minister of Disability Affairs in the Presidency, Namibia. The presenters were from Botswana, Namibia, Norway, South Africa, United Sates of America, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe. All presentations are freely available to view on the website.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Expression of heritage and culture through inclusive arts and crafts design: empowering people with disability to contribute to their community in SA.
Amount £44,308 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/R004307/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2017 
End 11/2018
 
Description Webinar on Assistive Technology Business Innovations 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The Webinar on Assistive Technology Business Innovations was held over two days, 28th-29th September 2021 (https://atwebinar.org/). It had over 200 delegates and 15 presenters from Government, Charities, Academia, and inclusive businesses, including the Hon. Alexia Manombe-Ncube, Deputy Minister of Disability Affairs in the Presidency, Namibia. The presenters were from Botswana, Namibia, Norway, South Africa, United Sates of America, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe. All presentations are freely available to view on the website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://atwebinar.org/