The central proposition of this research is that design—understood as the human activity that creates material culture and doing so, transforms our living conditions—can be an important means of empowerment for traditional communities. This case study focused on a crafts cooperative created in Guaraqueçaba, Southern Brazil by craftspeople from the Caiçara culture. Since the region of Guaraqueçaba comprises one of the biologically richest ecosystems in the world, an environmental protection area was created in 1985 to regulate the use of natural resources. These regulations imposed severe restrictions to the subsistence practices of Caiçara communities, causing their impoverishment and a great damage to their culture. This case study shows the Caiçara population successfully striving to improve their living conditions by creating crafts for sale. This study aimed to understand how craft design allowed for craftspeople’s empowerment and the revitalization of Caiçara culture. The approach to data collection in the field was inspired by ethnography, making use of semi-structured interviews, participant observation and photos of physical artifacts. This case study had an exploratory nature, examining matters related to empowerment and cultural revitalization produced through design agency, aiming to provide the scope for future research.
|Keywords:||Crafts, Empowerment, Design, Cultural Revitalization, Caiçara Culture, Crafts Cooperative, Guaraqueçaba, Brazil, Environmental Protection Area|
Faculté de l’aménagement, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Assistant Professor, École de Design Industriel, Faculté de l'Aménagement, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Full Professor, École de Design Industriel, Faculté de l'Aménagement, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada