|Published online: April 11, 2014||$US5.00|
This paper presents the principles and outcomes of an eight-week cycle of creative workshops that joined together designers of Université de Montréal and Atikamekw artisans, in the summer of 2011. Atikamekw is one of Quebec’s First Nations, nicknamed “the people of the bark” because of their skill in crafting birch bark objects. They are also known for their exceptional moose skin work. Presently, Atikamekw artisans face two major challenges: the loss of their cultural identity and the scarce supply of moose skin and birch bark. To address these challenges, the Atikamekw craft cooperative established a partnership with the research group Design & Culture Matérielle. As their first joint action, the creative workshops aimed to design innovative products embodying Atikamekw cultural identity for the global market. The workshops aimed to enhance the participants’ ability to design—by introducing processes of reflection on the meaningful elements of their culture, identification of the necessary resources to make their products, and exploration of new ideas through sketching and modeling—allowing Atikamekw artisans to identify their challenges and to conceive means to address them. This paper underlines how design can be a powerful tool for supporting empowerment in Native communities.
|Keywords:||Native Crafts, Empowerment, Product Design, Social Innovation|
Assistant Professor, École de Design Industriel, Faculté de l'Aménagement, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Faculté de l’Aménagement, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada