20 February 2020 -

The travel scholarship was awarded for a paper presentation made at the International Conference on Design and Technology, held at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel between June 18-19, 2019. With passion in Design, Research and Education, cross cultural exposure within India and abroad has been crucial in facilitating ethnographic studies since undergraduate education, the opportunity to visit Haifa was one of a kind – visiting the conference that covered topics from art, fashion, technology, crafts and design; and, visiting the holy city of Jerusalem and nearby places for endless inspiring locations for cross-cultural learning. The visit enabled assimilation of culturally rich traditions - architecture, textiles, faiths, beliefs, practices, local life, cuisine, tourism; contemporary education in science and technology and much more.

The presentation of the paper at the conference involved publishing a part of doctoral research work. The doctoral research aims at bridging the gap between . The textile industry in India is the second largest employment provider, after agriculture. Since the past two decades, there has been a sharp decline in the handloom and handicraft sector despite involvement of the Government, NGO’s and designer brands mainly due to machine made products, shifting of skilled labor to other occupations, limited technological up-gradation, etc. Several authors have documented crafts in great detail, marketers and researchers have studied fashion preferences and marketing strategies, but few researchers have explored possibilities of embedding electronics in textile crafts.

With a background in Textile Design, several craft clusters, museums, libraries, online repositories were studied to gather a vocabulary of traditional textile crafts. Then, possibilities of embedding electronics were explored. Of the several prototypes designed, the present paper reports design and experimentation with hand embroidered jacket, bundi, with LED strip on the inner side. Understanding the capacity of textiles in expressing emotions and feelings in a social context, through subtle non-verbal visual cues, was a primary objective of the experiment. This was done as published literature on emotive aspects of static and dynamic crafts in India is also very limited.

The study was conducted with 124 students studying fashion design and fashion management in the North-East of India. The participants interacted with the jacket briefly and the response was made for a photo elicitation study, where a model wearing the jackets is seated in a cafeteria with neutral facial expression amidst a group of known and unknown people and is expressing herself through the LED colors of the jacket. 12 Emotions (6 positive – Happiness, Optimism, Awesome, Interesting, Admirable and Surprised; 6 negative – Sadness, Pessimism, Boring, Annoying, Disgusting and Angry) were rated on a 5-point Likert scale for both the static and the dynamic jacket with LEDs with respect to the 8 colors (Red, Green, Blue, Teal, Purple, Orange, Yellow and White). List of seven feelings (I am relaxed, Leave me alone, I am waiting, I am thinking deeply, I am ok to chat with anyone, I am angry, I am in a good mood) were also rated on a 5 point Likert scale with respect to the eight colors of LEDs.

The statistical analysis was carried out on IBM SPSS, the data was non-parametric. Significant result was obtained for emotions evoked and feelings expressed by the visual cues (8 colors) of the dynamic jacket with respect to the static jacket. The response yields a positive attitude of users towards digital crafts and their likability to use it in near future. India being a diverse and culturally distinct population, Larger sample size, different user categories and context specific prototypes need to be experimented. The present research is an initial step towards designing digital crafts and encourages designers and researchers to design with seamlessness for contemporary lifestyle.

(With few excerpts from the paper presented at the conference).

I sincerely thank the Design History Society for awarding the travel scholarship, for finding my application worthy of the grant and making my travel a memorable experience.

Few links that may be accessed online for learning have been mentioned below.

Youtube: DESIGNTECH 2019 International Conference.

Indian Institute of Crafts & Design, Jaipur, Rajasthan is a leading institution offering under-graduate and post-graduate degree programmes in various disciplines. It keenly works towards the evolution of artisans and crafts in present socio-economic times. Few links from Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, Jaipur, Rajasthan.

D'source, Digital-learning Environment for Design, has a repository of Design related projects through an intensive collaboration of various schools across India. With the keywords ‘crafts’ several projects may be accessed.

Deepshikha is a PhD Research Scholar at the Department of Design in Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Assam.


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