At a time when globalization is linking areas spatially but disconnecting pasts and presents everywhere, the designer is an important mediator between discontinuous realities. Designers are thus an interface between tradition and modernity, helping match craft production to the needs of modern living. Crafts in the developing world remain, dominantly, an activity cast in a predominantly rural matrix, whereas the market is increasingly urban, if not global. The designer must work in a deep collaborative format, negotiating relationships with end users in urban centres, consumers, and artisans- in a careful and systematic process of consultation, research, co design, testing, and evaluation. The designer is facilitator, mentor, interpreter, preserver, and protector of culture. They must be able to implement professional design discourses, negotiate complex collaborations with co designers, and undertake visualisation, adapt and transform.
Photo courtesy of North South Project: Estha Baskets