I have established contact with two out of the three non-profit organizations that I would like to work with. Each of the three organizations provides different types of information that I need in order to implement my thesis. I have spoken to Aid to Artisans that have put me in touch with the organization that they work with in India so that I can speak to them to figure out how to set up a community of artisans that will be paid fair wages to produce my proposed designs. I also spoke to the Institute of International Social Development that does similar work to that of Aid to Artisans, but cover a wider range of issues such as providing artisan communities in an eastern state of India access to micro credit, health insurance, education, and life insurance. I am hoping that they will be able to assist me in eventually setting up a system so that I can address all these important issues as well, and not just focus on providing jobs to the artisans. The third non-profit organization, Dastkar, which is based in India, still has not responded to my emails. The organization works with artisans to help them sell their products, but does not intervene in their product development. Because they have a huge network of artisans that they work with, I am hoping that they will be able to connect me with artisans who work with bone. The problem that I am having is that the two organizations that I did establish contact with do not work with independent designers due to insufficient funds and the lack of time. So although they are willing to answer questions and give me feedback about my ideas, they have made it clear that they cannot assist me further. I am hoping that this will not be the case with Dastkar.
I have spoken to many individuals who are knowledgeable about aspects of my thesis topic, including manufacturers of bone products, and they have helped me connect with other individuals and sources that will provide me with more information. They have also helped me identify where there are holes in my topic, which I am now trying to find answers to.
I feel that I need to now get in touch with the organization that Aid to Artisans works with in India, as well as to the sector of the Institute for International Social Development in India, so that I can start to figure out how I am going to organize a group of artisans and how to determine their wages. Not only will Dastkar be able to help me connect with the artisans, but I am also hoping that the manufacturers that I have been corresponding with will be able to assist me in connecting with the artisans.
I am going back to India in December and will hopefully meet with the non-profit organizations mentioned above. I am also trying to set up meetings with artisans in villages (through the manufacturers that I have been in contact with) that work specifically with bone. By doing this I hope to get a better understanding of the craft, the industry, the lives of the artisans, and be able to collaborate with them to make new products for a new market.