Global Advanced Research Journal of Arts and Humanities (GARJAH)
November 2014 Vol. 3(1), pp. 001-005
Copyright © 2014 Global Advanced Research Journals

 

Full Length Research Paper

Indigenous artists and design students team up to create innovative handcraft products, Rwanda

Jean Shange

University of Rwanda, Creative Design Department

E-mail: jeanshange@gmail.com

Abstract

This paper is a descriptive documentation of the outcomes from a collaborative endeavor between design students and indigenous craft artists in Rwanda. The education curriculum plan for Rwanda highlights the need to include traditional/indigenous knowledge in subject syllabi in schools, colleges and universities. The intention of this strategy is to enhance the promotion and preservation of the country’s cultural heritage. The main goal of this paper is to report the results of the collaborative activity introduced through a design course offered as a second year module in the Creative Design Department (CRD), at the University of Rwanda (UR). Specifically, the study investigated the concept of initiating information exchange between design students and indigenous artists through designing and developing innovative handicraft product ideas produced from raw materials found within the country. The methods used to achieve objectives were interviews, observations and creative workshops. The findings showed that reaching out to traditional people of a society is an advantageous technique in facilitating indigenous knowledge and skills to the youth. Furthermore, the ideas developed could be used to improve creativity and the quality of authentic handcrafted products, making them responsive to modern contemporary markets.

Keywords: Indigenous Knowledge and Skills (IKS), craft, art, design.

 

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