RISE Worldwide’s ‘Bylanes – Crafting the New Normal’ – Day Four

‘Bylanes – Crafting the New Normal’ was RISE Worldwide’s initiative to capture the current state of business for the artisan clusters in the country since a lot has changed over the years, especially in the past 2 years due to the pandemic. This documentary explores the way craftspeople are adapting to technology and digitisation be it through using online tools for training, selling or marketing; how the youth are looking at craft through a new lens and growing into micro-entrepreneurs. Featured were the craft hubs of Chanderi, Srinagar and Kutch but truly it was a mirror to India’s hands that created magic across the length and breadth of the country.

The internet has reached clusters way before the pandemic and organisations like DEF – Digital Empowerment Foundation, Okhai, Shrujan and many more have been working with artisans using digital tools to facilitate the process of design, production and marketing. However, the pandemic accelerated the use of the internet, smartphones and social media where the artisans have started looking at these tools as essential ways of working.

 The documentary, “Bylanes – Crafting the New Normal” was an informative and touching look at India’s artisans, crafts persons, weavers and printers whose livelihood for generations depended on their skills. The interviews with award winning embroiderers, weavers, tailors and printers from all over India, revealed that the crafts business is chaotic and needs to be highlighted. The film made very interesting viewing as their business was affected adversely for the past three years and more so during the Corona-19 lockdown and how they were coping with these problems.

The documentary showed how crafts persons in India were eager to upgrade their skills with technology.

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