A woman painting on fabric at a handicrafts fair

Through the India-UK Collaboration Scheme, Crafting Futures in India brings together Indian and UK partners to co-develop and collaborate on projects which explore new futures for craft in India and investigate the following questions: 

  • What are new ecosystems for craft? How can traditional skills, contemporary design and enterprise come together to create new systems?
  • How can craft be a route to women’s empowerment and leadership?
  • How can craft address global environmental challenges?
  • How can craft tourism ensure craft is widely appreciated?
  • What possibilities does digital technology bring to craft? 

The last few years of the pandemic have been particularly challenging, and the craft sector has experienced dramatic changes because of the subsequent lockdown. At this time of uncertainty, the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme aims for a sustainable future through making and collaboration – supporting a future for craft by understanding its value in our history, culture and world today. 

Round two of the India-UK Collaboration scheme will take place from 2022 - 2023. Collaborative projects were selected in November 2021 and bring together Indian and UK partners to co-develop and collaborate on projects with the same investigative questions as round one but with a core focus on post- COVID recovery and an exploration into new futures for craft in India.

Meet the recipients of Crafting Futures 2022- 2023

Indian Institute of Crafts and Design and West Dean College

This project an exchange of knowledge between Indian & UK ceramic practices focusing on design strategies, technology, market intelligence, material knowledge and community practice based at Baswa in Rajasthan. The practices, processes, techniques, material knowledge, design training sessions, will be digitally captured to build an online repository of knowledge. The cluster will be connected to makers and artists, with planned exhibition in UK, paving way for enhanced immersive exchanges like residencies and experiential tourism in the post pandemic world.

INTACH Hooghly Chapter and University of Liverpool

This project empowers women led craft groups in the Hooghly region by learning new skills in modern batik work thus allowing them to represent the individual meanings to their communities of the loss of green capital. The crafters will demonstrate leadership on behalf of their communities during the public livestreamed ceremony connecting their individual patches to make a tapestry. The Silka app produced at the end of the project will be a major outward-facing outcome of the project allowing users to understand more about adversities those communities have experienced and showcasing the silk-crafts the communities produce. The app content can be explored off-line or can be used to augment (and encourage) physical visits to the locality.

Jaipur Rugs Foundation and University of Arts London

This project focuses on advancing economic empowerment for rural women carpet weavers in Jaipur who suffered financial losses due to the pandemic. The project aims at providing them with design tools, knowledge resources and opportunities they need for turning their creative capabilities into economic potential. The artisans will be trained in design development, digital skills and tools for better implementation of their design training and the final products will be exhibit on an online portal.

The first round of collaborative projects took place 2019 - 2020. For more information on the selected projects from round one click here.

The projects have been successful in developing and strengthening the craft sector in India and providing models of practice and collaboration which have helped strengthen the craft sector globally, while enhancing or creating new networks between the UK and India.