Roundtable on “Cloth, Culture and Development” 24 – 25 August 2014 At the Meeting Room of Social Research Institute, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Roundtable on “Cloth, Culture and Development” Date: 24-25 August 2014 Venue: Meeting Room, Social Research Institute (SRI), Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand Organizer: International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), the Netherlands Local Partners: 1. Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Chiang Mai University, Thailand 2. Fai Gaem Mai, Knowledge and Technology Center for Northern Textile, Science and Technology Research Institute, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Concept Note: At the Roundtable Cloth, Culture and Development we explore the use of culture in articulations of artisanal cloth (and its production) in Asia. Representations of artisans as repositories of cultural ingenuity, together with their own acquiescence to this archetypal status, illuminates dominant national and global ideologies impinging upon lives of artisanal producers. There is also the problem of the heightened marginalization of Third World artisans under the impact of economic globalization and its attendant commodification of culture. Competition from mass produced craft goods, shifting patterns of consumption and taste, and global standards and policies for trade protection and intellectual property are forcing artisanal producers to lead “precarious” lives in a rapidly changing world. Most recently the attention being given to places of artisanal production via global bodies like the UNESCO and WTO have invigorated debates pertaining to re-articulations of culture among countries of the South. The drive for gaining certification from global bodies like the UNESCO for the protection of nation’s cultural “intangible” (artisanal) heritage, as in the example of Indonesia for Batik textiles, and the national-level Geographical Indications (GI) label for the Kanchipuram sari by the state government of Tamil Nadu in south India, are cases in point. Accommodation of artisans within the neatly defined sphere of modern political engagement and state dispensation – the community, further exacerbates their vulnerability. Refracted through the lens of a non-modern conception of community
- “traditional” and “self-contained”, artisanal producers are seen by the state to be spatially and temporally out of sync with progress and change. The continued representation of community as the site of a timeless sphere of culture, local knowledge and subsistence economy in such discourses has only deepened the modernist denial of on-going constructions of community together with their politics and economics beyond national borders (Walker, 2009). Often reinforced in state-led implementations of development and preservation provisions, such depictions of artisanal producers rarely take cognizance of the fact that notions of what constitutes “culture” itself could be the basis of their domination (Herzfeld, 2010). Authorised notions of cultural heritage (Smith, 2006) – those that privilege autochthony, place, possession and aesthetic judgment on the international stage of civilizational achievement, in fact pervade popular beliefs, expert opinions and state-led policies and practices, namely trade, design, development and museology, pertaining to artisanal products world-wide. The need to draw firm cultural and spatial boundaries between groups as well as their spatialisation within colonial, postcolonial (and crypto-colonial) cartographies of craft only serves to reinforce their alleged naturalness as markers of cultural difference (Kawlra, 2014). Significantly, it obscures the fact that artisanal producers inhabit historically contingent everyday lives imbricated within dominant narratives of culture and development.
This Roundtable on Cloth, Culture and Development therefore problematizes nationalismâ€™s constructions of culture and development in order to draw attention to the diverse narratives of artisanal cloth production in Asia. We are interested in how claims of culture embodied in artisanal cloth are made towards diverse ends, broadly captured under the rubric of development: o Regional integration o Trans-border belonging o National identity creation and strengthening o Economic development o Grassroots empowerment o Gender justice o Design development intervention o Technology up-gradation and materials research o Museum collecting and knowledge production o Intellectual and ecological property rights o Global, regional and local markets for cultural products On the first day we will hear narratives from practitioners (private and non-governmental) and state officials engaged in artisanal cloth production and sale from different parts of Thailand. The key sub themes include: o Cultural Value o Design and Technology o Markets o Production Organisation o Raw materials, Credit, Regulations etc. o Sustainability, Transmission and Training The second day of the Roundtable will centre on narratives of culture and development from different parts of Asia. During the Roundtable the participants will be expected to make a very brief visually enriched presentation of no more than 3 to 5 minutes for the Presentation Forum on their specific area study. These will then be discussed in the subsequent Discussion Forum and in the Concluding Forum of Day 2 of the Roundtable, a consolidation will take place for inputs to a policy relevant document.
Roundtable Schedule Day 1 (Sunday 24 August 2014) : Thailand – Laos Focus 08.15 hrs. Vans pick-up at the Hotels 08.30-09.00 hrs. Registration 09.00-09.15 hrs. Welcome remarks by Dhanaporn Supreyasilp, Director of Institute for Science and Technology Research, Chiang Mai University 09.15–09.30 hrs. Introduction by convenors 09.30-10.45 hrs. Session on “Cultural Significance of Artisanal Cloth and its Production” 1. Songsak Prangwatthanakun 2. Prapaipan Daengjai 3. Pranorm Thapeang 10.45-11.00 hrs. Tea/Coffee break 11.00-12.30 hrs. Session on “Parameters of Market, Raw Materials, Design and Technology” 1. Nittaya Mahachaiwong 2. Lamorna Cheesman 3. Jan-kam Keawma 4. Keosiri Everingham 12.30-13.30 hrs. Lunch 13.30-15.00 hrs. Session on “Concerns of Transmission and Futures of Artisans” 1. Carol Cassidy 2. Saeng-aroon Chairat 3. Nussara Tiengket 4. Nitas Jantorn 15.00-15.30 hrs. Tea/Coffee break 15.30-16.30 hrs. Conclusion session 16.30-17.15 hrs. Curator Walk on “From the Hands of the Hills” by Victoria Vorreiter, Chiang Mai-based photographer and researcher 17.15 hrs. Welcome Dinner
Day 2 (Monday 25 August 2014) 08.30 hrs. Vans pick-up at the Hotels 09.00-10.30 hrs. Session on “Cultural Significance of Artisanal Cloth and its Production” 1. Ayami Nakatani 2. Laretna T. Adishakti 3. Sandra Niessen 10.30-11.00 hrs. Tea/Coffee break 11.00-12.30 hrs. Session on “Parameters of Market, Raw Materials, Design and Technology” 1. Annapurna Mamidipudi 2. Min-Chin Chiang 3. Seiko Sugimoto 4. Wan-Lee Chen 12.30-13.30 hrs. Lunch 13.30-15.00 hrs. Session on “Concerns of Transmission and Futures of Artisans” 1. John ter Horst 2. Aarti Kawlra 3. Philippe Peycam 4. Michael Herzfeld 15.00-15.30 hrs. Tea/Coffee break 15.30-16.30 hrs. Concluding Remarks 17.15-18.30 hrs. Visit the House of Otome, a Dutch Anthropologist, to see her Lisu Collections 18.45 hrs. Farewell dinner
List of Participants Academics 1. Aarti Kawlra is a social anthropologist and currently Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), New Delhi. She was formerly Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden in The Netherlands where she was part of the research cluster on critical heritage in Asian contexts. Her interest in craft and artisans traverses disciplinary boundaries between anthropology, history and cultural studies. She has had a two decade long engagement with India’s ‘continuing craft traditions’ discursively constructed as folk and tribal art, vernacular design, indigenous knowledge, ethnic costume/fashion and cultural heritage. She has published in Design Issues (MIT Press), Fashion Theory, Berg Encyclopaedia of World Dress and Fashion: South Asia and South East Asia (Berg Publishers), Global Textile Encounters (Oxbow Books, forthcoming), and Feminist Visions of the Network Society (Zubaan, forthcoming) among others. 2. Ayami Nakatani is a professor in anthropology at Okayama University, Japan. She obtained a D.Phil. at the University of Oxford in 1996. She was also a visiting fellow at Kyoto University from 2000 to 2003, an affiliated fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in 2002 and 2011. She has conducted anthropological research in a weaving village located in North-eastern part of Bali, Indonesia since 1991, and more recently in the Netherlands. Her research topics include the perception and practice of women’s work in the changing socio-economic context in Bali, the production and consumption of Indonesian and other textiles in Japan, and the process of fashionalization of Balinese brocades. Her published works include Onna no shigoto no esunogurafi (Ethnogpraphy of women’s work, a singleauthored book in Japanese, 2003), “Transgressing Boundaries: The Changing Division of Labour in the Balinese Weaving Industry.” Indonesia Circle, 67: 249-271, 1995, “’Eating Threads’: Brocade as Cash Crop for Weaving Mothers and Daughters in Bali”, in Staying Local in the Global Village: Bali in the Twentieth Century, edited by R. Rubinstein & L. H. Connor, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999, “Ritual as ‘work’: the invisibility of women’s socio-economic and religious roles in a changing Balinese society” in Inequality, crisis and social change in Indonesia, edited by T. Reuter, London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003, ‘The Emergence of “Nurturing Fathers” in The Changing Japanese Family, edited by M. Rebick et al., London: Routledge, 2006, and “Housewives’ work/ mothers’ work: The changing position of housework in Dutch society”, in Asian Women and Intimate Work, edited by Kaoru Aoyama and Emiko Ochiai, Brill, 2013. Currently, she leads a collaborative research project, funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), on the theme of “The Comparative Studies of the Production, Marketing and Consumption of Traditional Textiles and Crafts in the Asian region.” This project comprises of seventeen anthropologists and textile experts from Japan and elsewhere, specializing in various areas including Indonesia, India, China and Japan 3. Françoise Vergès is Consulting Professor at the Center for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, London and Research Associate, Collège d’études mondiales, Paris. She has written on vernacular practices of memories, on slavery and the economy of predation, the ambiguities of French abolitionism, French republican colonialism, colonial and postcolonial psychiatry in the French colonial empire, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, French postcolionality, the routes of migration and processes of creolization in the Indian Ocean world. She has argued for a postcolonial ‘museum without objects’ and conceived a ‘museum of the living present’ at Reunion Region representing the lives and practices of subalterns. 4. John ter Horst is a cultural anthropologist and lecturer social sciences at the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle, the Netherlands. In 2008 he finished his dissertation ‘Weaving Into Cambodia’, at the Free University in Amsterdam. In this dissertation and several other articles, papers and books, he describes the existence of several identity and modernization narratives concerning the involvement of so-called Overseas Chinese in the organization of the Cambodian silk weaving industry. In his work he illustrates that ethnic Chinese, who are long established in Cambodia, dominate both the production and trade of the sampot hol , a silk woven dress considered as a Khmer national symbol. Elaborating on Marxist, post-structuralist and post-modernist theories however he tackles the complexity of Khmer national culture and explains both the visibility and invisibility of ethnic Chinese involvement in the organization of the Cambodian silk weaving industry. 5. Michael Herzfeld is Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences and Curator of European Ethnology in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. His research Interests include social theory, history of Anthropology, social poetics, politics of history; Europe (especially Greece & Italy), and Thailand. He is advisor to the IIAS on critical heritage studies and urban renewal projects. His many publications include among others Cultural Intimacy: Social Poetics in the Nation-State 1997 and The Body Impolitic: Artisans and Artifice in the Global Hierarchy of Value, 2004.
6. Min-Chin Chiang (江明親) is Assistant Professor at the Graduate Institute of Architecture and Cultural Heritage and Executive Secretary at the Center for Traditional Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan. She recently published Memory Contested, Locality Transformed: Representing Japanese Colonial ‘Heritage’ in Taiwan (Amsterdam University Press and Chicago University Press, 2012) based on her Ph.D. research. Her research interests lie in craft, intangible heritage, and heritage dynamics in relation to community, institutions and colonialism. 7. Pamela H. Smith is Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University, New York and specializes in early modern European history and the history of science. Her current research focuses on attitudes to nature in early modern Europe and the Scientific Revolution, with particular attention to craft knowledge and historical techniques. She is recipient of the Leo Gershoy Prize for her book The Body of the Artisan awarded in early modern European History by the American Historical Association, 2005. She is the author of “Making as Knowing: Craft as Natural Philosophy,” Ways of Making and Knowing: The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge, co-edited with Amy Meyers and Harold J. Cook, 2014, Bard Graduate Center/University of Michigan Press. 8. Philippe Peycam is a historian and currently Director of the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, Netherlands. He was formerly the founder director of the Center for Khmer Studies in Cambodia, an international – yet locally rooted – institution aimed at promoting scholarship on the region while building local capacities. He shares a research fellowship at the US Institute of Peace, Washington DC and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. 9. Sandra Niessen is a freelance anthropologist. Previously (1988 – 2004) she taught at the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta (Canada) and before that at the Museum of Anthropology (1987-1988), University of British Columbia. Her career has revolved around the textiles of the Batak people of North Sumatra; she has focused on cultural meaning, design heritage and history, regional diversity and techniques of textile construction. Most recently, she has been engaged in the repatriation of materials related to Batak cultural heritage including her depiction, in book form, of the Batak textile repertory, Legacy in cloth, Batak textiles of Indonesia (2009) and her book and film, Rangsa ni Tonun (2013) about a shamanic text from 1872 describing Batak weaving techniques. She has also written on craft, non-Western fashion and sustainable lifestyles and developed many exhibitions on Batak textiles. 10. Seiko Sugimoto is Professor in the faculty of Sociology at the Kyoto Bunkyo University, Japan, with a sustained interest in the anthropology of textiles. One of her current research projects is on the production, circulation and consumption of wild and domestic silk textiles of Japan, India and Madagascar. She is also working on the textile trade of the Indian Ocean world and Japanese print textiles for export in modern times. Her other research interest is the area of media, local communities and globalization. 11. Wan-Lee Chen (陳婉麗) received her Ph.D. in Design and Applied Arts from the University of Edinburgh, UK. Her research and design interests include theater arts, traditional textiles and crafts. Recent teaching and research projects involve bridging traditional and contemporary arts with innovative artistic approaches. She is the director of Center for the Traditional Arts and a professor at the Department of Theatrical Design and Technology at Taipei National University of the Arts.
Local Academics: 1. Chanjittra Chanorn (Baitong), PhD Scholar, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen and Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Baitong is working on “Reviving of Indigo: the ‘merger’ of cultural identity and local economic development in North-eastern Thailand”. 2. Chayan Vaddhanaphuti, Director of Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD) and of the Center for Ethnic Studies and Development (CESD) at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. He has a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1984 and received an Honorary Doctorate in Social Anthropology from Goteborg University, Sweden, in 2004. He has edited numerous books including Transcending State Boundaries: Contesting Development, Social Suffering and Negotiation (2011) and Spatial Politics and Economic Development in the Mekong Sub-region (2011). 3. Nittaya Mahachaiwong, Fai Gaem Mai Project, Science and Technology Research Institute, Knowledge and Technology Center for Northern Textile, Chiang Mai University. Nittaya has done many research and development project on technological development for textile producers. Many of the projects are aimed to transfer Eri silk clean production technology to silk and textile producers. 4. Songsak Prangwatthanakun, Lanna Studies Center, Faculty of Humanities, Chiang Mai University. Songsak is a textile historian, expert in Nan Province local textiles. And he has publications on Nan and Lanna textiles. Songsak has also engaged in number of traditional textile exhibitions, fashion shows and textile museums. For example he has been an advisor to the Bank of Thailand Museum, Northern Region Office.
Practitioners 1. Annapurna Mamidipudi is currently engaged in her doctoral research in STS (Science, Technology, Society studies) at Maastricht University. Her project conceptualizes handloom weaving as a sustainable socio-technology, as an equitable economic activity, and as embedded knowledge for sustainable societies. Her research is grounded in her fifteen year long experience in Dastkar Andhra, an NGO that supports livelihoods of vulnerable handloom weavers in rural India, which she helped set up. Her publications include: A. Mamidipudi et al. 2012. “Mobilising Discourses.” Economic & Political Weekly 47 (25: 41-51); “Saris of Andhra Pradesh.” in M. Singh. 2010. Saris of India, Development Commissioner Handlooms: 218-241. 2. Carol Cassidy is a textile artist and weaver. Educated in the craft of weaving in Norway and the art of design in Finland, Carol has committed her life to textile art and craft. Her studies with Dorg Jung, a pioneer in textile art in the mid-century modern movement and Sherri Smith at University of Michigan helped shape her art. Interested in weaving as a “global women’s language”, Carol continued her studies in development, feminist and social anthropology. Her professional career with the United Nations, IFAD and other development agencies spans more than 30 years and has been solely dedicated to ways in which artisans are able to earn a livelihood by using their traditional skills. In 1990 she established Lao Textiles, a silk hand weaving studio dedicated to the art and traditions of Lao weaving. In 2002 she assumed sponsorship of Weaves of Cambodia, a silk hand weaving studio of disabled persons in rural Cambodia dedicated to Khmer traditions. She serves as an advisor to various other weaving projects including Eri silk weaving of indigenous weavers in NE India. Carol is an active textile designer, teacher, lecturer and manager. Her work was featured at the Textile Museum in Washington DC in “Out of Southeast Asia: Art That Sustains”. She will present an illustrated talk “Weaving Art from Tradition: Crafting Survival in a Modern World”. 3. Laretna T Adishakti (Yogyakarta, 19 October 1958) is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Center for Heritage Conservation, Department of Architecture & Planning, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and Director, Natural Indigo Batik Research and Design, Galeri Batik Jawa Indigo Co., Ltd. She is also a painter and a flower arranger. Laretna received her Doctorate in Engineering from Kyoto University (1997), while her Master of Architecture degree is from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA (1988). Currently, Laretna facilitates as Board Members, Association of the National Committees for the Blue Shield; Coordinator, Indonesian National Committee of Blue Shield; Facilitator, the International Field School on Asian Heritage, Indonesian Heritage Cities Program, and also the International Field School on Borobudur Heritage Saujana. She is a Member of the Asian Academy for Heritage Management, UNESCO-ICCROM; the International Council on Monument and Sites (ICOMOS), the KERUPUK/Komunitas Peduli Ruang Publik Jogja (Community of Jogja Public Space); the Eisenhower Fellowship and the Chairperson and co-founder of the Jogja Heritage Society, and Vice President, Indonesian Heritage Trust. She selected as Eisenhower Fellow in USA (2002), served as Selection Committee for Rolex Award for Enterprises (2006), and received Nikkei Asia Prizes 2009 for Culture, in Tokyo, Japan.
Local Practitioners: 1. Jan-kam Keawma, The craftsman who is the head of handloom weavers in Na Dao community. The group has a workshop called the Natural Fiber and Natural Dyed Production Learning Center, Na Dao Village, Serm Ngarm District, Lampang province. The group plants cotton in natural way and produces textiles by traditional technique. And they had developed their own unique patterns called ‘Soi Dok Mak’ and ‘Med Prik Tai.’ 2. Keosiri Everingham, Thai and Laos traditional textile collector and the founder of Keo Siri Collections in Bangkok. Due to her long experience of working with craftsmen of many ethnic groups dealing with divers of textiles, Keosiri is widely known as expert in Thai and Lao traditional textiles. 3. Lamorna Cheesman, born in United Kingdom and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand at the age of 8 with her family. Her mother, Patricia Cheesman Naenna, a renowned textile expert and author of Lao Tai textiles: The textiles of Xam Nuea and Muang Phuan among other founded Studio Naenna textiles gallery. Lamorna Cheesman attended both Thai school and Interactional school alternately so she is completely bilingual in both Thai and English. Studio Naenna is the family business, Lamorna now pursues the business with her lifelong experience in textiles. Her connection with the weavers while growing up gave her strong ethics and environmental conscious. She is taking Studio Naenna into a wider market, with a sumptuous colours palette and new fiber combinations along with some of her own personal clothing designs. 4. Nitas Jantorn, The local historian and craftsman. Nitas has co-worked with a number of development projects with academic and development organizations in Uthai Thani. Nitas successfully cooperates with the Knowledge and Technology Center for Northern Textile, Chiang Mai University (http://www.ist.cmu. ac.th/cotton/) in trying to produce Eri silk, a new alternative natural fiber. 5. Nussara Tiengket, the textile designer, craftsman and lecturer at the Lanna Wisdom School. Since 1980s Nussara has been working with local craftsmen in Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai dealing to develop the local textile called Tin Jok. She has taught them to be creative in design and to develop new patterns. Inspired by skillful and wisdom local craftsmen Nussara has opened a shop to present their hand-made woven products named Nussara. 6. Pranorm Thapeang, The national artist in fine art, textile designer and natural dyeing practitioner. Pranorm is very well-known for her indigo dyeing expertise and she is skilful in ‘Tin Jok’ weaving patterns. Due to her expertise, Pranorm has been promoted as the national artist in fine art in 2010. 7. Prapaipan Daengjai, The textile designer and natural indigo dyeing practitioner, is the founder of ‘Thita’ Natural Indigo Dyed Cloth group. The ‘Thita’ products are competitive in the global market. She has developed the brand rooted in while working closely with the local craftsman in Sakonnakorn province, north-eastern of Thailand. http://maeteeta.com/ 8. Saeng-aroon Chairat, Textile designer and plant base dyeing practitioner, and the founder of Fai Plauk Mai Learning Center, Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai. Saeng-aroon has formed a group of local and ethnic weavers in Mae Chaem. The group produces cotton hand weaving textiles in traditional and new design displayed in the workshop.