CONDUCTING DESIGN RESEARCH IN PAKISTAN’S CRAFT SECTOR: OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS

Gwendolyn Kulick

Abstract


Craft production in Pakistan has many facets, from cheap exploitative mass production to exquisite product lines, highlighting the beauty of the handmade. For my current PhD research, a specific field of practice has been identified: craft projects aiming to develop income generation opportunities for poor craft producers. The development of successful strategies towards including them into craft business value chains long term is the aim of the research, presented in this paper. Aspects of the complex relationship between craft tradition, craft production, poverty alleviation and empowerment inform my topic.

Research methods like a case study investigation are described. My simultaneous role as researcher and field practitioner is discussed as well as challenges and opportunities of an environment that can be described as unpredictable, yet as highly supportive, open and appreciative. Ad hoc chances for research activities and serendipity do not occasionally feed this study, but are enabling it at its core through providing rich and diverse information. This research process I named ‘Research by Chance’, and its characteristics and requirements for the researcher are outlined in the conclusions. The current research state and the future steps are described in the end.

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