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The Role of Socio-Technical Instruments in Craft and Design Practice in Indonesia

MALASAN, Prananda L.
Research Group of Human and Industrial Design Product, Faculty of Art and Design, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia.

TRIHARINI, Meirina and IHSAN, Muhammadb,
Research Center for Cultural and Environmental Products, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia

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Craft and design practice has emerged as a tool to improve the economic and social conditions in many regions in Asia. Various approaches have been studied, particularly on using participatory design methods to democratize processes in design for designers and craft communities, focusing on activities that revitalize traditional products or empower craft communities on the margins towards creating their own strategic choices. However, these studies tend to focus on micro-scale activities, which do not properly address the tensions between diverse interests of actors and the influence of micro-, meso-, and macro-political institutions into context. Based on ethnographic research on a development program organized by a design center in Indonesia, we explore the dynamic interests between designers, craft communities, and the design center in bringing economic opportunity to the communities. This article argues that such design practice needs to consider the collision and reconciliation processes among the actors, as well as the power relation resulted from the differing characteristics of formal and informal institutional backgrounds. Finally, this research illustrates the role of socio-technical instruments emerging through such reconciliation process of interests between actors, which consist of technical apparatuses and organizational tools that afford the design activities.

Keywords: participatory design, institution, craft and design, design development

About the Author

Prananda L. Malasan earned a doctoral degree at Department of Cultural Resource Management at Kanazawa University in 2019. Previously, he was also a visiting PhD student in 2016-2019 at the Department of Anthropology, the University of Tokyo, Japan. Born in Indonesia and raised in several places, Prananda has experienced the rich diversity of languages, behaviors, rituals, and people’s everyday activities, which have influenced him to learn more about what culture means to society and adopt this experience to his research and design activities. Bearing this principle to the mind, he believes that with the capacity of design in solving problems and constructing what the future can be, every designer should always consider the socio-cultural context where design activities take place. In other words, design 2 methodology should always be fluid and flexible depending on each contextual factor. Currently, with a concentration on the social studies of craft and design and the everyday politics of small enterprises, Prananda has conducted vast numbers of ethnographic research in various craft villages in Indonesia. He is currently a lecturer and researcher at Industrial Design Department, and also Graduate School of Business and Management, at Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia.

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