Multimedia Archiving of Technological Change in a Traditional Creative Industry: A Case Study of the Dhokra Artisans of Bankra, West Bengal
AI & Society
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This peer-reviewed article describes outcomes of a research project originally supported by AHRB and the European Commission. The article was a collaboration with Rajesh Kochhar, then Director of the Indian National Institute for Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS), describing an ethnographic study of the traditional brass founders of Bankura District, West Bengal. The research built on anthropological work carried out in the 1960s investigating practices of a dwindling group of traditional craftspeople, and their responses to contemporary pressures in the rapidly changing economic environment of India. The focus of the study was the impact of technological innovation, in the form of a new furnace developed on their behalf by NISTADS. The research showed that the economic liberation of access to the new furnace technology led to creative liberation. The study not only produced a definitive digital archive of images and video recordings of practices, but led to the development of an on-line database and research resource: http://www,bankurahorse.com (live until January 2006 and subsequently off-line). A version of the formal report was published as Smith DJ & Kochhar R (2002) The Dhokra Artisans of Bankura, in Brandt D (ed) Navigating Innovations: Indo-European Cross-Cultural Experiences vol 1, Entrepreneurial Case Studies (ISBN 8-18835-315-9) Related work was presented as Brandt D, Cernetic J, Hartmann E, Kochhar R, Mayer F, Nemec B, Scherer E, Smith DJ and Stapleton L (2003); Technology fostering individual, organisational and regional development: An international Perspective. In Rosenthiel L (ed) Kompetenzentwicklung 2003. Waxmann Münster, München. A conference paper on aspects of the topic was given as Smith DJ (2003) Communicating Tacit Knowledge: case studies of the use of multimedia archiving in modern and traditional craft practices, IVSA Conference, Southampton, July 2003. The paper has been anthologised in Gill, S P (ed) 2007 Cognition, Communication and Interaction, London, Springer, (ISBN 978-1-84628-926-2)
16 (4), pp.350-365
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