Day 1: Manizales

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Most of the DEED student team has arrived in Manizales and the project has been kicked off with a bang (and an activity-filled day.) An event with several speakers inaugurated the project. Here, we gave a presentation entitled “Design, Innovation, and Craft without Borders: the Case of DEED” which was very well received. We’ll post our slide deck soon, and as usual, what was most controversial were our “6 Rules for Fieldwork.” Surprisingly, our rule on not exchanging any money with our artisan collaborators always raises the most questions, and even concerns.

After a delicious lunch in an antique disabled train car, the afternoon was one of planning our week ahead. Dominque, from our student team kicked it off with an ice breaker, and then we met 5 artisans – each from a different town in the state of Caldas (in which Manizales is the capital.) The variety of craft represented included dried palm weaving, basket weaving, silver & gold jewelry (from a mining town), silk thread weaving (they harvest their own silk!) and sheep’s wool weaving. Quite the variety, and products of beautiful quality.

All in all a great day, and looking forward to a week of town hopping. We’ll be visiting three of the five places represented. It’s clear that our local partners have specific products in mind, so our focus will be to ensure the artisans are at the center of all decision-making, and to capture long-term dreams, goals, and needs.

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