Lesson learned from the project: only what is truly designed collaboratively remained in the artisan women’s group a year after the project began. In summer 2008 a team of students redesigned Ajkem’a Loy’a’s store in San Lucas Toliman. Although they worked carefully with the artisan women, it was not a true collaboration, and perhaps this is the reason they never really “owned” the store’s redesign and the work that went into it.
Since last year, the group has left the store they were in and are now occupying a fairly small and dark space in the Sandra’s (the association’s president) home. Today we helped them hang the sign in front of the store so that there is some public visibility for passersby, but the work that had been done in terms of layout and hierarchy of products has been lost.
We reemphasized many of last year’s points today with the women, but only time will tell if they will actually take our comments to heart.
All this being said, no work is lost, and even if as a learning experience, we have all learned from this failed attempt to have Ajkem’a Loy’a truly turn a rented storefront into their own.