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'Les Artisans' project was born from the passion for traveling moved by the curiosity of discovering new cultures. Almost one year of reflection and research combined with previous cultural experience of interacting with artisans in Brazil and Tanzania led me to developing the prototype of the project in Senegal. Senegalese hand-craft scene is extremely rich but at the same time poorly promoted, which is one of the main reason for choosing it as the place where to start. The idea behind Les Artisans has been since the beginning to to enable artisans to engage with customers and vice versa into a closer and more conscious relationship and the biggest challenge was to build a sustainable model driven by design aimed to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of traditional craftsmanship in the developing world. As a result, Senegal became the fieldwork for the primary research of the project. Over the course of two weeks in the African country, I collaborated with artisans in a series of workshops organized by Route Artlantique and at the same time conducted my personal research. The set up plan consisted in meeting an average of two artisans per day, decide if they were suitable for the project, and if they were to collect their stories through video-recorder interviews and pictures. The totality of the data collected provided the database of the platform and an important resource for the further development of the project once back in Europe. The goal of Les Artisans is to create a sustainable option for the future of the creative and social development of Senegal, first, and subsequently of other developing countries around the world with a high consideration of the cultural patterns that characterize every country. Different people, languages, habits and understanding have the opportunity to establish a dialogue and interact through the platform so that Senegalese artisans are encouraged to establish a connection with Western realities, through design. Artisans want visibility, and they deserve to have a way to speak to the world, without being forced to leave their country. The value of this project for the creative industry in advanced and developing economies is through helping them to understand the possibilities of collaboration and growth across geographical distance, through design.
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