Creative Learning for Change

Arts Research and Documentation

Grant Period: One year and six months

To most school students, education has come to mean the high marks needed to pursue careers limited to medicine, engineering, commerce, and management. In effect, they are involved in learning by rote to achieve a dubious distinction.

This grant supports a project by Creative Learning for Change (CLC), New Delhi, to develop a crafts manual to sensitise students in the age group of 13-17 years to the myriad crafts traditions of India and the corresponding social environments, and help enhance their awareness and appreciation of crafts and craftspeople. CLC is an NGO engaged in translating field-based data and real-life experience into innovative and relevant educational material. CLC's additional strength lies in its being an agent of potential change from within the system, bringing the outside world into the classroom in a fresh and original way.

The project draws upon a yearlong initiative that CLC conducted with a school in Jaipur, exploring Rajasthani crafts with teachers and craftspeople, motivating students in a class­room situation to produce similar artifacts, wall newspapers on crafts awareness, posters, prose, and poetry. An evaluation of that experience showed that CLC had successfully sensitised the entire school to the historical legacy of Jaipuri crafts traditions. In this experience, CLC believes it has a successful model well worth replicating on a larger scale.

The proposed manual may include an anecdote about a master craftsman from Nagaland, a traditional prayer to a tree by a Karnataka sculptor, an explanation of the wide use of the paisley motif in Kashmiri handicrafts, the lost wax process of tribal metal-ware, and a day in the life of a Tamil Nadu mat weaver. Material in preparation will be actively tested in selected schools, while CLC’s pilot project in Jaipur will serve as a mirror reflecting the possibilities of localized initiatives.

CLC has been encouraged to draw up dissemination plans that include locating funds for the printing and publishing of the manual; creating a leaflet advertising the manual; translating the material into other Indian languages; fixing a low price; and networking with alternative bookstores in various parts of the country in touch with educational institutions.