The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) is leading a delegation of artisans to Colombia this weekend as part of an on-going Technical Cooperation Initiative between Barbados and Colombia, aimed at strengthening technical expertise in the cultural industries.

The BIDC???s Business Development Officer, Craft, Ms. Sheena Thorne and Design Adviser, Ms. Stella Hackett, will lead the group of eight artisans through the week-long mission, which is intended to upgrade their skills in jewellery making and leather tanning.

Artisans taking part in the Sunday, July 28 to Saturday, August 3 mission are Catherine Rocheford and Gloria Chung – Jewellery Artisan/Designers; Louise Parris – Metalsmith/Conservator; Betty Marshall – Jewellery Artisan; Errol Watson, Marva Maynard and Carson Cumberbatch – Leather Artisans; and Valis Kellman – Tanner.

Training for the jewellery artisans takes place in Bogot?? where they will be exposed to finishing techniques, product design and closures. Those in the leather group will travel to Bucaramanga to be trained by an expert in leather goods manufacture. They will also receive exposure to tanning. The BIDC representatives will also be trained in product design processes and get some insight into the National Service of Learning (SENA) training model.

The initiative stems from a proposal put to the Government of Colombia in August last year by the Embassy of Barbados in Caracas and the BIDC. It follows a diagnostic visit to Barbados in June, this year, from a Colombian team comprising officials from the South-South Cooperation Department of the Ministry of External Relations of Colombia, SENA and the Artesanias de Colombia Corporation.

The project is expected to position the creative sector to contribute to Barbados??? national goal of increased exports, by strengthening and expanding the technical skills of artisans, jewellers and leather workers here. It should also advance product development among them, by exploring more creative uses of local organic materials, enhancing production and finishing techniques.

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