There are a number of social benefits to be derived from making craft.
Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King, shared this belief recently at a craft workshop, currently under way at Courtyard by Marriott.
He stated that evidence has shown that craft can be a means of reaching marginalized groups, such as deviant youth and persons with learning disabilities.
“A study undertaken in Botswana showed that by engaging youth in a craft project, it reduced poverty, that it had an overall positive impact on individuals working in the sector, their families and communities, particularly rural dwellers, those with little or no formal education and other marginalized people,” he said.
Mr. King suggested that it was time for Barbados and the region to take steps to raise the profile of the craft sector locally and regionally.
“I believe that it is time for us in the region to reverse this trend. We have the skills, we have the creative ability and the raw materials. What we lack is the strength of conviction in our products and in some cases technical support,” he maintained.
The Minister of Culture noted that his vision was to see the art and craft sector become an important part of the greater cultural and creative industry sector.
“Art and craft should be considered an integral part of the tourism business, providing souvenirs and mementos, thereby expanding the visitor experience. Crafts people possess entrepreneurial characteristics such as creativity, innovation, risk-taking and opportunity recognition. Craft makers can attract new tourists to their communities by producing new products,” he advised.
Mr. King appealed to those involved in the craft sector to utilize local raw materials such as plants, and to embrace the current upcycling trends, thereby using items that we now throw away.