A group of designers are teaming up with artisans from the Oaxaca region of Mexico to host a program that will provide training, collaboration, promotion and fair commercialization of their work. This social design project titled “Innovating Tradition” was started by Kythzia Barrera as her thesis at the Man and Humanity masters course at the Design Academy of Eindhoven
“The project started with a profound desire of finding a place for Mexican traditional crafts in a globalized world. After a couple of years, we are doing so by creating collaborative methodologies for artisans and designers to challenge the future,” says Kythzia Barrera
Innovating Tradition is fighting against the existent threats that artisans in Oaxaca face such as migration to the USA for better living opportunities, the importation of cheap products from Asia, the prohibition of leaded glazes and the lack of support from the government. The ongoing project is based on a collaborative design toolbox that provides training, technological development and an interdisciplinary approach that brings together designers and artisans with engineers, sociologists and artists. Some of the workshops they’ve organized have counted with the participation of international designers like Pekka Harni from Finland and Yuka Takahashi from Japan who joined the artisans in Oaxaca to explore and collaborate on new designs that preserve the Mexican identity.