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Title: Pidgin plait : fashioning cross-cultural communication through craft
Author: Scott, Kirsten
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 2144
Awarding Body: Royal College of Art
Current Institution: Royal College of Art
Date of Award: 2012
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Through this research, I examine how new, natural, socially and environmentally sustainable materials for western couture millinery may be sourced from a group of marginalized women in south-eastern Uganda, underlining the continued relevance of craft as a mode of production that is both flexible and inclusive. Post-colonial, western perceptions of ‘African’ aesthetics are deconstructed and reconstructed through plaited, palm leaf braids that reflect the irregular surface texture found in traditional African artefacts. These create both a metaphorical and visual ‘pidgin’ language that holds meaning for craftspeople in the developed world as well as for the makers. In the process, questions have been asked about western requirements for product uniformity and how the ‘hand of the maker’ - as signified by irregularity – may be positioned in the markets of industrialized and post-industrialized societies. By creating a product with the potential for longevity and versatility, I have attempted to minimize some problems inherent in sourcing from small-scale craft development projects. The research has been practice-led and is supported by this written dissertation. My own craft practice as a millinery designer and field trips to Uganda - in order to establish a working relationship with the makers, understand their circumstances and to develop the Pidgin Plaits - has been at the core of a process of exchange. Cultural and industrial networks have also been developed in Uganda that may support the longer-term sustainability of the project. Through my research, I identify the considerations confronting the designer seeking to establish such a project and explore the multiple social, cultural and economic factors that impact upon the makers in Uganda,in a project with the potential to transform lives and cultures.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W700 Crafts ; W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design