The terracotta craft community of Gundiyali is an enterprising community open to collaboration and growth. Over the journey of six years, various collaborative engagements through diverse projects, activities and events have taken place with the community starting in 2014. These include introducing innovation through design and technology, and the approach of experiential tourism among others.

About 2018: Envisaging Tourism

With a shift in thought from people exploring authentic experiences instead of materialistic values – the idea of ‘experiential tourism’ has been evolving worldwide. Experiential tourism seeks to look at a tourist as someone who wants to be immersed into the culture, an individual who seeks experience of how people live their lives in a different part of the world through the lifestyle, food delicacies, livelihood, and the climate. The experiential factor is beyond the ‘built’ environment and focuses on community dynamic. The human aspect of crafts and how it binds the community, lifestyle and culture as a catalyst combined with experiential tourism, gave germination to the idea of ‘Craft Experiential Tourism’.

Project: Craft Experiential Tourism Toolkit

Craft experiential tourism establishes that there is more to a craft than the utility of its outcome, and looks at craft as a catalyst that sparks a dialogue about narratives and stories about the people, the place, the community – bringing forth the cultural experience that an experiential tourist is seeking. The craft experiential tourism toolkit emerged in retrospect to the various initiatives carried out in Gundiyali. The toolkit acts as a ready reckoner or a framework for individuals and organizations across the globe who aim to facilitate a craft cluster in becoming a craft experiential tourism cluster.

Stage A : Determining Potential
Gearing a craft cluster towards positioning traditional crafts in the form of an experience is the prime goal. Before jumping to the evolvement of the cluster to an experiential tourist hub, you need to determine the potential of the people and the place. This stage revolves around knowing the craft community, engaging with the different stakeholders, and finally, gauging readiness of the entire craft cluster for the next step.
Stage B : Discovering Possibilities
The craft practice is a catalyst that can spark conversations about the culture, society, community, festivals, faith, food, rituals, philosophy, and livelihood. This stage involves conducting a rigorous study, documentation and mapping of the craft cluster’s existing system. It further guides in creating a holistic plan of action created in collaboration with the community, bringing forth feasible possibilities.
Stage C : Boosting Value
Positioning the maker at the centre of the experience, in this stage you shall bring out the full potential of the craft practice and guide the community in innovating within the practice. This stage revolves around boosting value in opportunity areas and activities like reconfiguring habitat, enhancing capacities, creating business opportunities, projecting identity of the cluster, and finally, establishing sustainable practices in the craft cluster.
Stage D : Measuring Impact
As the cluster takes a self-sustaining form as an experiential tourism hub, you need to measure the kind of impact the initiative has created for the community, and the associated stakeholders. Feedback from the various people associated helps in understanding the shortcomings, and designing solutions for improvement and evolvement. This stage revolves around creating a system of feedback generation, and producing insights that develop into actionable points for enhancing the craft cluster.
Stage X : Forming Associations
Forming meaningful associations by collaborating and partnering with individuals and organizations helps build the experience. This stage involves pitching the project idea to organizations, announcing open calls for individuals and collaborators along with networking with stakeholders or core decision makers in the craft cluster. This makes it an inclusive project. Since the process of forming associations and collaborations is needed throughout the entire process, this becomes a floating stage. So, it is constantly ongoing throughout the evolvement of the craft cluster, across the different stages, whenever you need to form associations.

Outputs

Collaborators

Creators: Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC), CEPT University, Ahmedabad
Supporters: Manthan Educational Programme Society (MEPS)