I developed and teach a class called ‘Global Artisan’ (The alternative Supply Chain). Pre-pandemic I offered the students an opportunity for an in-field study experience. We worked together with a women’s’ textile cooperative in Cuso, Peru, with the aim to have the students support the co-op in thinking through new products they could develop using their traditional weaving skills. Additionally, the students worked to design a social media strategy for the cooperative and co-designed a visual identity for the community.
Students from different backgrounds (integrated media, business administration, fashion and design strategies, strategic design and management) worked with different roles and functions of the coop, becoming familiar with a collaborative co-creation process. The focus was on how to develop a horizontal collaborative practice that was not based on power relationships dynamics. Within this co-creation context, students had to come up with new textile form concepts, develop and execute them. The students developed design solutions within an unknown environment, potentially out of their comfort zone. This unfamiliarity heightened their sensibility to be emotionally attuned to the needs and wants of the coop members.