Moderator : Moe Chiba, Section Chief & Programme Specialist for Culture Unit, UNESCO

Chair Person:  Ms Laila Tyabji – Founder, Dastkar


  • Moderator will introduce the session panelists & format of the session
  • Presentation by the Chairperson, Ms Laila Tyabji
  • 5 mins presentations by some of the participants
  • Moderator will start the topic where some key participating individuals and organizations will be given 5-6 minutes to express their views
  • Chair of the panel will consolidate the session with 5-10 recommendation points.
  • Open house- Q&A session.

Session Focus:

  • How rural artist and artisans can be connected through ICT? Take stock of current use of ICT to support rural artists and artisans  (type of activities, challenges)
  • What are the best practices in ICT use in other sectors that can be applied in case of artisans and artists?
  • Discuss on how we can use ICT in promoting livelihood and marketing of the rural artists and artisans.
  • Use of ICT as a catalyst for the economic development of rural artists and artisans.
  • Innovative use of ICT by matching the available technology tools and the needs of rural artists/artisans groups to take care of artisans living in better ways.
  • To promote the usage of ICT applications for the social and economic development & to bridge the gap that empowers rural artisans to earn better for their livelihood.


  • Punjab Digital Heritage
  • Muzaffar Ansari (Chanderiyaan – graphic design, online archives of motives + online sale)
  • Shubha Chaudhuri (on-line archives sharing copyright with communities)
  • Tribal Art Image
  • Mame Khan (rural artist recommended by Barefoot college)

List of Participants:

  • Khamayati Project, Barefoot College
  • Punjab Digital Library
  • The Encyclopaedia of Intangible Cultural Heritage,Craft Revival Trust
  • All Indian Artisans & Crafts Workers Welfare Association
  • Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology
  • Digital Monastery Project
  • Art for Life,Contact Base
  • Dastkar
  • Discover Culture,
  • Microsoft
  • Tribal Arts Imgaes
  • Mame Khan Music
  • Chanderiyaan
  • Jayashree S Godwin, Consultant Special Projects (India)
  • Chinh India

Special Session- Report

On the occasion of 11th edition of Manthan Award on 4th of December, 2014, held at Habitat Center, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) together with UNESCO Culture Section, organized a two hours Special Session on the ‘USE OF ICT FOR RURAL ARTISTS AND ARTISANS’.

The ‘Special Session’ was about engaging both ICT experts and those who are working in support of rural artists and artisans to take stock of the current use of ICT in promoting livelihood and marketing of the rural artists and artisans.  It also aimed to explore unconventional and innovative use of ICT by matching the available technology tools and the needs of rural artists/artisans groups.

Hence, the participants consisted of selective group of individuals/organisations working in the field of ICT; organisations/individuals doing

innovative work using ICT in the field of art and culture; Artisans and rural artists; crafts organisations; and online craft retailers.

The Special Session was chaired by Laila Tyabji, Director of Dastkar, which is an Indian non-government organization working with craftspeople across India, for promotion and revival of traditional crafts of India; and moderated by Moe Chiba, Chief of Section and Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO, Delhi.

Laila Tyabji opened the session by laying out how ICT tools such as Mobile phones, Computers/Laptops, Internet etc. have changed the communication scenario for craftspeople, and how it has the potential for further improvement towards optimum utilization for the benefit of rural artists and artisans.

The floor was then opened to expand on the subject which gave way to five forceful presentations.

The first

presentation came from Panjab Digital Library. It is an NGO that is digitizing and preserving the cultural heritage of Punjab since 2003. They have digitally stored and made available online many historically significant documents. The Director of Panjab Digital Library, Davinder Pal Singh spoke about the active and effective use technology to preserve the cultural heritage before it gets lost.


presentation by Chinh India brought the session alive, when the founders of the organisation Vinay and Meenakshi Raiinvited a live bhapang player to the session to demonstrate their mission and goal of integrating education with the promotion of grassroots talents globally.

Barefoot College made

the third presentation. It is a non-governmental organization which has been working for the last 40 years with the objective of making grassroots communities self-sufficient and sustainable. ‘Khamayati’ is their initiative which has been inspired by the rich and varied legacy of Rajasthani culture, and Komal Kothari, towards understanding extraordinary musical tradition. They are doing so by using ICT tools to promote and enhance the marketability and sales of rural artists and artisans spread across 47 villages in 4 districts of Rajasthan.

Fourth presentation was by a

Pune based NGO, Balmudra Development Research Centre that manages, an online photography portal of images of tribal communities across India. The portal has about 12,50,000 photos covering 70 tribes from 8 states of India. The portal plans to have youtube and google map integration, and an e-commerce site selling products made by tribal artisans and artists. Their presentation especially gave an insight into the effective usage ICT to gain maximum mileage.

Fifth and last presentation was by Muzaffar Ansari from ‘Chanderiyaan‘. He enumerated how the weavers of Chanderi have turned their lives around with the help of ICT.

For the benefit of the participants, Dr. Subha Chaudhari from ‘Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (A.R.C.E)’ a state of the art technical facilities and an archive maintained to international standards that houses extensive collections of recordings of Indian music and oral traditions, imparted her knowledge and experience.

The presentations were interspersed with question and answer sessions. However, two hours was never going to be sufficient to cover such a vast subject as this.

To conclude, Laila Tyabji summarized the arguments, perspectives and discussions touched upon during the session. And it was closed by the moderator, Moe Chiba from UNESCO who suggested continuing the dialogue on this topic in the future and extending it further to the areas such as e-governance.

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