Embroidery work from artisans in Sichuan, China

Recently Aid to Artisans completed an assessment of the Tibetan Artisan Sector in Sichuan, China, as part of its five-year assignment under “Sichuan Market Development Project in China”. This project aims to improve sustainable livelihoods of ethnic Tibetans in China’s Sichuan province, by providing these communities with the skills and knowledge to thrive in a growing market economy.

Monika and Sophie pictured with artisans in Sichuan, China

During the two-week assessment, ATA Director of Program Management and Development, Monika Steinberger, and Design Consultant Sophie Sauzéat reached out to Tibetan entrepreneurs, craft stores, artisans, NGOs and tour operators. The base of operations was in Chengdu, with travel to Kangding and Ganze, towards Dege. Located five to eight hours from Chengdu, these artisan areas are situated within Sichuan, in closest proximity to Chengdu.

A woman from Dora demonstrates the weaving process

Launched in January of this year, the Sichuan Market Development Project will enhance the entrepreneurial skills of ethnic Tibetans working in areas such as eco-tourism, retailing and production and will boost the productivity of herders, artisans and business owners. The project is designed to improve the competitiveness of ethnic Tibetan businesses in local, regional and international markets and improve value chains of traditional industries. ATA’s role in the project is to strengthen the Tibetan artisan sector in Sichuan, through new product development, business training and linkages to broader markets, with particular emphasis on the Chinese market.

An artisan perfecting his slate carving craft

For 4 weeks in April, ATA will lead a market-driven product development and design coaching workshop for the Tibetan-owned craft factories, craft stores and mono artisans in villages, identified during the assessment. Design Coaching #1 will reach a group of about 25 designers, store owners, entrepreneurs and artisans. We are also very pleased to announce that 5 Tibetan entrepreneurs, designers and store owners will be participating in our Market Readiness Program™ in August as well as a Train-the-Trainer workshop, to address specific subjects pertaining to the Tibetan craft sector.

For more information about our involvement in the “Sichuan Market Development Project in China” please contact our Senior Program Manager, Maud Mabika: maudm@creativelearning.org