News & events > Borneo International Beads Conference 2019: "Beads of Our Time"
04 Oct 2019 - 06 Oct 2019

Borneo International Beads Conference 2019: "Beads of Our Time"

The 6th Borneo International Beads Conference, entitled "Beads of Our Time", will be held at the Waterfront Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, between 4 and 6 October 2019. The event serves to celebrate the bead culture of Sarawak, part of a greater Insulindian heritage, rooted in centuries of tradition. An ancient maritime trading network linked Borneo to the world; the beads most treasured today came from production centres on the Malay Peninsula, India, China and even further afield. In the hands of Sarawak’s craftswomen and collectors, these masterpieces of the lapidary and glass artists from many lands became intrinsically ‘Borneo Beads.’


The objectives of the Borneo International Beads Conference 2019 include the following:
  • To facilitate creative interaction between Sarawak’s artisans/designers and their international counterparts
  • To share knowledge and expertise with international bead scholars and researchers
  • To preserve the Sarawak bead tradition in a commercially viable way
  • To encourage the production of top quality beads and beadwork in Sarawak
  • To promote competent modern design in beads and beadwork
  • To showcase the bead culture of Sarawak to a regional/ international audience
  • To promote ‘culture tourism’ in Sarawak
  • To improve the earning power of home-based cottage workers in Sarawak


The programme involves a wide range of local and international speakers, coming from Denmark, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, and the US, as well as Malaysia, including textile experts, academics, museum officers and international organisations such as UNESCO. The agenda opens on Thursday 3 October with the official launch as well as a bazaar and hands-on workshops, and continues until Sunday 6 October with workshops,  presentations, discussions, the bazaar and a gala dinner. The Conference includes over 20 workshops on themes including different peoples' traditional beadwork techniques, contemporary approaches, preparing exhibitions, and more.

Further information and registration

The Borneo International Beads Conference 2019 is organised by Crafthub, and supported, among others, by the Sarawak Government, the Sarawak Craft Council, the Sarawak Museum (an ASEMUS member), Kraftangan Malaysia, the Sarawak Convention Bureau, and the World Crafts Council. For additional information about the conference and registration, please visit