23 Jun 2019
Hackathon: Digital solutions to empower women and safeguard traditional crafts
On the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples (9 August), next August UNESCO Bangkok and Samsung will hold a 4-day hackathon in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in order to find digital solutions to empower women in the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) sector. The event is part of UNESCO’s larger project “Women e-nspire Culture” that empowers ethnic minority/indigenous crafts-women to develop digital and entrepreneurial skills to safeguard their cultures and generate income.
WhyCrafts-women have been the gatekeepers of traditions and cultures for centuries. However in reality, facing various family responsibilities, primary employment and rapid changes of the globalising world, crafts-women have to juggle several duties in addition to ensuring that their cultures, heritage and wisdom are passed on to future generations and can survive in the modern world. Nowadays, in the Ban Mae Klang Luang Village of Chiang Mai, there are only 20 households that are members of the Karen community weaving group. Among many, the main barriers to safeguard such intangible cultural heritage include 1) few official records or documentation on methodologies and meaning of ethnic minority/indigenous traditional crafts; 2) decreasing interest from younger generations to take up crafts-making skills and knowledge because of the image of unprofitability or the need to prioritize other more stable jobs; and 3) low digital literacy and entrepreneurial understanding among the ethnic minority/indigenous crafts-women to expand the crafts business beyond tourist groups or weekend markets.
The hackathonIn this context, UNESCO Bangkok and Samsung want to find out if digital solutions can help empower indigneous / ethnic minority crafts-women and safeguard their precious intangible cultural heritage. Next August's hackathon will gather 10 teams consisting of Samsung IT volunteers, local ethnic minority crafts-women and local entrepreneurs to collectively build digital solutions that can help to:
- document and transmit traditional crafts, skills and knowledge;
- provide marketing and commercial opportunities for crafts-women.