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DFFWAC Manifesto:
A community for communities

The Design Foundation for Women and Crafts is creating a new community, bringing together a group of international stakeholders, both individual and collective, private and public, who share a strong sense of social responsibility and acknowledge the value of culture as one of the fundamental pillars of society.

With the aim of protecting female artisans around the world, ensuring that they — and their communities — are the true beneficiaries of DFFWAC’s activities, we are consolidating our intervention alongside them, as well as with society in general, by introducing an innovative process of profound action that guarantees the sustainability and survival of these creative clusters.

Although DFFWAC has been being developed since the end of 2016, and was ready to be presented to the public in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has on one hand led to a delay of this launch but, on the other, highlighted the profound relevance of this initiative, given the fragilities we are facing in the 21st Century, which have been further accentuated by the current pandemic.

Knowing that COVID-19 has proven devastating for some of the most secure and profitable businesses, it isn’t hard to imagine the economic and social impact it has had on communities of women artisans. Many are geographically isolated, highly dependent on interpersonal commercial relations, the tourism industry, as well as local and international craft fairs. All these realities have been suspended during the COVID-19 outbreak, and it appears that this will continue to happen in the foreseeable future.

The digital world, which has been reinforced during the COVID-19 outbreak as the only way for some creators to sell their products, rarely represents a lifeline for the most isolated women artisan communities, whose access to digital tools is limited, if not non-existent.

In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, most artisans have remained invisible and therefore ignored. Many of them are outside the safety net of regular incomes or social security. More than ever, these communities are facing the risk of extinction.

In addition, we know that a large percentage of artisans fall under the main COVID-19 risk group, the elderly, making it imperative to provide them with immediate protection and sustainability, before a possible second wave – and in order to reduce the damage caused by the current situation.

Crafts are not essential goods - quite the opposite. Without a joint effort during this period of restructuring and reconstruction, they will not be on our priority lists for the future. Building what is already being called “The New Normal”, which entails a critical reassessment of consumption and production methods incorporating social and environmental sustainability, represents a unique opportunity – even an obligation, in our perspective – to revise the relationship we have established with crafts; and to integrate them into the production and consumption systems of the 21st Century.

In a moment where new ways of organising ourselves, of living in society and of taking responsibility for the planet we live in have become critical, the Design Foundation For Women and Crafts is an example of how we should act as a whole, as a community.

This is also an opportunity for you, individually, to gain access to a universe that has become nearly forgotten and that has so much to teach us about our past, present and future.

We are counting on you.

July 23, 2020

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