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Upgrading the skills and training in traditional arts/crafts for development (USTTAD) Project:-

The Ministry of Minority Affairs has launched a new scheme ‘Upgrading The Skills And Training In Traditional Arts/ Crafts For Development’ (USTTAD), which inter-alia, aims to preserve heritage of traditional arts and crafts of minorities and build capacity of traditional crafts persons and artisans. The scheme aims at capacity building and updating the traditional skills of master crafts persons and artisans.

Under the scheme, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has entrusted a project to NIFT with the objective of training and upgrading skills of craft persons belonging to the minority communities thereby preserving traditional ancestral arts/crafts being practiced by them. NIFT as the knowledge partners for USTTAD will identify crafts predominantly being practiced by minority communities and support the Ministry of Minority Affairs through various activities like documenting the crafts, setting standards for defining “master-craftsperson” or “USTAAD” for identified crafts, development of course curriculum of product development and Design Workshops for potential crafts persons and trainees, product range development and facilitating linkages with e-marketing portals for providing platforms for selling developed products.

The project will encompass 25 Handlooms and Handicrafts, being practiced by minority communities of India. NIFT’s professional capabilities in the areas of design, marketing, technology and management have been involved to synergize all activities related to the USTTAD project by involving its rich pool of faculty, experts, designers and alumni during different phases of the project.

The project aims to study twenty five crafts being practiced by the minority communities in India, Issues pertaining to the commercial feasibility and sustainability of these crafts are being studied in depth. The research and development team further aims to provide a favorable environment for sustainable development of these crafts. The ethnographic study and documentation of the processes involved in each craft, will enable the research team of faculty, experts and alumni to define parameters for identifying master craftsmen or “USTAAD” in each of these crafts. The scope of the project is widened as the experienced faculty and experts/ alumni will design curriculum for imparting craft design education through workshops being conducted with an aim to spread the dying legacy to the future generations. The academia will be involved in structuring study materials and resource materials involving techniques and designs to enhance the value of the products being manufactured. The design workshops being conducted for the craftsmen aim to enhance the creative skills by means of design intervention and by linking them to latest technology involved in finding newer markets for their produce thereby enhancing their sales. The scope of the project also encompasses promotion of crafts in urban markets by organizing common platforms of interaction between B2B and B2C through craft bazaars, participation in exhibitions and organizing fashion shows.

This skill development programme will benefit the crafts person for their skill enhancement and help them to establish market linkages, which will in turn aid the craft, its identity and improve the livelihood of artisans by value addition through design.