Accepted paper:

Breaking the lables with 'Chamar Studio'

Authors:

Meghamrita Chakraborty (Tata Institute of Social Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The paper tries to highlight how an innovative, unique and powerful initiative, attempts to bring together the artist and artisan, highlighting the traditional skills of a community and breaking the lables of the caste system.

Paper long abstract:

Inclusive development is essential whereby all sections of the society get an opportunity to be a part and benefit from it. However, what is usually seen is people with greater access to resources, knowledge and technology are better able to gain benefits from any development or polices. Challenging this condition, Sudheer Rajbhar manufactures bags with local leather workers from Dharavi. What sets this apart is that instead of using leather they use recyclable tyres as raw materials for bags. Sudheer had stumbled this innovative idea of producing bags out of recyclable rubber- a cheap and sustainable source. The result is the production of eco-friendly good designed products on one hand and a sustained source of income for the cobblers and leather workers. What is unique is instead of trying to dis-associate from the traditional social and caste-based occupations and stigma, he has named his company Chamar Studio. Chamar is a Hindu low caste whose work traditionally has been as cobblers, tanners and skinning of animals, a work that is looked down upon and in turn leads to severe discrimination against this group. This is a way of re-claiming the identity of the Dalit Castes, specifically the leather workers and bridge the socio-economic gap. The paper tries to highlight how Chamar Studio, with the help of an innovative, unique and powerful idea, attempts to bring together the artist and artisan, highlighting the traditional skills of a community.

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Stream:
Inclusive development?
Inclusive innovation for development: what inclusion for a fairer future? [paper]