# craft talk anthillhacks 21.22
recording available here: https://nextcloud.livinglabs.network/s/52xq9tD6L5npXXB
## Talk Points
### Context: Artisanal work in Bangladesh
Artisanal work in Bangladesh comprises cratfwork, handlooms and garment work. In India, artisanal work has strong caste connotations, in Bangladesh it is largely geographically-located and collective in nature. Place based customs and histories of communities play a role in the evolving nature of artisanal work.
Jamdani is a form of handloom that involving intricate weaving techniques and has had a global market for centuries. The process of weaving is slow and involves several weavers working together. The Nakshi Kantha is a primarily rural form of artisanal work where worn clothes are woven together following a wide variety of motifs. These are usually woven by collectives of women together in their free time, claiming a space of privacy and leisure that is not their domestic space. These go to show that artisanal work is strongly associated with collective practices
Over the last few decades, the artisanal sector has seen a downfall due to several reasons such as labour migration, urbanisation and little/no market and industry linkages. There have been nation-wide efforts at reviving the industry. With the advent of covid and increasing digitization, digital intermediation, e-commerce and platformization are seen as new solutions for reviving the industry.
### Politics of Platformization
Platformization of artisanal work in the country is shaped by two major forces. First, national pride is associated with artisanal work and crafts. These work as cultural symbols and an identity for Bangladesh in global value chains. Second, worker displacement due to automation is a looming threat. Since machine interventions are largely focused on entry level work, women workers are likelier to be displaced. Platformization is thus caught between these tensions, with entrepreneurs driving the industry.
### Social Entrepreneurs as Agents
Academic work on social entrepreneurship understands it as a space where neoliberal and entrepreneurial means are exercised in order to achieve the common good. Social entrepreneurs in the artisanal industry take charge of at once reviving culture and acting as saviours for vulnerable workers. As digital intermediation and platformization are hailed as solutions in these forms of work, it is necessary to critically interrogate the structures and value chains that they introduce and/or reinforce.
### Artist Entrepreneurs as Agents
Platform interventions in artisanal work follow specific patterns, particularly with the introduction of the online crafts marketplace (primarily in the Global North) Etsy. Platform architectures thus enable people not just to market their product but also their personal lives, thus making the personal narrative of the artist entrepreneur an important element of their work life. With social media becoming the primary mode of distribution and presence for them, the same patterns are replicated. In a country with limited internet access, this implies that only a small portion of the country that is comfortable using the internet can take advantage of this new mode of "reviving" artisanal work. Media narratives and economic organisation of this kind leaves little to no agency, space or voice for rural collectives that are deeply tethered artisanal work. As such, it stands to question if entrepreneurship can indeed revive a sector that has been struggling with eroding resources, absent linkages and labour shortage.
## Discussion Points