Professor Mona Alcudia talks about the tension between craftsmanship and technology. (Photo courtesy of the BACCI Facebook page)
In this second webinar in the series, the Baguio Arts and Crafts Collective, Inc. (BACCI) kicks off the conversation about the convergence of craftsmanship, technology and innovation. Professor Monica Gayle Alcudia, Director of FabLab at the University of the Philippines, Cebu led the Creative Talk on May 19 from 6 to 7 p.m., on the theme “The Future is Handmade: Product Design and craftsmanship in the digital age ”. Adelaida Lim, member of the board of directors of BACCI, moderated the session.
The Philippine National Commission for UNESCO, also known as UNACOM, was represented by Deputy Executive Director Lindsay Barrientos. Barrientos underlined the importance of BACCI’s Creative Talks Series to help UNESCO achieve its goals, in particular by protecting heritage and culture and encouraging creativity. These conversations, along with other initiatives from the local government and the private sector, will help the city of Baguio continue to develop as a creative city.
The future is handmade: negotiating the tension between craftsmanship and technology
Alcudia comes from an industrial design background, having worked with world-renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue. She also runs the FabLab or manufacturing lab at UP Cebu, where they work with local designers, fine arts and design students. as well as local artisans. The FabLab is part of the University’s Fine Arts program.
She recognizes that there has always been this tension between craftsmanship, usually steeped in the traditional, and technology, which is seen as something that can dilute craftsmanship, or worse, render it obsolete. However, she notes that she has seen how this relationship between the two can be harnessed to better understand traditional design and find ways to innovate. She cites the FabCraft movement in Peru as a movement that has managed to strike a balance between the two. Manufacturing labs across Latin America are believed to have contributed to a renaissance of crafts and craftsmanship, according to a study.
How to Take Advantage of Technology in Handcrafted Manufacturing
Rather than seeing technology as a threat to artisans and craftsmen, Alcudia says it’s important to demonstrate how technology can help design and craft manufacturing. In their FabLab, they helped local designers streamline their design processes, through the use of 3D printers, CNC milling machines and laser cutters. They can easily prototype products and make adjustments because everything is done digitally.
The potential uses of manufacturing technologies in traditional crafts have not yet been explored, and this is where continuing education and collaboration with craftspeople and groups of craftsmen come in.
The webinar was broadcast live on the BACCI Facebook page, and is currently available for viewing for those who missed it. The next webinar in the series will take place on May 26, Wednesday, 6 to 7 p.m., and will feature award-winning architect Aris Go speaking about “IMAGINE A CREATIVE CIRCUIT: Dream or Reality?” To register for future sessions, click on here.