The city of Ahmedabad in India’s western most state of Gujarat is probably most prevalently known for being the city in which Mahatma Gandhi settled and set up his famous Ashram which, although now a museum, still presides on the banks of the Sabarmati River. It was from here that he promoted his idea of the ‘cottage industry’ as a way for each Indian household to become a self-reliant business and part of an interconnected system free from bosses. It was this vision which he hoped would help empower communities once considered untouchables within the Hindu caste system.
In 2014, close to Gandhi’s Ashram, within the community of Vadj, it was within one such community that I established the project Not Only Money with textile artist and researcher LOkesh Ghai. Through ongoing dialogue and creative workshops, the project explored the possibilities of co-design with a group of women artisans with the aim of elevating the value of the artisan hand crafts, honoring their creativity by providing alternative opportunities to the majority of their work where they are approached solely as skilled labours.
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