Lynne Milgram Invited Plenary Session for the Textile Society of America Conference

 

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 4:00am

Congratulations to Lynne Milgram for being invited to a plenary session at the Textile Society of America biannual conference: Crosscurrents: Land, Labor and the Port, taking place at the Savannah College of Art & Design. The abstract of the presentation is included below.

https://textilesocietyofamerica.org/tsa_symposium/symposium2016/plenaries/

 

Materializing Entrepreneurship and Transnationalism from Below:
A Refashioned Craft Commodity Flow in the Central Philippines

While studies of large-scale global commodity flows are extensive, analyses of globalization’s relation to the smaller scale south-north or south-south movement of goods are more limited. In Aklan province, central Philippines, for example, artisans and entrepreneurs, primarily women, use indigenous nito reed materials to fashion innovative local-to-global businesses manufacturing handmade, high-end home décor products such as place mats, baskets, and trays. These goods, produced individually by women artisans working in their homes are destined for distribution to upscale design stores throughout the Philippines, Northern Europe and North America. While the transnational trade in Aklan’s nito reed products enables local livelihoods and connects sections of societies not previously linked, the design of these new products simultaneously challenges us to rethink questions of modernity, tradition and authenticity, nationalism and ethnicity, gender, class and identity.

To understand the current reshaping of Aklan’s nito reed industry, I analyze the relations of labor flexibility, networks of trust, and ongoing product innovation at each commodity chain node among global clients, entrepreneurs, and artisans. I argue that we must see such smaller-scale material culture networks, not in isolation, but as cross-cut by other commodity flows and by socioeconomic and power relations. One cannot ignore, for example, how the viability of nito reed commodity chains are affected by overlapping articulations with global fashion trends in clothing and furniture, local supplies of raw materials, and power relations between producers and entrepreneurs. On the one hand, entrepreneurs must work with transnational buyers to continually develop new goods that can fulfill northern consumers’ changing tastes while maintaining the integrity and terroir of local Philippine production — the character that gives nito reed its indigenous caché. In this regard, entrepreneurs need to continually negotiate trade-offs with artisan producers to ensure they receive the quantity of high quality products they order. This push-pull situation provides local artisans some leverage in their requests for the volume and type of work that best facilitates their livelihoods. Such commodity chain relations illustrate the variable meanings and value nito reed goods hold for producers, entrepreneurs, and consumers. Aklan’s growing nito reed trade and the particular relations of production thus materialize a transnationism from below that challenges the common exclusion of such a localized material culture industry on the edge from analyses of destabilizing political, aesthetic, and global market forces.

Image of plant in front of sun in distance
Footprints of the Rouge depicts the important connections experienced during Margaret Cornell Kirk's time as Photographer-in-Residence at Rouge National Urban Park.
Art by Stephanie Comilang, winner of the Sobey Art Award (Leroy Schulz)
OCAD U congratulates artist and OCAD U alum Stephanie Comilang on winning the prestigious 2019 Sobey Art Award. The announcement was recently made by the Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada at a ceremony at the Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton.The 39-year-old artist, representing the Ontario region, has been awarded Canada's most prestigious contemporary art prize worth $100,000 CAD.
l-r: Luis Jacob, Councillor Crawford, Dr. Diamond, Mayor Tory, Dr. Nagam.
Today, City of Toronto Mayor John Tory proclaimed 2021 as the Year of Public Art, a year-long celebration of art and community. The announcement was made at OCAD University, Canada's largest and most comprehensive Canadian university of art, design and media. Working in partnership with artists, arts organizations and communities city-wide, the City will engage residents and visitors in a city-wide recognition of public art. 
Glenn McArthur, assistant professor, OCAD University, has been awarded first place in the poster competition at The International Colour Association (AIC) conference held in Buenos Aires in October. The poster highlighted the work of OCAD U first-year Colour and Two-Dimensional design students Alacia Karishma Jiwanand (Lisa), Brendan Callan and Carrie Ma.
OCAD U Instructor Anson Liaw's two illustrations have been selected to be a part of this year's OCAD University “ArtWorks 2019” art exhibition. The two illustrations selected for exhibition are: 1) Title: "Solidarity for New Zealand" .  The first submitted illustration entry is a personal non-commissioned illustration created in response to the two consecutive Christchurch mosque terrorist shooting attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019. 2) Title: "Pray for Amazonia" .     
The Canada School of Public Service has announced its new Digital Fellows -- among them, Dr. Jutta Treviranus, Professor, Faculty of Design, OCAD University and Director and Founder of the Inclusive Design Research Centre.
Important news updates from the Research Ethics Board
Professor Saskia van Kampen (San Francisco State U) and Associate Professor Cheryl Giraudy (OCAD U) have received almost $25,000 under the Canada SSHRC Partner Engage Grant (PEG) for their Toronto-based research project Design Wo/ManifesT.O. 2020.
image of a Studio Display
image of Kalibo in studio
Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 4:00am

Congratulations to Lynne Milgram for being invited to a plenary session at the Textile Society of America biannual conference: Crosscurrents: Land, Labor and the Port, taking place at the Savannah College of Art & Design. The abstract of the presentation is included below.

https://textilesocietyofamerica.org/tsa_symposium/symposium2016/plenaries/

 

Materializing Entrepreneurship and Transnationalism from Below:
A Refashioned Craft Commodity Flow in the Central Philippines

While studies of large-scale global commodity flows are extensive, analyses of globalization’s relation to the smaller scale south-north or south-south movement of goods are more limited. In Aklan province, central Philippines, for example, artisans and entrepreneurs, primarily women, use indigenous nito reed materials to fashion innovative local-to-global businesses manufacturing handmade, high-end home décor products such as place mats, baskets, and trays. These goods, produced individually by women artisans working in their homes are destined for distribution to upscale design stores throughout the Philippines, Northern Europe and North America. While the transnational trade in Aklan’s nito reed products enables local livelihoods and connects sections of societies not previously linked, the design of these new products simultaneously challenges us to rethink questions of modernity, tradition and authenticity, nationalism and ethnicity, gender, class and identity.

To understand the current reshaping of Aklan’s nito reed industry, I analyze the relations of labor flexibility, networks of trust, and ongoing product innovation at each commodity chain node among global clients, entrepreneurs, and artisans. I argue that we must see such smaller-scale material culture networks, not in isolation, but as cross-cut by other commodity flows and by socioeconomic and power relations. One cannot ignore, for example, how the viability of nito reed commodity chains are affected by overlapping articulations with global fashion trends in clothing and furniture, local supplies of raw materials, and power relations between producers and entrepreneurs. On the one hand, entrepreneurs must work with transnational buyers to continually develop new goods that can fulfill northern consumers’ changing tastes while maintaining the integrity and terroir of local Philippine production — the character that gives nito reed its indigenous caché. In this regard, entrepreneurs need to continually negotiate trade-offs with artisan producers to ensure they receive the quantity of high quality products they order. This push-pull situation provides local artisans some leverage in their requests for the volume and type of work that best facilitates their livelihoods. Such commodity chain relations illustrate the variable meanings and value nito reed goods hold for producers, entrepreneurs, and consumers. Aklan’s growing nito reed trade and the particular relations of production thus materialize a transnationism from below that challenges the common exclusion of such a localized material culture industry on the edge from analyses of destabilizing political, aesthetic, and global market forces.