My future Track

During the entire duration of the workshops, participants were encouraged to reflect on the future and explore ideas around how they could use their skills and crafting talents to develop a business idea or a career. Providing opportunities to look forward in a positive way and share people’s vision can enable a sense of pride and achievement, and be inspirational to other participants too.

During the last part of the local workshops, the participants, supported by each partner’s facilitator, created together some Action Plans (either individually or in small groups) for the development of innovative entrepreneurial ideas. Creating Action Plans helped the participants to think about crafting as a business and inspired some less confident crafters to consider craft more than just a hobby.  Each Action Plan included: title of the idea, core message/value, the needs addressed by the idea, the strengths and talents possessed by the members of the group that can make the idea successful, the innovative character of the idea, the way in which the idea combines techniques and traditions from different cultures. Through the action plans, the participants were invited to describe their idea, the communication channels to make it visible, and to reflect on technical issues such as the financial sustainability of their project, and the indicators for the evaluation of the project’s success.

The result was very different across the involved countries, but also from a participant to another: some of the action plans were more structured, reflecting a more complex idea based on the cooperation with other people in the group, other plans were developed in a more informal way, as a personal “declaration of intent” of how to continue to use the newly-acquired skills for entrepreneurial purposes.

Here are some of the most significant examples:

Participants in Italy

Shapoor

“I want to keep working on new things and keep working with people: teach them to fix something and give new life to their stuff. I am looking for a name and I like Art Safari because it reminds me of travellers. I also want to work with the tailors that I met here.”

Peace

“The workshops made me want to do more handicraft but I don’t want to become a professional, I want to keep doing it for myself. I don’t want to become an entrepreneur in this field or do this for money, but just to help people because I am also a pastor. My job is in agriculture.”

Mauge

“Even before I came here, I already had the idea to collect pieces of handicrafts that are really old and were made by elderly people. I want to revive traditional techniques to also create something innovative. I am also an activist for women’s rights and I would like to have a project for the economic independence of women. Finally, I hope that this encounter can lead to the founding of a collective of intercultural artisans that can make different and innovative things together. I think this group can create fruitful exchanges that can bring something unique, something that doesn’t exist yet. It’s important to go beyond doing things in standard forms.”

Souleymane

“I would like to open a social tailoring shop to help people (mostly elderly people) be part of a little community and have something to do by learning to create little things. My other dream is to create a mobile tailoring shop to go around and repair things. In Africa there are mobile tailoring shops that go to different neighbourhoods and markets on different days of the week, and people know they can bring their clothes to fix on that day. I would also like to work with Omar on some designs and with Jesica because she makes really nice dresses for women.”

Omar

“I have a lot of plans for the future but I still have doubts on what I want to become. My dream is to become an engineer because I am studying in a mechanics school and I also invented an engine. I might also open a store for handicrafts that makes many different things with Italian and African fabrics.”

Rosy

“I am always on the look for new ideas to make original things. My dream was always to work for a big fashion firm. I hope I can get there some day. Never say never.”

Alima

“I would like to create a place where I can teach my traditional techniques and also learn from other people.”

Group entrepreneurial ideas developed in Italy

“OmArte”

E-commerce of backpacks and accessories, also offering training on tailoring and handicrafts, based on Omar’s handicrafts abilities and creativity. It’s innovative because it mixes different kinds of fabrics from Italy and Africa. He will partner with other local crafters and will promote his ideas through Social Media. Revenue will come from selling the products and delivering the training (which will also at times be delivered for free).

“Toclou Toclou”

Walking tailoring shop. Created to offer tailoring services in markets and on the streets. It’s based on Souleymane and Alima’s tailoring abilities. It’s innovative because it would be the first walking tailoring shop in Italy. It is based on interculturality because it is a widespread service in Africa but it doesn’t exist in Italy. It will partner with fabric and clothes sellers. The target will be the people that buy clothes in markets and/or that don’t have time to go to the tailor. The project will be promoted through the radio and social media and it will generate revenues from the tailoring services.

“Il Collettivo”

An intercultural network of artisans that promotes the use of natural materials, sustainability and recycling. It’s based on different creative skills that can produce something unique, original and special through the use of multiple techniques (wood, recycling, crochet, tailoring, natural materials etc.). It is innovative because it’s based on intercultural collaboration, an international encounter of ideas and techniques. The partners would be local associations like ALAB, CESIE, Giocherenda, Moltivolti, the Social Tailoring shop. The main clients will be local and tourist women that are passionate about local unique handicraft. The project will be promoted through the help of partners and social media. Revenue will come from selling products and the organization of labs.

Participants in UK

Ailda

“I learned about other places where my products could be sold. I can use technology to build a business and sell my items online and in person. I am going to contact the local college and get support in setting up my own Etsy shop selling my crafts online. I want to target my local Community café and will use social media to promote my business because I am good at using technology. I will be happy if I can share my heritage, meet new people and become closer to my community.”

Memory

“I would like to check the local market and see how others sell their crafts. Talking to people about my products is as important as selling. I want to contact my community centre to get help selling my products at the local market. I will make crafts by re-using old materials. I want to make something pretty out of nothing. I will be successful if I can have little waste and make lots of things out of the same, local materials.”

Cecylia

“I would like to check the local market and see how others sell their crafts. Talking to people about my products is as important as selling. I want to contact my community centre to get help selling my products at the local market. I will make crafts by re-using old materials. I want to make something pretty out of nothing. I will be successful if I can have little waste and make lots of things out of the same, local materials.”

Mustafa

“In my case, the crafting and products I create are for my family. I would like to become an interior designer in the future. I want to share my heritage and cultural traditions. I think it would be good if I can use social media to promote my business and teach local people about crafts from my country like Ramadan lanterns called Fanous. Maybe this will lead to selling my services online. I will judge my success on how it makes me and my community feel and if I can teach my children the techniques.”

Joanna

“I will explore setting up an online shop on ETSY. I will start by selling small things like gloves and headbands as they are more affordable. Then perhaps I will try to sell more expensive, larger knits like a jumper or cardigan. “

Sayed

“I want to sell my paper crafts to my Mosque group and maybe through Ebay. I will make some fliers to hand out at my Mosque so people know about my business. My aim is to make new friends, learn from others and inspire other people to join me in making Origami and selling other crafts.”

Kloberta

“I want to share my culture through art and teach people about other cultures’ art I learnt about at the workshops. I will try to sell my art at the local market and I will make a poster to put up around the area. I hope people will come to learn about my art and heritage and if I can earn some money, I will be happy.”

Shoxhan

“I want to share my culture through art and teach people about other cultures’ art I learnt about at the workshops. I will try to sell my art at the local market and I will make a poster to put up around the area. I hope people will come to learn about my art and heritage and if I can earn some money, I will be happy.”

Participants in Cyprus

Elena

“As a handcrafter, I would like to offer personalized crochet necklaces with variations of colour, size, type of yarn, extra features. I would like to work from home and enjoy every minute of crocheting. I would like to promote my products through my social interactions.”

Osman

“I would like to practice entrepreneurship and start my own business. I will open my own business and I will use my experience and knowledge.”

Anna

“As a handcrafter, I would like to offer personalized crochet necklaces with variations of colour, size, type of yarn, extra features. I would like to work from home and enjoy every minute of crocheting. I would like to promote my products through my social interactions.”

Popi

“I would like to practice entrepreneurship and start my own business. I will open my own business and I will use my experience and knowledge.”

Phivi

“The materiality of objects fascinates me. My practice allows me to investigate form, volume and texture, and to discover the properties, the capacities and limits of matter. It is an ongoing attempt to experience the world, to tame it, to submerge in it. I work with a variety of media, such as metal, glass, plastic, sand, fabric and paper. Most of them are hard and processed. I am particularly enraptured by industrial objects. They are the outcome of humanity’s attempt to define its place in the natural world. I respect and preserve all signs of human intervention on them, the construction process and the technique applied, as they are the indicators of the evolution and transformation they have gone through.

What I would like to create:

  • Several kinds of handicraft, such as lace, jewellery, pottery.
  • 3-dimensional artwork (sculpture and installation)
  • My key creations are my sculpture and installations. I prefer to work with industrial materials, such as metal, glass and plastic.
  • Large-scale creations, characterized by minimalism, clear lines and sharp angles. At the same time, elegance and balance are very important in my creations.”

Participants in Greece

P.N.

P started the course with no high expectations but she made great progress. She wants to engage in vocational training after COVID-19 and start her own small business. She believes that it would be good if three or four girls get together and work cooperatively. 

“I always thought it was impossible for me to learn knitting. To the contrary, G. showed me step by step the process. I am glad I had the opportunity to participate and learn this technique. I am ready to start sewing great things, P. taught me all the steps of sewing.”

M.Y.

M was the only one amongst the participants that actually had some experience. She is ambitious and she is dreaming of a career in the fashion industry, she wants to be a designer for big fashion labels. M can combine modern design with traditional forms from her country. She is interested to continue with a designing course and to work as an apprentice with a famous Greek designer who she is inspired by, and she wants to create a line of clothes for poor people that will be ecological and fair trade.

“This training was exactly what I needed! I let my creativity finally shine!”

M.E.

M is always fascinated by discovering new things and had very good results. She learned to perform a number of tasks in sewing and knitting and gained experience in working with different fabrics and textiles, she would like to work in a small company or work from home. 

“I discovered a new inclination and who knows? I may become a successful designer in the long run.”

Participants in Lithuania

Natalja

“I will be able to sell my handicrafts during fairs like Kaunas City Days, I will be able to pass on my knowledge to other Samaritans.”

Lina

“I can share my experience in the community, at a third-century university. I will give my handicrafts and scarves to the seniors at Christmas.”

“This training was exactly what I needed! I let my creativity finally shine!”

Sigita

“The main idea is to bring unemployed women together in a club where they can improve and realize themselves.”

Regina

“I am interested in the production of candles. I think I could distribute through Carito or Samaritan organizations, National Minority Centers.”