Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council
Bidwa Social Development Programme
The Bidwa Social Development Programme aims to introduce both children and adults to their cultural legacy and illustrate the crafts within a modern context and its potential as a viable business sector.
The Bidwa Social Development Programme employs 40 craftswomen in Dibba Al Hisn, and provides vocational training to empower women economically, professionally, and socially. The programme promotes the revival and modernisation of traditional crafts, and helps women who work in the industry to find new markets for their skills.
Artisan Skills Exchange Programme
The Artisan Skills Exchange Programme was launched in 2018 with the aim to enable the development of artisans’ capacities and the up-gradation of their skills for the production of high-quality products through a community-based enterprise approach.
The first edition of the programme was held in collaboration with the fashion designer Razwan Beyg and artisans from Pakistan, where Pakistani artisans taught their counterparts in the UAE to develop their embroidery skills through a series of craft exchange sessions, bringing them to the level of embroidery used in Couture Design. In exchange, Pakistani artisans learned traditional Emirati crafts named Talli and Safeefa by the local artisans.
Aside from that, soft and personal skills training was provided for both Pakistani and Emirati groups to ensure creative thinking, teamwork, communication skills, time management and other skills. Throughout the programme, the sessions were directed to focus on the professional side of startups, financial and core aspects of emerging home businesses and social businesses, to ensure that the artisans are able to achieve their goals and future plans.
In the future versions of this programme, we will cooperate with different countries to benefit from their traditional crafts and spread Emirati crafts in exchange.
Hirfati Youth Programme
Hirfati fulfils one of Irthi’s key objectives by targeting children and youth aged 6–18 years, to preserve the heritage crafts of the United Arab Emirates and ensure its sustainability, through stimulating and enabling young generations to learn, nurture and develop these crafts with innovative ideas and original designs.
Under the slogan ‘‘My Craft… My Future’, The Hirfati programme seeks to stimulate, train and engage with the next generation of designers, artists and craft makers through a mix of workshops, activities, digital platforms and competitions that combine traditional and contemporary crafts. The programme will develop the skills of the region’s youth and create meaningful connections between them and renowned designers and artisans in the UAE and the region, in addition to educating youth on the cultural significance of Emirati heritage crafts.
Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme
The Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme is one of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council’s flagship projects that aims to support the next generation of UAE-based designers through skills and business development for a whole year.
The Azyame Programme, which is organised in collaboration with the London Fashion College, offers a unique experience for aspiring fashion designers by providing individual training and mentoring sessions with fashion specialists/consultants, group workshops on the principles and basics of launching a fashion brand, and ways to incorporate the latest market trends to improve and their brand. The programme also helps participants recognise the importance of sustainable ethical practices in the fashion industry.
In addition to all of that, Irthi will support Azyame graduates by providing them with the opportunity to showcase their designs at international fashion fairs and exhibitions.