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Abstract: In the city of Pune in Western India, roughly 30 to 40 copper craftsmen and their families live and work in an area called tambat ali (copper alley). They have been making water containers, vessels for food, religious artifacts and other decorative items with hand-beaten copper for over 400 years. Over the last few years, the number of new apprentices willing to learn the craft has dwindled as the children of these families are choosing to get formal college education, and are entering other professions. In addition, the rising prices of copper and the advent of mass-produced plastic and stainless steel utensils have increased prices of these artifacts, thereby reducing demand. In this presentation, I will talk about the changes this community is going through, and how they are re-imagining their future through innovative economic, social, artistic, and design practices.
Bio: Prasad Boradkar is a professor in industrial design at Arizona State University n Tempe. He is the director of InnovationSpace, a transdisciplinary laboratory at ASU where faculty and students from design, business, sustainability and engineering partner with corporations to develop product concepts that hold societal benefit and minimize impacts on the environment. He also serves as the co-director of the Biomimicry Center at ASU, an organization dedicated to the exploration of biologically inspired solutions to problems of sustainability. Prasad is the author of "Designing Things: A Critical Introduction to the Culture of Objects" (Berg 2010), co-editor of "Encountering Things: Design and Theories of Things," and is currently working on a book on Indian design.