The 4W Global Artisans Initiative (GAI) is made up of nearly a dozen artisan groups located around the world including Ecuador, India, Nepal, Kenya, and Mexico. At these sites, leaders seek to empower artisans and their families through the promotion of their handicrafts, which supports community wellbeing and strengthens cultural heritage. Led by 4W Leaders Jennifer Angus, Carolyn Kallenborn, and Lesley Sager, GAI convenes UW-Madison students, scholars, and artisans for a horizontal learning exchange that brings about collaborative projects, unique undergraduate courses, and international internships. The program uses Design Thinking to promote empathy, understanding, enhanced design, and a road to wellbeing.
Artisans – often women who may have fewer opportunities to participate in income generation – use their increased earnings and newfound skills to pay for healthcare and education, and to meet other basic needs for their families. Artisans express a sense of pride, enthusiasm, and confidence as they continue to develop their skills and support their families and communities.
The videos below were created by students in the undergraduate course, Global Artisans 527, taught by 4W Leader and Design Studies Professor Jennifer Angus.
Tharu Basket Makers in Nepal
Video by Talia Abbe, Lily Bedell, and Taylor Lauri
Lacemakers of Presa de Barajas in Mexico
Video by Lauren Brahm, Dalia Gutierrez, & Olivia Scumaci
Kiondo Makers of Kenya
Video by Allie Banda, Dean Koleva, & Sofia Staehly
Artisans of Intag Sisal in Ecuador
Video by Gage Czuppa, Samuel Gold, & Erin Sullivan
Artisans of Sumak Muyo in Ecuador
Video by Jess Gomez & Gwyneth Allen
Co-Design Projects in India