In 2015 RMIT Design Archives entered into a collaboration with the World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific.
The WCC-Asia Pacific Region is undertaking a project to publish the ‘Concise Encyclopedia of Crafts in Asia Pacific’. The project is an initiative of the current President, Dr Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi, who is also generously providing its funding. The aim is to help safeguard craft traditions and ensure their survival into the future. The coordinator of the project is Dr Kevin Murray, Adjunct Professor, RMIT School of Art.
While the Asia Pacific is seen as a region of emerging economies that will direct the course of the 21st century, it is important that this development does not come at a cost of its precious living heritage. The purpose of the encyclopedia is to identify endangered crafts and document the diversity of craft practices in the region.
WCC-APR aims to produce the encyclopedia for the next General Assembly of the World Crafts Council in October 2016. The first step in this process is to develop a Working List of Crafts in the Asia Pacific, to be coordinated by the Vice-Presidents of the sub-regions. This list will provide a foundation on which the information can then be collected.
The research for these entries entails potential overlap with the collections of the RMIT Design Archives, which include Melbourne craft practices. The collaboration therefore will allow for the possibility of associated projects and publications to emerge during and after the research phase of the encyclopedia.
The encyclopedia project will have many useful by-products. These include an atlas of living crafts and a database of crafts scholars specialising in Asia Pacific cultures.