When many perspectives have to be considered – Lesser Poland Ethno patterns
Popularizing Małopolska ethnographic designs and examining the needs of all stakeholder groups – that was the goal of our research workshop. What should be done to make the Lesser Poland designs become recognizable like the Łowicz one? It was up to us to examine this issue and establish an initial critical path.
Origin and purpose of the workshop
Lesser Poland is a place with great history and culture. In December 2019, we established cooperation with the Department of Culture, National Heritage and Promotion of the Marshal’s Office of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.
Driven by a research approach, we decided to ask ourselves the following questions: “How to further emphasize the uniqueness of Lesser Poland? How to make visual identification refer even more strongly to the culture and traditions of this region? And finally, how to popularize Lesser Poland ethno designs?”.
The goals of our cooperation were to conduct an open discussion on the popularization of ethno-patterns with various groups of stakeholders, then to examine the needs related to the issue and problems standing in the way of this process and to create a preliminary map of project activities that should be planned and undertaken as part of the project.
Our workshops were of a research nature and were an introduction to a further process: the appropriate development of the project by the Marshal’s Office so that it could be implemented. We invited ethnographers, sociologists, managers and art historians, people associated with the promotion of the region, as well as experts on promotion and advertising, social activists associated with Krakow and the Lesser Poland region to participate in the workshops. Such a large variety has enabled us to carry out a 360° needs test – a diagnosis of these issues by independent experts from various fields.
The workshop was also attended by representatives of the abovementioned UMWM department in order to be able to better understand the perspectives of recipients, understand their needs and problems. Altogether 16 people participated in the workshop, which required moderation by 3 people from our team! It was a really large group with an extremely wide range of competences and experiences.
The needs research carried out during the workshop was to end with a prepared report containing conclusions and recommendations, including a preliminary map of further milestones necessary to implement the process of popularizing Małopolska designs.
Agenda of the research workshop and specificity of the groups of recipients
A well-thought-out agenda and well-chosen tools were necessary to achieve all of the assumed goals in a group of 16 people representing various stakeholder groups. We decided on the following order:
How did we divide the workshop participants?
In Open Space Technology, the topics depended on the participants, while at World Cafe as a research team we assumed three main themes. Each of them had a different group of experts:
- What research and with whom should be carried out at the beginning of the process of popularizing Małopolska ethno-designs?
- The participants were: sociologists, activists and coordinators of cultural undertakings, ethnographers and representatives of the Marshal’s Office.
- What factors influenced the popularization of other designs, e.g. Łowicz, popularization of Górnośląski design?
- The participants were: experts on the promotion of regional art from within our province and the Małopolska province, representatives of official and independent units promoting the region.
- Polish designers and ethno-patterns – how to encourage designers to use and be inspired by ethno-patterns in their art and products?
- To this table we invited: marketers, designers, organizers of initiatives for designers, coordinators of educational projects, representatives of designers from among ethnographers and entrepreneurs.
We talked about the research, promotional and artistic perspective. Although we have been revolving around Lesser Poland designs all the time, each time we collected completely new information, examining needs, building new processes, which you can read about below.
World Cafe among ethnographers, sociologists, art managers, advertising experts, activists and entrepreneurs – conclusions?
World Cafe was entirely devoted to learning the perspective on selected problems of each workshop participant and the needs of various stakeholders. Our role was to moderate the ongoing discussions. The groups were very diverse, almost as diverse as the personalities of the people sitting at the table. Moderation in this case was both active listening and recording the most important observations.
What in-depth research should we carry out and with whom?
To answer these questions, we’ve really defined the groups of the main recipients of the project. Among them were:
- Consumers (national, international and local);
- Architects and investors;
- Artists: ASP students, craftsmen, artists, designers;
- Local activists, including folklore units.
For each of the above groups, the speakers defined research goals and preliminary research scenarios, as each of them has different needs, problems and methods. Therefore, the opinion of all respondents can contribute to process improvement and, in addition, they can participate in the implementation itself if they are activated.
In-depth needs research among entrepreneurs and producers would have to take into account the needs related to the production and wholesale of products with ethno-patterns; determining the level of interest in the possibility of using regional patterns; considering current market trends. At the same time, research with e.g. creators requires a focus on current creative trends, methods for popularizing trends between artists, and awareness of regional patterns.
What factors influence the popularization of regional designs in Poland?
During the discussion on this topic, it was possible to analyze and develop the main factors that influenced the popularization of ethnographic patterns from other regions. Among them were:
- The region’s identity and awareness of its history, involving communities around the region as part of participatory projects and mass events;
- Utilizing the use of ethno-patterns, bringing them to the standard of everyday life, including: use in fashion, literature related to the region, on the packaging of cosmetics or food products;
- Unified identification in view of the diversity of the region;
- Commercial factor: aesthetics, price, trends, production costs, sales time, availability and knowledge of designs.
Based on this discussion, we determined what to look for in the popularization process, what activities should be undertaken during the promotion of Małopolska’s ethnographic designs.
How to encourage designers to use ethno designs in art?
We also examined the needs of the designers. The process of engaging designers seemed to involve many complications from the very beginning. The following problems were listed in order by the group:
- Unavailability of ethno designs for legal use by designers.
- Unaware of designers in the field of ethno designs;
The first steps necessary to encourage designers to use ethno designs have been established. The following solutions have been developed for the first problem: organizing a unit/institution that oversees the issue of the use and copyright of ethno designs; creating a place from which designers will be able to download files with patterns under an open license for commercial use. For the second problem: raising awareness of ethno-patterns through training, workshops and competitions.
Open Space Technology – deepening the study of needs, developing preliminary solutions
After World Cafe, we went on to deepen the current study on the most key topics that appeared as disputable during the first part. Each participant had the opportunity to submit their topic for discussion. There was also “The Law of Two Feet” in the room that allowed smooth movement between thematic points when we wanted to take part in other discussion topics or the conversation took a course that we are not interested in.
Out of all participants, six main topics emerged that were discussed:
- Regional education;
- Commercialization of patterns and demand generation;
- Contemporary Ethnodesign;
- Who are the ethno designs for? (clarifying the group of consumers);
- Ethno-patterns becoming widely available
- Selection and processing of ethno-patterns for popularization.
Each of the participants took part in at least 3 different thematic discussions that day. How did we react to such a large amount of information? Actively listening and recording in prepared formats: Problem, Solution, Conclusions and Comments, to present to each workshop participants developed proposals of action, based on the analysis of examined needs.
Summary of our work – in numbers and more
hours research workshop
pages of raport
What next with the popularization process? We have received information that the Marshal’s Office is planning, using our recommendations, to carry out in-depth needs tests among the recommended target groups, and then start implementing the project!
Tools used in the project
- World Cafe
- Open Space Technology
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