Digital Cluster Development Programme’s Digikala—a project to support Ikat handloom industry of Odisha—participated in an event called ‘Alankrita’ in Bhubaneswar on July 19, 2019. The social gathering, attended by eminent designers and social entrepreneurs in the field, is an attempt towards promoting the dying traditional handloom weaving in the region and introduce weavers to wider opportunities. Sabyasachi Patra and Bidyavati Meher from Digikala attended the event as speakers to share their experiences on ‘Digital world and textile entrepreneurship in Odisha’ with past three years’ experience of working with DEF on digital intervention in weaving cluster.
Alankrita is an informal group of concerned citizens who seek to establish a non- governmental cooperative society for the promotion of Indian textile heritage. It primarily focuses on handloom and handicraft sector in Odisha and its neighbouring regions. It was discussed at the meeting that it is imperative to form a wide network to connect specific clusters of weavers with product designers, capital investors from national as well as international market. While the participants acknowledged the importance of economic viability, it was suggested that the aim should be at creating a socially responsible ecosystem for holistic development of the weaving sector in the region.
As part of the programme, a one-day workshop was organised on ‘Textile Entrepreneurship in Odisha: Exploring Possibilities’ at Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD), Bhubaneswar. Participants included an eclectic set of master- weavers from different clusters of Odisha such as Berhampur, Bomkai, Padmanavpur, Sonepur, Barpali, Kotpad, Maniabandha and Nuapatna. Along with them, representatives from the knowledge sectors related to textile and fashion technology experts also participated in the event to discuss the promotional possibilities.
The event was attended by other important guests like Professor Binaya Bhusan Jena, Director, NIFT, Bhubaneswar; Chief Guest, Dr. Madhumita Panda, Osmania University, Hyderabad. Sumita Ghose, founder Rangsutra.