Shawna Cherrie Rae
I have long been concerned about the future of crafts and all the techniques that are dying out in various cultures around the world, due in part to industrialisation, capitalism and digitalisation. In many cultures, knowledge is passed down orally from generation to generation and there is no preserved history or written documentation explaining entire processes.
This is how things have worked in Kurdistan, which has long been oppressed for, and not allowed to express, its culture. In the past, nearly all women from Kurdistan were housewives. They had full responsibility for decorating the home and therefore also knew many craft techniques. These women today, particularly in the southern part of Kurdistan (Iraq), no longer need to know these crafts to the same degree as before. Modernisation and trends have also brought about a lack of interest. I fear for the crafts, traditions and cultural heritage that will be lost if things continue as they are now.
I therefore want to research how learning and the knowledge that exists today in the Kurdish culture is passed on through my own learning of a craft. I have chosen to demarcate my research by conducting an ethnographic study focusing on carpet weaving in the southern region of Kurdistan (northern Iraq). I will also use an autoethnographic research method in my own learning process.