Post-COVID craft education

Reflections on a virtual artisan woodblock studio exchange between Australia and India



Emneord (Nøkkelord):

Tangible and intangible knowledge,, artisan craft, online global studio, cross-cultural exchange


This paper presents a hybrid model of teaching and learning that proposes new possibilities for exchang­ing tangible and intangible cross-cultural knowledge in textile craft education. The paper aims to demonstrate how online platforms can be used creatively to disseminate traditional craft knowledge and skills in new ways. The discussion centres on a unique virtual global studio between fashion and textile undergraduate students at the University of Technology Sydney and on an artisanal woodblock print studio, Tharangini, based in Bengaluru (Bangalore), India. The hybrid workshop was an adaptation of the studio in response to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic. The author argues that while the internet cannot replace the immersive cultural experience of studying in another country, digital platforms have a place alongside teaching to offer otherwise impossible opportunities. This paper explores a methodology for disseminating craft knowledge and skills across cultures through a combination of online and in-house practicum. Classes were structured around weekly Zoom sessions with Director Padmini Govind, where sustainable approaches to print production were disseminated through a suite of commissioned films and hand-carved woodblocks to explore on campus. The results show how this unique adaptation allowed students to interact with the artisan craft of woodblock printing in rich and varied ways, and it proposes that this novel hybrid model can be creatively adapted to future craft education in the 2020s.


Cecilia Heffer , University of Technology Sydney

Senior Lecturer (PhD)
Academic Textile Lead



Benvenuit, S., Heikkinen S., Ip, T., & Younis, Z. (2017). Introduction to authentic learning-environments, experiences and field work. In A. Horsted, C. Nygard, J. Branch, & S. Hayes (Eds.), Innovative teaching and learning in higher Education (pp. 269–282). Libri Publishing.

Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32¬–42.

Carter, P. (2004). Material thinking. Melbourne University Press.

Clifton-Cunningham, A., & Heffer, C. (2022). Crossing the cultural aisle from Australia to India: Transforming studio learning through artisan textile workshops. In W. Pangle, K. Stanley-Bohn, A. Dasen, J. Batzner, & H. Trommer-Beardslee (Eds.), Removing the educational silos: Models of interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary education (pp. 127–146, 1st ed.). Intellect Books.

Dormer, P. (1997). The language and practical philosophy of craft. In P. Dormer (Ed.), The culture of craft (pp. 219–230). Manchester University Press.

Dhasmana, S. (2023, April 4-5). Restoring artisan esteem [Conference presentation]. In 25th Annual IFFTI Conference 2023, Otago Museum, New Zealand.

Ingold, T. (2007). Lines, a brief history. Routledge.

Lantry, J. (2015). Artisan culture: Rethinking sustainability through collaborative exchange between emerging Australian designers and Indian artisans in fashion and textiles [Unpublished master’s thesis]. University of Technology Sydney.

Lee, Y. (2020). Surface and apparition: The immateriality of modern surface. Bloomsbury Press.

Omotoso, M. (2023, February 1). Who made my clothes movement how it began. Fashion Insiders & Co.

Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Routledge.

Sennett, R. (2008). The craftsman. Yale University Press.

Vaughan, L. (Ed.). (2017). Practice-based design research. Bloomsbury.




Hvordan referere

Heffer , C. (2023). Post-COVID craft education: Reflections on a virtual artisan woodblock studio exchange between Australia and India. FormAkademisk, 16(4).

Cited by