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Designing for the Infrastructure of the Supply Chain of Malay Handwoven Songket in Terengganu

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Abstract

The growing HCI interest in developing contexts and cultural craft practices is ripe to focus on their under-explored homegrown sociotechnical infrastructures. This paper explores the creative infrastructural actions embedded within the practices of songket's supply chain in Terengganu, Malaysia. We report on contextual interviews with 92 participants including preparation workers, weavers, designers, merchants, and customers. Findings indicate that increased creative infrastructural actions are reflected in these actors' resourcefulness for mobilizing information, materials, and equipment, and for making creative artifacts through new technologies weaved within traditional practices. We propose two novel approaches to design in this craft-based infrastructure. First, we explore designing for the social layer of infrastructure and its mutually advantageous exploitative relationships rooted in culture and traditions. Second, we suggest designing for roaming value-creation artifacts, which blend physical and digital materializations of songket textile design. Developed through a collaborative and asynchronous process, we argue that these artifacts represent less-explored vehicles for value co-creation, and that sociotechnical infrastructures as emerging sites of innovation could benefit from HCI research.