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An Investigation into the Potential of Design for Sustainability in the Handicrafts of Northern Thailand.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Disaya Chudasri
Publication date2015
Number of pages310
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
Electronic ISBNs9780438571563
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This research investigates the potential of design for sustainability in the handicrafts of northern Thailand. It provides an in-depth understanding of the relationship between craft and design for sustainability, and examples of handicrafts and their potential links to design for sustainability, focusing especially on handwoven textiles. Research strategies include a literature review, semi-structured interviews and case studies. Seven main research findings are identified. 1. Handicraft production (including the weaving of the Tai Yuan ethnic group in northern Thailand) is compatible with all the elements in Walker's Quadruple Bottom Line of Sustainability (personal meaning, social responsibility, environmental care and economic viability). 2. Three handicrafts were found to have strong potential for design for sustainability, including textiles, furniture and jewellery. This is based on four critical factors affecting the long-term viability of handicraft enterprises, namely: production capacity, product viability, market feasibility and legislation. 3. There are four areas of design for sustainability that can ensure the long-term viability of handicraft communities and enterprises: (i) product design and development, (ii) design for marketing and sales, (iii) production development and (iv) knowledge transfer and knowledge development. 4. Weaving courses and training are key mechanisms for transferring textile knowledge. Yet these are not sufficiently available, especially to the younger generation. 5. Developments in the handicraft communities lead in one main direction, namely towards the revitalization, preservation and commercialization of handicrafts. It is crucial to explore directions that can better connect handicrafts with the younger generation and enable producers to adopt a more entrepreneurial approach. 6. Chok textiles are available at varying prices and quality in the market. Yet information about the product quality is understated and undifferentiated. More adequate information about the product quality (i. e. production techniques and processes) as well as about the unique identity and cultural heritage, ethical production and fair trade, is required to stimulate purchasing decisions. 7. The supply chain of handwoven textiles in this region falls into three main categories: stakeholders, producers' service areas and trade channels.

Bibliographic note

Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2015.