What started out as a documentation and conservation project that originally looked at historical and architectural structures left in neglect caused by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the historical area of Kotagede, Yogyakarta led by community architect group Arkom Jogja and funded by AirAsia Foundation, soon developed to include a wider social enterprise and community development scope as they found a community of seasoned silver artisans. Through this, AirAsia Foundation began exploring an expanded project to include creative social enterprise for the Kotagede silver artisans in collaboration with British Council, who provided UK design expertise from London based design company Ultra-Indigo.
From 23 – 25 February 2014, a team that consisted of British Council, AirAsia Foundation, Arkom Jogja and Simon Fraser from Ultra Indigo conducted a research visit to Kotagede, Yogyakarta. In three days, the team visited over 4 hamlets around Desa Jagalan area in Kotagede, meeting with their community of silversmiths that span across generations, tours around the modern and mass-produced silver shops and delved into the historic and cultural context of Kotagede and Yogyakarta by visiting historic sites of the Mataram Empire and Yogyakarta Sultanate.
Through this research trip, the team gathered information and materials to design and compile a comprehensive workshop aimed at developing skills of the silver artisan community, focusing on key issues such as design innovation, market distribution, digital presence and international scalability. The workshop was held from March 29th –April 2nd, delivered by design experts Simon Fraser and Elizabeth Wright from Ultra Indigo, and participated by over 18 silver artisans from Kotagede’s Desa Jagalan.