Research Theme: The Global Revitalization of Indigo Dyeing

The revitalization of indigo dyeing, especially the production process of and with natural dye, is a global phenomenon. As the most available colour plant in many places of the world, indigo reflects common vernacularity as well as the varieties of soil and climate of each locale. Indigo hence often reflects the humble memory of people’s ways of living and the revitalization process forms the site of memory under present demands – whether it’s for community mobilization, a niche market or post-disaster resilience. This project aims to examine multiple cases of revitalization of Indigo dyeing, to explore the drive behind revitalization, the process of making indigo as the site of memory of group of people and how indigo can be a socially engaged colour for mobilizing actions. The cases of Taiwan, Yogjakarta, Chiang Mai, Borneo, India and West Africa will be considered.

This project threads multiple areas/partners through the co-production of online courses and the conducting of in-situ mutual-learning events. It aims to involve multiple actors including craftspeople, universities, art students, local communities and cultural institutions from different areas in the co-production of films. Furthermore, the filmed materials can be used by partners in different areas to build mutual understanding and to generate further cooperation at in-situ events such as workshops and summer schools.

The Pedagogies through Indigo

The new course ‘Indigo Across Borders’ will be implemented in the latter part of 2017 at the Taipei National University of Arts, followed by other courses. The course adopts two seemingly conflicting approaches: online MOOC learning and on-site field participation. Through the juxtaposition of distanced learning and in-situ learning, the course aims to show that ‘process’ is core to the understanding of craft and can never be fast-forwarded or avoided by changing channels. This course is open to multi-disciplinary art students as a part of General Education. New courses and projects are also being developed at the School of Culture Resources, Taipei National University of Arts for Master and PhD programmes.

Research Team: Min-chin Kay Chiang

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