Woven: The empowerment of women through textile craft revival in Ahmedabad

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Narsa, Shivani
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Budgett, Jeanette
Foote, Hamish
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Ahmadābād (India : District)
garment factories
textile industry
regnerative enterprise
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Narsa, S. (2021). Woven: The empowerment of women through textile craft revival in Ahmedabad. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand. https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5523
RESEARCH QUESTION How can architecture empower female garment workers through the revival of textiles in the informal settlements of Ahmedabad, India? ABSTRACT Female oppression is prevalent in Indian society, exemplified in the undervalue of garment work. Women make up a vast majority of garment workers in India, many of whom live in informal settlements and tend to work from home with domestic duties limiting their financial independence. Today’s rapid urbanisation in India, with dominating power from the Global North, is resulting in the mass production of fast fashion and a decline of traditional textile crafts. India has cultivated its knowledge of textiles over centuries producing more than 120 distinct weaves; these skills are diminishing at present due to the current global industry, which sustains the ongoing ill-treatment of workers and depletes the Earth’s natural resources. There are few people who acquire traditional craft skills and a small portion who are willing to learn due to minimal job prospects. This research project aims to empower women living in informal settlements in Ahmedabad, India, by reviving textile crafts through localising production. The empowerment of women is accomplished by a cooperative business model centering on workers’ rights resulting in financial independence, education and development of skills. Located within a housing settlement the project aims to break barriers that hinder female employment. Architecturally the design uses regenerative processes such as rainwater collection, local materials and gardens for self-sufficiency. The design is constructed by locals obtaining self-build skills furthering independence of these women and their communities. Through the empowerment of women, the design aims to uplift the wider community.
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