The University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) will hold the International Conference on Southeast Asian Crafts and Folk Art (ICSEACFA) at Albert Hall, Teachers’ Camp, Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City, on 21-22 November 2019, with the general theme, “Crafts and Folk Art in a Sustainable and Innovative Southeast Asia.”
Dr. J. Prospero De Vera III, Commission on Higher Education Chairperson, will deliver the keynote on the topic of innovation and creativity in higher education. Among the plenary sessions the conference will be having is the topic of the interconnections between history, culture, the built fabric and urban planning, which will be discussed by Dr. Ian Morley from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Also scheduled for a plenary session, Architect Edric Ong, the President of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA), will talk about the role of design in revitalizing indigenous culture. The topic of design, culture-craft and transformation is in another plenary session which will be delivered by Dr. Michael Barry from Stanford University. Another plenary session is dedicated to the topic of Baguio as a Creative City, which will be discussed in separate presentations by the Thames International Business School’s Chancellor, Dr. John Batten, Creative Economy Council of the Philippines Founder and President, Mr. Paolo Mercado, and the Director of Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy, Dr. Tom Fleming.
The parallel sessions will bring together experts, practitioners, scholars and culture bearers on a wide variety of interdisciplinary topics which include pedagogy of art education; ethnic identity and heritage revitalization; folk art, governance, and community empowerment; the CordiTex Project; technological innovations in crafts and arts; economics and commerce of crafts; crafts, arts and ecology; perspectives and issues on Baguio as a Creative City; the role of crafts and folk art in social and economic development; and the fusion of traditional crafts and folk art.
The conference is grounded on an initiative by UPB to emphasize and help in the efforts to sustain the status of the City of Baguio as a Creative City as declared by the UNESCO in October 2017, in the category of crafts and folk art. UP Baguio’s role in the recognition of Baguio as a UNESCO Creative City is marked by its being instrumental in initiating the application for this recognition as well as being among the concrete proofs of the city’s creative spaces that make “city life exciting and meaningful,” specifically with the Museo Kordilyera and the forthcoming Cultural Hub. Together with the city government of Baguio, the Department of Tourism (DOT) CAR, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) CAR, and Baguio Arts and Crafts Collective Inc. (BACCI), UP Baguio is among the leading institutions which is implementing a four-year plan of action (2018-2022) in order to sustain Baguio’s status as a Creative City.
As a UNESCO Creative City, Baguio has to have activities for the exchange of cultural knowledge and practices with other UNESCO Creative Cities, other countries in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region and the rest of the world. The ICSEACFA fulfils this. The conference then aims to provide a venue creatives, craftsmakers, artists, artisans, academics, cultural workers and other employees in non-government organizations and local government units to be able to (1) understand the state of crafts and folk art in the SEA region, both indigenous and introduced and adopted or accommodated; (2) appreciate the role of crafts and folk art in the Creative Economy of the SEA region; (3) learn the good and best practices in sustainable innovations in crafts and folk art in the SEA region; and (4) recognize the role of the academe, especially higher educational institutions, in sustaining creativity and innovation, particularly in crafts and folk art.
Complementing the two-day conference, a trade bazaar and art exhibit will be held the entire week, November 18-22, 2019, at the Romulo Hall, Teachers’ Camp, Baguio City. Dubbed as “Apunan”—an Ibaloy word meaning “a place where people gather”—it will be hosted by the ICSEACFA in partnership with AHPADA, DTI-CAR, and DOT-CAR. “Apunan” intends to feature artists, artisans and entrepreneurs producing and selling items within the principles of sustainability, as well as their products that reflect aspects of indigenous culture or a fusion of indigenous and modern works. Invited exhibitors are from Baguio City and chosen ASEAN representatives.
Two other concurrent events will also be held on the week. These include the “Taludtod Concert” featuring Bong Ramilo with Lingling Maranan and friends, November 20, 2019, 06:00 p.m., at the Teatro Amianan, UP Baguio; and the “Creative Crawl” on November 23, 2019 around Baguio City. (J. Lazaga/UP Baguio Public Affairs)