Annual summer internships supported by GAI leaders are highly sought after by UW-Madison students. The in-depth, on-site, hands-on collaboration between artisans and students is powerfully motivating, launching many students into their post-graduate careers. Thus far, a total of 25 graduate and undergraduate students have taken part in GAI international experiences in Ecuador, Kenya, Nepal, and Mexico. Students have also completed internships in Madison, working with artisans virtually to develop short films and create storytelling materials. Students also learn critical administrative skills related to fundraising/budget management, inventory control, and product organization. Other activities related to student learning opportunities include:
• Enrollment of 100 students in “Design Thinking 527: Global Artisans,” which connects students with artisans around the world.
• Student partnerships with two new organizations, Scents of Syria and Intag Sisal.
• Continuation of a digital co-design project (now in its fourth iteration) between students in “Design Studies 327: Textile Design: Manual and Computer Generated Imagery” and Indian designer artisans in the state of Gujarat.
• Creation of a study abroad class called “Wellbeing Through Microenterprise and Environmental Stewardship in Ecuador.”
• Continued collaboration with Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace, a student organization that promotes and sells artisan products online and across the UW-Madison campus.
• Strengthening of student internship program
in Gatunga, Kenya by using design thinking techniques to improve quality of life for artisans and their communities. Students work with artisans to create simple, locally-sourced solutions for everyday challenges, such as water-carrying vests, fruit dehydration systems, and a biomass briquette maker. Together, students and artisans learn the real value of traditional crafts and quality products.