TPDCo To Establish Craft Development Institute

Executive Director - TPDCo-Dr. Andrew Spencer
Executive Director – TPDCo-Dr. Andrew Spencer

(JIS) Plans are advanced for the Tourism Product Development Company’s (TPDCo) establishment of a Craft Development Institute (CDI) at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (ENCVPA) in Kingston under a Memorandum of Understanding between the entities.

The CDI is among several initiatives being pursued by TPDCo with view to growing the craft industry by providing artisans with opportunities to participate in product enhancement and business development training programmes.

Executive Director of TPDCo, Dr. Andrew Spencer, says the CDI is expected to be underpinned by an institutional framework that facilitates training for current and aspiring artisans while supporting the development and protection of their work.

“The Craft Development Institute is meant to be a machinery that allows for individuals with a particular skill set to refine those skills and end up having their products in what we call artisan villages,” the Executive Director pointed out.

He indicated that five such villages are to be established in several of the island’s resort areas.

The first, which is slated to be opened in 2018, will be located at Hampden Wharf in Falmouth, Trelawny, and will be developed in collaboration with the Port Authority of Jamaica.

The second will be located in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, and will be developed in partnership with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).

Dr. Spencer explained that the establishment of the villages was proposed in the Tourism Sector Development Plan and the long-term Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan, which called on the Government to develop attractions where locals and visitors could enjoy the total Jamaican experience through food, drink, culture and entertainment as well as art and craft.

Dr. Spencer was speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank session at the agency’s head office in Kingston on August 29.

Meanwhile, Dr. Spencer advised that approximately 180 persons have benefited from training in craft enhancement and business planning. This, he said, as part of an 18-month craft-enhancement programme, which concluded in July 2016.

The programme was implemented by TPDCo with funding support from the Organization of American States (OAS) and Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

Notable among the resulting outcomes was the transformation of the Ministry’s grounds in New Kingston into a mini artisan village to stage the ‘Christmas Village on the Breezeway’ last December.

The extravaganza showcased and marketed handicrafts and other authentic Jamaican products made by 26 local artisans.

Its staging was positioned as a precursor to the establishment of the proposed artisan villages.