From being a Professor of the Practice of Digital Storytelling at Northeastern University at present to the Writer/Producer of the feature documentary, Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, premiered in 2019 at Cannes Film Festival, and BFI London Film Festival Bobette Buster is in the thick of the art of storytelling. In an exclusive tete-e tete with Authindia she touches upon the gravity of telling the stories of individuals practicing traditional crafts in a way to let the world know as to how their vocations impact their subsistence.
How significant is the role academicians in democratising the traditional crafts?
My personal interest is in hearing the story of local people, to know how it communicates to world. I have learnt so much by listening to their stories and imparting to them the foundations of universal story telling. So I believe there is a huge moment in my part of the world in appreciation of traditional crafts and their integrity and buying them from local sources no matter wherever they are Africa, India, third world countries like Japan. I think people seek authenticity and there is some quality, a feeling in handmade item and the power of that touch all the way through the process and people do respond to that.
Do you think that integration of traditional craft practices in fashion industries can help reduce carbon emission?
I think its a marketing issue and finding the right influencer. The issue with Fashion is that it requires a sense of something that is hip to date. The consumer love the original stories, the pictures and knowing how it came to be, the making of it, it can done by influencer, celebrities on instagrams that how these crafts look good on people. They want to keep it long now, the whole idea of buying frequently every season, throwing away the fashion and filling the closet there has been a huge consciousness now that we don’t need that. The more that people who are marketing that can appeal in way to clear the long lasting images and qualities and beauty and authenticity.
Do you think that through right marketing, traditional craft can incorporated into mainstream economy?
Yes, very much. People will always use the better quality, they don’t want to support corporations who are already well heeled. I think there is need to market in a way that to make them realise that it is already in their reach this with the example of people who are importing it and putting them into their product line. Today with Instagram one can create fantastic marketing campaign, people will connect to the stories. Unique things like this are marketed in a way to inform that where can I get them.
To what extent digitalisation and technology can be leveraged in marketing the craft business?
Everybody is stuck at homes stores are closed if this may be the way it is then digital platform has a tremendous role to play here, especially in storytelling for example a short film can be made on any craft. E-commerce can bring monumental change by making the strategies where suppliers or wholesalers who are flexible to return or exchange them. Now a days there are many e-tailors who make easier return.
We may have lost the ability to travel but we still have appetite to feel, taste and see the world so if I have the opportunity wear some traditional craft from other side of the world I will get it. Work with the system we are in now, there is a great curiosity to see and touch those things.
Women contribute to a chief portion of informal economy in India, how their labour intensive work can be reflected effectively in a story?
Story telling has to be based on specific/individual person as to how his/her life has been changed through working on these crafts and what does she value about doing it and how it improves the community. I want to see how these local industries impacting the local communities, there can be made some powerful stories on them. More stories we hear of how people are changed in the process, more people will be connected. if you want to show a craft in one region go and find the story a specific person to tell her/his story, same with another craft. The stories are endless, when it comes to struggles of individuals, this is how we communicate.