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Design contest for crafters to boost development

Published:Thursday | August 1, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Damion Crawford (left) and Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill.

Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, as well as the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, on Tuesday launched the Authentic Jamaica Design Competition.

According to the organisers of the event, the craft market has long been overlooked by governments. However, this competition signals the end of that era.

According to Damion Crawford, minister of state in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, he and Dr Wykeham McNeill, tourism minister, were tired of hearing craft vendors complain about not maximising returns from their work.

According to Crawford, research done by UNESCO has revealed findings that the craft industry is the best way that persons from lower-income brackets of society can benefit from tourism.

The minister also encouraged all craft practitioners to enter the competition and submit their pieces for review, because the possibilities were endless. The winner of the competition will take home $1 million in prizes. There will also be a $250,000 cash prize for winners from each category.

There are four categories: 'Industrial Materials', which includes metalwork and concrete; 'Textiles', which includes clothing and fabric; 'Natural Materials' which includes bamboo, straw and wood; and 'Souvenir'. The final category includes paintings, art and craft.

"We want to diversify the craft market and increase the industry. We want to transform it into a $4-billion industry. We call for the designers to put forward with the ambition to win. We want the small man to earn and compete and the authentic Jamaica brand will provide such an opportunity ... so it's now one down and 11 more revolutionary steps to go," Crawford said, hinting at some of his other plans like zoning and the entertainment registry.

HEART training

The minister also said that HEART Trust/NTA would be providing training for unemployed Jamaicans so they can find profitable occupation within the craft industry.

He also said books and magazines would be used to promote the goods coming out of the craft market. These books and magazines would be made available on aeroplanes and other locations frequently visited by tourists.

Anthony Hylton, minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, also shared his perspective on the competition.

He reaffirmed the Government's position on strengthening the creative industry, and assured the audience that the craft market would be revived based on the ongoing initiatives put forward by the participating government ministries, JIPO and other associates.

The deadline for entries is set for September 30, 2013.

All designs should be identifiable with Jamaica through the use of Jamaican branding, colours, shapes, patterns and indigenous materials, where possible. Designs will be judged based on originality and creativity, commercialism/business appeal and economic benefits.

All Authentic Jamaica Design Competition hopefuls are asked to pay a registration fee of $1,500, and this fee is payable to JIPO.

For more information on the competition persons interested can log on to www.jipo.gov.jm, www.emc.edu.jm or www.mot.gov.jm.

The competition has also received endorsements from EXIM Bank Jamaica, The Gleaner Company Limited, Irie FM and PCB Jamaica.