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Promoting Creativity in a Local Tourist Business

Margaret-Catherine Perivoliotis-Chryssovergis

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The paper discusses an e-learning pilot study, focusing on local tourist producers/businesses that are occupied with the production of artefacts, mainly textiles.
     The basic idea of the present work is derived from the fact that during the last few years, and due to the Athens Olympic games, the conditions for entrepreneurship in Greek tourist business have changed very much. The research focused on directions where design operates as a leading discipline of the innovation processes and entrepreneurship: the development of new high quality tourist products and designs, and the adaptation of new technologies. The development of entrepreneurship, as well as of new skills and designs in the tourist business, in order to stay or become competitive, was considered in the context of the immense pressure imposed upon small firms by external production changes and the expansion of high technology applications. The aims of the project were to create new opportunities, visions, directions and inspiration in the tourist production; to help them adapt new technologies and become more competitive; to assist them in penetrating new markets; to provide a distance-learning program to handicraft producers in order to improve their efficiency.
     The objectives of the project were to promote craft design research in the university environment; to analyse design education from a cultural point of view; to facilitate a dialogue on the benefits and limitations of new technology and globalisation on craft design and production. In modern Greece the tourist business is a major source of income for the economy. The interest of foreign visitors in local and traditional products, mainly textiles, is an increasing phenomenon that was more evident during the period of the Olympic games. As a result, tourist companies have shifted their attention to producing hand-made traditional textiles and items. The problem is that in many cases, traditional products exhibit a lack of identity due to a combination of factors. The producers’ low educational level leads them to easy solutions, such as either entrusting the production to low cost Chinese companies, which produce cheap machine-made imitations, or “copying” traditional prototypes in a reformatted way. Tourist production bears the history and the identity of the country and its people, which should never be lost for the sake of modernism and internationalism. A special educational module was developed engaging new technology. It was experimentally applied to selected participating tourist producers, offering them fundamental design education, computer training, and basics on management and marketing

Author Bio(s)

Margaret-Catherine Perivoliotis-Chryssovergis is Associate Professor with tenure of Textile Design and History of Furniture/Decoration, Doctor of Textile Design work evaluation, International Coordinator, Faculty of Applied Arts and Design, Technological Educational Institute, Athens, Greece. Ten international research projects on Design, Textiles and Education, ten journal publications, forty international conference participations/publications, three books on Textiles and History of Furniture. Collaborations: European Module on Textiles/Fashion Industry, European Module on Architecture, CRAFT Leonardo Da Vinci program, Dora Stratou Hellenic Traditional Costumes Foundation, Prisma Society, Hellenic Pedagogical Institute, Athens Municipality, American College of Athens, Youth Centre for Adults Education; twelve international workshops, TEI of Athens. Since 1995 lectures to graduate and post-graduate students within the Socrates/Erasmus programs to twelve European Universities. Art Exhibitions: seven international solo shows, participation in sixteen international group and eleven web exhibitions. Member: Greek Chamber of Arts (EETE), Textile Education and Research in Europe (TEXERE), Design Research Society (DRS), European Textile Network (ETN).