Symposium to put traditional textiles in the limelight

Rosera Mohd | 19th November 2017 | Bandar Seri Begawan

OVER 100 participants are expected to attend the 6th ASEAN Traditional Textiles Symposium 2017, aimed at preserving and promoting traditional textiles in ASEAN countries, at the Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong tomorrow.

In an interview with Dr Siti Norkhalbi Haji Wahsalfelah, chairperson of the Symposium Conference Working Committee, she explained that participants will comprise local and international academics, students, entrepreneurs and experts in textile-related fields, along with 13 speakers from ASEAN member states and Canada.

“This is a platform for us to come together and share our experiences, disseminate information on our research findings whilst further strengthening our network (between ASEAN countries),” said Dr Norkhalbi, who is also Director of Academy of Brunei Studies at Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

Dr Siti Norkhalbi Haji Wahsalfelah shows off a traditional woven textile during an interview with the New Brunei Daily. Photo by Rosera Mohd

She also noted, “The symposium plays a major role here as it paves the way for youths to further develop themselves in this field by providing them with ample opportunities in ensuring sustainability of the industry.”

For instance, she added, young weavers would be able to draw inspiration through collaborations with available professionals or specialists on catering to the demands of the current market by looking at innovative product designs or new production techniques. This means that entrepreneurs can also network with their international counterparts for an opportunity to break into a wider market.

In the local context, she emphasised that the industry could be further developed through creating awareness and “enticing the public”, especially the younger generation, of the significance of traditional woven textile within the daily life of the community.

“Even nowadays we can see that woven textile is being used innovatively for daily products like shoes, handbags, wallets, tissue boxes, pen holders, key holders. (It) is a great effort in keeping the industry alive and bridging the gap between traditional and contemporary societies,” she said.

Dr Norkhalbi will be delivering a keynote speech on ‘Sustainability of Traditional Textiles’ at the 6th ASEAN Traditional Textiles Symposium 2017. Photo by Rosera Mohd
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