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    Ahead of his Yarn Club talk at Apparao Galleries, Wiebe Bijker shares why handloom is a science

    It’s been two years since Wiebe Bijker’s last trip to India, and the first thing he recalls is the Margazhi festival. “I am a big fan of Carnatic music. But I am just an amateur,” says Bijker, a professor at the Maastricht University in Netherlands. His travels are usually connected to research, and his current visit has him stopping in Hyderabad, Delhi and Pune before landing in Chennai this weekend. “My research is about the relationship between technology and society and knowledge,” shares Bijker, who is preparing for a talk on handloom and technology at Apparao Galleries.

    “One of my students, Annapurna Mamidipudi (who will also be speaking at the gallery), is writing a PhD thesis on handloom weaving. She is discovering that there’s a lot of innovation happening in handloom. But people prefer not to call it that because of the heritage associated with it,” he says. The purpose of Mamidipudi’s project is to prove that handloom is not outdated and can provide a livelihood.

    “Indian states should fund projects helping weaving cooperatives and master weavers to innovate: find environment friendly ways of dyeing, socially responsible ways of producing the handloom, and cleverly turn classic motifs into new designs,” says Bijker, adding that this would enhance the value of our handloom. The talk is on March 29, at 6 pm. Details: 9941012382

    -Ryan Peppin

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