The paper describes our distance-learning proposal in the textile production field for women in remote and rural areas. It is a pilot study focusing on those women who are professionally or occasionally occupied with the production of textiles without having any education in textile production, design, marketing or management, with special focus on those who wish to attend simplified lectures on these matters but cannot, due to their residential location or to their lifestyle constraints. New education strategies adapted to the users educational level had to be developed engaging the potential of computer technology in the textile process. It is also a proposed solution to the exclusion and unemployment that is still rife in many East Mediterranean and East European countries. We also look for the promotion of the home and co-operative textile industry via education. The research work is a combined project of the Technological Educational Institution of Athens (TEI) and the "Prisma" society, supported by the LEONARDO DA VINCI program and the diploma work and practical training of TEI students. It has been applied all around Greece and introduced to co-operatives in Italy, Ireland and Sweden. We describe the evolution of the program and the results of the applications among our partners.
Key words: textile design, textile production, co-operative textile industry, distance-learning, education strategies, unemployment.
Our research field is rural women, most of whom work or wish to work locally in the production of handicraft textiles, and who have no textile design and production education and only a minimal basic education. The lack of opportunities and unemployment among women are still serious drawbacks in many areas in Greece, the Balkans and Eastern Europe. It is a social and economic problem that governments are facing, seeking solutions via training, and via promoting home and co-operative industry and production. The majority of rural Balkan women declare 'farmer' as their occupation, which actually means 'unemployed', since it is an occupation that does not offer them any personal income, regardless of the efforts and labour involved, and statistically it means an unemployment rate of 80% among the female rural population. In Greece the official total female unemployment in the country has risen to 14% the last year.
About the Authors:
Professor Margaret C. Perivoliotis is associated with Department of Graphic Arts and Design of Technological Educational Institution (TEI) of Athens.