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Kaamya Sharma

I have an enduring interest in how individuals engage with the digital and material worlds. As a researcher, I adopt mixed-methods approaches to examine the relationship between consumers, cultures, and markets. I have been invited to give keynote lectures, talks and presentations in Denmark, Germany, Greece, Finland and India.

Focusing on sari ‘revival’ movements on social media, my doctoral project was a cultural examination of the sari and craft as a site of contested identities in colonial and postcolonial urban India. I combined ethnography, visual analysis, policy and market data analysis, media and social media study to conduct this research. I have published peer reviewed articles based on this research and am currently writing a monograph about the modern sari.

My postdoctoral research examined the relationship between user perceptions of comfort and sustainability by studying clothing choices as ethical consumption. I analysed and compared how information on clothing labels and the haptic elements of fabric influenced user perceptions of comfort, sustainability and traceability across the clothing lifecycle.

In my current research project titled ‘Decolonizing Craft Narratives: Craft as Material Culture in India‘, I explore how various actors in the Indian craft world create meaning and value through the use and practice of craft. Drawing on insights from ethnographic fieldwork in India contextualized using visual, media, policy and archival analysis, I am interested in how tropes of the handmade, authentic and traditional interact with mechanization and industrialization in the craft world. As a member of the Editorial Board for Garland, I am in dialogue with craft practitioners and researchers across the world. Through this research, I hope to be at the forefront of the emerging field of Craft Studies.

I have drawn on my research to create Project CRAFT, a collaborative venture to create digital tools which will augment craft production and consumption in Rajasthan, India as well as enable access to digital tools for craft producers with limited digital literacy. I am also engaged in an open-ended exploration of digital tools and their uses in the domain of culture. At present, I am examining the modes and challenges of using digital tools to archive Intangible Cultural Heritage, especially the textile heritage of nineteenth century Britain and India. With this research, I hope to push our imagination of digitization of textiles past the visual to capture the haptic dimensions of material. I also plan to explore the use of Computer Vision and Machine Learning for the ethnography of Visual Social Media moving away from Big Data approaches towards culturally sensitive digital research.

Using my training and experience, I have taught courses and workshops on writing and communication. As communication is fundamentally tied to culture, I bring my research expertise and background in ethnography to facilitate effective, tailored communication strategies for a variety of stakeholders. I enjoy writing about complex and technical issues in an accessible way for a wide audience while ensuring that no nuance is lost in the process.

Whether you are looking to bring my theoretically sound insights to solving problems or merely curious about my work, I’d love to hear from you. Please reach out to me here.