About the Creative City:
Sukhothai, is a historical city situated north of Bangkok. The city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site since 1999. With a population of 597,257, the city has a rich heritage of traditional arts and crafts and has become a centre for location artisan production home to 1,300 craftspeople working in community-based industries, including textile weavings, gold and silver ornaments, and ceramic and Sangkhalok wares. The total estimated income from these traditional crafts and folkc art is around US$ 33.7 million. Such existing crafts not only reflect Sukhothai ancient wisdom but represent a significant enhancement of the city’s economy.
In recent years Sukhothai has hosted several major Crafts and Folk Art events, including the Sukhothai Craft and Art Fair. Hosted by the Thailand Authority of Thailand, this inclusive event attracted traditional industry craftspeople from all over the region. On the international front, in 2019, the city launched the Street Art festival in Sawankhalok, during which walls along Pisansoonthrakit Alley were painted by artists from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia.
In order to support local crafts and folk art industries, the local government of Sukhothai has put in place a 20-year development plan, which involves a citywide project for all public, private and civil society sectors to work together to make Sukhothai a world-class creative city of crafts and folk art. At the heart of this policy is the creation of the Local Wisdom Centers in 9 districts, which is an ongoing project implemented by the Sukhothai Provincial Culture Office. On the national level, the Government has promoted the creative economy as a key development approach of the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan, which aims to turn Thailand, and especially Sukhothai, into a creative industrial hub.
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, Sukhothai envisages:
- creating a new creative hub and learning centre of Crafts and Folk Art in the Lower Northern Region of Thailand, serving both education and creative sectors’ needs;
- promoting a start-up collaboration between art and craft creators and academics in the fields of research and development;
- developing support for crafts and creativity skills, especially with regard to Sukhothai’s silver and gold jewellery, textiles and sangkhalok wares; and
- generating income for art and craft creators and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the creative industry, thus helping them to improve their quality of life in the long term.
Mr Weerawit Chanthawarang, Consultant and Coordinator, Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA), SukhothaiUCCN@hotmail.com