Mariam Maka Dvalishvili
Mariam Maka Dvalishvili is a founder and Executive Director of the Georgian Arts and Culture Center – the leading cultural NGO in Georgia. For over 25 years her role in the organisation has included GACC policy-making, strategic planning, fundraising, elaboration, execution and overseeing of GACC projects and ongoing activities. The Development of Cultural Industries and Crafts in particular, is one of the GACC’s major ongoing programmes, among four others. Within this programme and with the support of a wide range of international organisations (including the EU, USAID, etc), Dvalishvili has led numerous crafts development projects, with a focus on the engagement of youth and apprentices, to ensure the continuation of traditions, and to develop products and businesses in accordance with international trends and requirements.
Based on the memorandums with the major arts educational institutions in Georgia (Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, University of Georgia, among others), under the leadership of Dvalishvili many different crafts programs have been organised. These include the provision of capacity building trainings, workshops and internships for the students of crafts/arts departments. On the basis of open calls, young design graduates and artisans have received guidance and support in product development and marketing, crafts business development, export import regulations, copyrights and trademarks and putting them in touch with enterprises to help them acquire internships and work placements.
In 2016, as part of an EU project, Mariam Maka Dvalishvili established the Tbilisi First International Summit of Crafts and Design “Ethno Fest”, which included the participation of craftsmen from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. The Summit takes place on a biennial basis and is an excellent opportunity for young entrepreneurs, designers and artisans to present their work, participate in workshops and conferences and to participate in the planning and implementation of the Summit.