Desert Traditions
…where new journeys into life, tradition & culture begin

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Carole Douglas works as a facilitator, advisor, designer and curator with individual artisans, communities, cooperatives and institutions to bring about beneficial economic, environmental and social change.

\‘It is a very fine line we tread when working across cultures. I believe it is important to clarify the ethical basis on which we build our work and be always aware of the distinction between cultural appropriation and cultural appropriateness.’ Carole Douglas 2013

2013 READ, WRITE, THRIVE – literacy program, herding communities

Literacy in the official language of Kutch, Gujarati, is low amongst semi nomadic herding communities. Rapid development is impinging on ‘wandering’ ways of life and ‘thrival’ of traditional people depends on their capacity to deal with legal, land and other government issues.

Desert Traditions has teamed with local organisations and  leaders of the target groups to deliver a trial project based on the concept of the ‘nomadic teacher’. We have established a not for profit business to raise funds and channel these through legally approved entities. The project is due to be launched in late 2013.

2012  MARKERS FOR THE JOURNEY – reflections on a wandering life

MARKERS FOR THE JOURNEY, a multi media installation by Carole Douglas was inaugurated at Manly Art Gallery and Museum by Christina Sumner, Curator of Society and Design, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

MARKERS FOR THE JOURNEY is Carole’s personal reflection on twenty years of traveling in Kutch. Using the theme of wandering she plumbs her extensive photographic library to create a powerful series of still and moving images projected onto multiple surfaces. Accompanied by a soundscape recorded over many years and a collection of traditional textiles, Carole creates a metaphorical journey through the lens of nomadic life.

200 MFTJ

2011 JINGADI JO VANAT – The Weave of Life, an exhibition of Kharad weaving

Carole met Tejsi Dhana Marwada in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake that destroyed his family home. Working on a traditional nomadic loom he recreated his dramatic story for RESURGENCE. In 2008 Carole invited Tejsi and his son Samat to create pieces for an exhibition in Sydney and duly commissioned 25 narrative works reflecting the history and culture of their community. On May 4th 2011 Jingadi Jo Vanat was inaugurated at Bondi Pavilion by Mr Amit Dasgupta, Consul General of India. Please refer to our product gallery for available items and further information.


Commissioned by the Nehru Foundation for Development, Carole Douglas managed and curated a narrative textile exhibition for the 4th UNESCO conference ‘Education for Sustainability’ held in Ahmedabad, November 2007. Supported by the Centre for Environment Education (CEE India) and Khamir Craft Resource Centre (CRC), Carole worked with the younger generation of Kutch artisans on issues of sustainability. Artisans explored their concerns about the environment and developed new models of production. Their findings were conveyed through narrative textile works and written documentation. The exhibition was inaugurated by Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director, CEE India. In 2008 Khamir CRC acquired the collection.

A valuable educational tool and model of sustainable enterprise, NEW VOICES NEW FUTURES is available for hire.

2005- CIRCLES OF POWER – an empowerment project for artisans

At the invitation of a local community leader in 2005 Carole began working with Mir artisans. Building on existing skills she worked on raising the quality of their hand-beaded bangles and purchased raw materials from early sales. The bangles now sell in Sydney, Ahmedabad, Rann Riders and at one time sold to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Made from industrial waste, retail off cuts and new and used glass beads, each bangle represents economic freedom to a marginalised woman. Please refer to our product gallery for available items and further information.

2001 – 2003 RESURGENCE – stories of an earthquake, survival and art

In response to the 2001 Kutch earthquake Carole Douglas established  ’Art to ’Art, a not for profit business, to raise funds in Australia for earthquake affected artisans. For the following two years she worked closely with Kutch artisans, Indian non government organisations and institutions. Using traditional techniques dozens of artisans stitched, tied, printed, wove and dyed their personal stories into cloth and a new genre of narrative textiles was born. The project culminated in the ground-breaking exhibition RESURGENCE inaugurated by the High Commissioner for India, Mr Rathore on April 4th, 2003 at Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Sydney.

In 2004  RESURGENCE was inaugurated by Elaben Bhatt, founder of SEWA and 2013 recipient of the prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, at the Nehru Foundation for Development in Ahmedabad.

In 2005 RESURGENCE was inaugurated by Sri Kantisen Shroff at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), formerly the Prince of Wales Museum.

In 2006 RESURGENCE was acquired by CSMVS where it is permanently housed.