On February 08, 2020, the Department of Marketing, AIUB, arranged a study tour at Bangladesh Folk Art & Crafts Foundation, located at Sonargaon Upazilla of Narayanganj District, for students of the course - Rural Marketing. The purpose of the tour was to provide a significant opportunity for the students to explore the rural markets & community trading practices at the month-long crafts fair organized by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of Bangladesh. The study tour initiative was taken by Ms. Tahsina Khan, Senior Assistant Professor, Dept. of Marketing, AIUB and facilitated by Dr. Khondaker Sazzadul Karim, Associate Professor, and Head, Department of Marketing.

The tour gave students an opportunity to interact with the craftsmen and artisans displaying and selling their items and also connect with the buyers. The day-long tour included group exercises for the participating students based on market survey and field observation activities. In the first phase, after arriving at the visit site, the tour participants were grouped into working teams who were given the tasks of surveying the community fair participants, the sellers as well as the buyers. Thus, the survey teams gathered valuable insights relate to the prospects, progress, and challenges in the small, medium & micro enterprises of the Bangladesh Crafts industry. Stalls at this community fair, showcased the vibrant crafts industry of Bangladesh, particularly crafts made with wood, clay and brass, fabrics and other traditional rural commodities. Among the products in display, Shital Pati and Jamdani, two UNESCO declared intangible cultural heritage is the popular ones.  After completion of the group tasks, students’ teams attended a feedback sharing session where their experience in interviewing the retailers and observing the market activities was discussed.

The enriched folk and crafts community are the pride of our cultural heritage and make rural Bangladesh more vibrant and enduring. Thus the study tour at the Bangladesh Folk Art & Crafts community fair for the students of Rural Marketing course made their academic learning more meaningful to enable them to contribute their knowledge in the development interventions from the social and commercial perspectives.

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