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Williams College

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

China: Language, Cultures, and Ethnic Minorities


This paper examines the effects of a handicraft promoting company and sewing training workshop, the Shangri La Tangtong Handicraft Development Center, on the lives of its participant group of 28 women tailors. Explained is the history of the organization, justifications for formation, and description of the current workspace and products as located in Shangri La Old Town, Yunnan Province. From a series of 19 interviews (13 of which conducted with the tailors) and personal observations comes the conclusion that beyond the organization’s specified goals of cultural heritage preservation and poverty alleviations, the workshop effectively provides the tailors with a strong and positive community. This community, in turn, is valuable as it gives the women tailors a means of empowerment.


Arts and Humanities | Asian Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology