Enhancing knowledge exchange and collaboration between craftspeople and designers using the concept of boundary objects

Sarah S.S.B. Suib*, Jo M.L. Van Engelen, Marcel R.M. Crul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


Design and craft domains possess knowledge and experiences that are valuable to product development; however, such knowledge is often tacit, localized, and embedded within each respective domain. In this paper, we examine how a combination of design tools—prescribed as boundary objects—supports knowledge exchange and collaboration between these two domains in a design intervention setup. This setup is developed to explore the intangible values inherent within a heritage product—a product inherited from the previous generations— closely connected to local craftspeople and a point of inspiration for designers. Two design intervention sessions have been conducted in cross-domain collaboration efforts between craft and design representatives from Malaysia. The method devised and employed in this paper enabled a detailed study of different types of boundary objects that represent knowledge from each domain, stimulated knowledge exchange across domains, and transformed part of the tacit knowledge shared into explicit forms. We found that craftspeople and designers can collaborate and share knowledge more effectively by focusing on specific knowledge within their domains that might be of value to the other. Finally, we highlight the importance of promoting inclusive and conscious adaptation of content from the local cultural heritage in the product development process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-133
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Design
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Boundary Objects
  • Craft-Design Collaboration
  • Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration
  • Design Intervention
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Tacit Knowledge


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