The article engages with debates on the contemporary practice of ‘traditional’ regional Indian crafts and the disciplinary position of craft at a time when the roles traditionally assigned to academia, patrons (industry and craft non-governmental organizations [NGOs]) and craftspeople are in flux. The author takes the reader through a self-reflexive journey of unlearning based on her experiences as project researcher on an initiative to document traditional crafts in and around the Hampi World Heritage site. What began as an ‘objective’ attempt to present a comprehensive field-based project to document the living craft traditions of a region transformed into a discussion on the politics of research. The example of the Hampi project made it clear to the author that knowledge production is dialogic. ‘Field’, ‘place’ and ‘community’, whether project committee, general public or craftspeople (so-called objects of enquiry), can and do influence the parameters of research design. And this understanding leads to an acceptance on her part that, in turn, ‘researchers’ can only impact the field in a limited way. Consequently, a more useful role for herself and other communities, including craft NGOs, might be that of giving voice to the voiceless, in this instance, craftspeople. More significantly that the views and concerns of craftspeople do matter irrespective of whether they are in accord with the views of individuals, groups or communities that seek to support them, whether craft industry, patrons or researchers.