On Friday 24 March, ‘Tracks4Crafts’ was launched at Bokrijk. The UAntwerp coordinates a four-year international collaborative project that aims to future-proof classic crafts, such as basket weaving and ceramics, using innovative techniques.
Bert De Munck, professor of history at the UAntwerp, explains how traditional crafts played a major role in the economic and cultural history of Europe. ‘But in an increasingly fast-moving society, the question arises whether there is a future for these crafts. We risk underutilising important know-how. Craft knowledge can play a role in the search for more sustainable forms of production.’
Tracks4Craft aspires to promote the transfer of artisanal knowledge, to create new opportunities for the future and to better acknowledge craftspeople – all this in cooperation with fifteen partners from ten different countries. While Iceland is focusing on knitting and Greece on weaving, Bokrijk will experiment with wicker, a traditional form of wickerwork with organic materials.
Passing crafts on
‘Traditional techniques are still relevant today’, says Hilde Schoefs, curator of the Bokrijk Openluchtmuseum (Open-air Museum). ‘How can we better acknowledge creators? How do we make it easier to pass on crafts to future generations? What role is there for innovative techniques in traditional crafts? Over the next four years, these are issues we will address during this international partnership.’
The four-year project is funded by Horizon Europe, an initiative of the European Commission. By promoting traditional crafts, it aims to help shape European identity while providing a future for our continent’s cultural heritage.