Academy of Crafts gives young Hungarians and Slovenians new perspectives using old crafts

By returning to the roots of handicraft activities, a cross-border project not only preserves the rich cultural heritage of Hungary and Slovenia, but also creates opportunities for young people to obtain an additional income, stimulating growth in the region.

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An Academy of Crafts workshop. © Marko Suhoveršnik An Academy of Crafts workshop. © Marko Suhoveršnik

Operating on a “bottom-up” principle, where craftsmen, local inhabitants, different social groups, and educational and cultural organizations are directly involved, the project allows for an unhindered international flow of knowledge and experiences in the crafts field through workshops and joint training programmes. In particular, the experience with skills qualification programmes of the Hungarian project partners was helpful for the development of similar programmes on the Slovenian side.

The different handicraft technologies and products promoted in workshops and training courses can be used to renovate historical buildings or construct new housing using energy efficient, locally available materials such as hay. Besides benefits in terms of energy savings and short supply routes, the created products can also be marketed and used as a tourist attraction.

Using new technologies to preserve a traditional activity

One of the particular aims of the project is the preservation of Hungarian and Slovenian handicrafts cultural heritage through digitalisation. This is obtained for example through the creation of educative videos, where the entire process of creating handicraft products, from the preparation of the material to the usability and functionality of the product, is shown, explained and interpreted by the craftsperson. These educational films can also be used in the Handicraft Academy to transfer knowledge of how to create handicraft projects and therefore form a key component of the project’s educational objective.

Modernisation and new perspectives

In recent years, it has become difficult to make a living as a handicraft professional. Nevertheless, young people have increasingly recognised the need for preserving their cultural heritage, and a movement of returning to their roots has taken place. At the same time, modernising handicraft techniques and products and adapting them for new uses can enable unemployed young people who have followed the project workshops to earn an additional income through handicraft.

“Traditional handicrafts skills and knowledge has been recognised through the project as an important resource for rural development and future professions of young people. Two concepts were integrated: preservation of handicrafts and its development within training and education systems.” 

Tatjana Vokić Vojkovič, project manager

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Academy of Crafts” is EUR 925 431 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 758 362 through the “Slovenia-Hungary” Cross-Border Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. 

Draft date