Project relevance

Traditional but living crafts and trades represent valuable but fragile components of the rich cultural heritage and identity of Europe which is to be preserved as a combination of skills and related infrastructure (tangible and intangible heritage), providing economic potential for the regions. The challenge is the revival of these old trades in a way that the valorisation finally contributes to their full scale protection while reintegrating them into the local economy as a living and viable economic activity. Old crafts and trades in their traditional form have either completely died out or if kept are often displayed in a rather conservative and static way. Mainly elderly people or large soulless companies are the practitioners leading to the potential loss of accumulated old knowledge. The decaying heritage fails to contribute to the cohesion of local communities, local attractiveness, therefore to regional economic prosperity.  

Recently, a promising trend of rediscovering old crafts and products can be observed due to a growing demand for the traditional, local values as a counter reaction to mass culture and products. At the same time, new type of demand arose by the young generations substantially influenced by the information age and globalization. These trends point to the need for integrating creative thinking and innovative ideas in valorising traditional cultural contents. Following from the above, shared challenges of partner regions are generally rooted in a lack of funding and investment due to low business potential, insufficient management and innovative preservation skills and a lack of coordination competences on the varied territorial levels. Specifically, partners found the lack of youth involvement the most pressing issue. Valorisation of old crafts and trades call for innovative young practitioners carrying on with craftsmanship as well as for involving the creativity of the youth at various stages of the CH utilization.