Crafting Futures seeks ways to revalue the knowledge and skills of crafts and tap into their potential for addressing current challenges in sustainability, innovation, inclusion, lifelong learning, and urban transformation. The project is realized in close collaboration with partners from the field. Combining critical analysis with an action-based approach, the project will prototype and develop new models for validating crafts in educational, policy-making, and economic contexts. This will result in new learning formats, classification systems, legal instruments, business models, and policy recommendations.

Crafts for the future

In European policymaking, crafts feature prominently as a resource for fostering sustainable development and quality of life in a constantly evolving society. It actively promotes cross-sectoral exchange of craft knowledge and know-how to boost processes of sustainable innovation, urban transformation, and social inclusion. At the EU level, craftership is recognized both for its heritage value and crucial aspects of cultural identity and community-building. At the same time it is considered as ,a promising branch of the creative industries and a crucial player in the transition to a more sustainable and circular economy.

Heritage for the future

Flanders has a strong historical tradition in craftmanship and the cultural heritage of crafts is highly appreciated in historic collections and architecture. More recently, crafts knowledge and skills are getting more and more attention as a living heritage to be safeguarded. Nonetheless, it remains difficult to accommodate the wider range of values linked to craft knowledge and skills in contemporary society leaving a great deal of its societal and innovative potential untapped. Sharing and learning crafts knowledge is often bound to specific communities and strongly interrelated to cultural identities. At the same time its particular, experiential and embodied language holds an enormous potential to forge new forms of cross-cultural and intergenerational learning and exchange.

Enhancing craft values and valorisation

There is a demand for high-quality craftsmanship in fashion and design, for expertise in all kinds of complex industrial and social issues. Crafting Futures aims to look deeper into the absence of adequate assessment and valorisation tools for crafts knowledge and know-how and how this is hindering their incorporation in the creative industries. It will focus in particular on transmission and validation in maker spaces and formal educational contexts that are expected to provide and transmit craft knowledge and skills for the future. Secondly, the project will focus on developing business, legal and policy instruments to enhance structural and institutional support.