Objects of Experts (OMAHETI)

Objects of Experts. Materializations of Expreriential Knowledge in Handcrafting Between Tradition and Innovation (OMAHETI))
Trans-Disciplinary Research, Documentation and Education Project

Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF): Thematic Focus "The Language of Objects - Material Culture in Context with Social Developments"

Running Time
04.2015 - 03.2018 + Transfer Phase

Brief Description

In the crafted object, the skills and talents of the craftsman who created it can be discerned: The object stems from ability, and the qualities of this ability will be documented, contextualized within its institution and used for the training of others in order to establish the potential for innovation. In the dynamic connection of the traditional, implicit and explicit knowledge applied to the imitation of movements and to the handling of material, it is not only traditional forms that emerge. Knowledge and ability are also the starting point for the creation of innovative objects.

The change of perspective on hand-crafting ability and implicit knowledge moves the potential for sustainability as well as for innovation into the foreground, which rests in embodies knowledge. In the space of handcraft, rooted in cultural history, expertise can be expressed. Experiential knowledge, or tacit knowledge, play a special role here. The acquisition of experiential knowledge and expertise influences the identity of people and shapes the objects they create. Expertise manifests itself not in repetition but in the continual creation of new objects: Handcraft emerges in the interplay between tradition and innovation.

Handcrafted objects and handcrafting abilities are thus an ideal field to study the dynamics of innovation culture within the current institutional arrangements in economy and society.

The intended project connects the three disciplines political economy, cultural anthropology and economic pedagogy with their different research methods. It is structured into a preliminary phase for the closer examination of the objects of expertise, a main phase, in which expertise is examines and described, and a final phase, in which the results are recorded and economic and educational conclusions are made, and preparations for a potential transferal phase are made.


  • Economic Institute for the Middle Classes and Handiwork at the University Göttingen (ifh)
  • Institute for Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology at the University Göttingen
  • Research Institute for Vocational Training in Handiwork at the University of Cologne (FBH)
  • Central Network of German Handiwork (ZDH)


Website of the Project