Handwerkswissen: Kulturerbe mit Zukunft (ECHY 2018)

"Handwerkswissen: Kulturerbe mit Zukunft" - Transdisciplinary exhibition project within the framework of the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018 SHARING HERITAGE
project coordination


Awarding Authority
The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) Thematic priority "European Cultural Heritage Year 2018" (ECHY)

08.2018 – 12.2019

Short description

Craftsmanship is an economically lived cultural heritage. Craftsmanship is mainly based on implicit knowledge. The aim of the travelling exhibition project is to make these knowledge stocks tangible. The aim is to show craftsmen, visitors and schoolchildren the innovative potential of implicit knowledge in the cultural heritage of handicrafts in a meeting room. This promotes the appreciation of handicraft heritage and its knowledge bases.

Bread, hearing aids, space ferries, thatched roofs, automobiles, houses, clocks, pots, knives, musical instruments, furniture and machines - many of the things that surround us and are part of our daily lives are either handcrafted or still of artisan origin. Craftsmanship has always played a key role in society, both culturally and economically. In the 21st century it shapes many forms of material and immaterial cultural heritage. At the same time, the precise nature of craftsmanship and forms of life is anything but static: industrial production processes have given 'hand' and 'work' an extended dynamic.

Nevertheless, in production and services, the work with the hands continues to play an important role. In craftsmanship, tacit knowledge acts productively not only in the implementation of acquired 'tradition', but also in the production of innovations and the innovative adaptation of changing materials, contexts and customer expectations. Through this change of perspective, a vital core of what makes craftsmanship relevant in a sustainable way in changing economies comes to the fore: the experiential knowledge of craftsmen, in short craftsmanship knowledge, which as an immaterial cultural heritage offers essential foundations for both economic development and social value discourses.

On the one hand, expertise explains the relevance of crafts as a cultural resource, as demonstrated by the continuing social fascination and appreciation for historical evidence of craftsmanship. At the same time, the continuing importance of the craft sector as an economic force is based on the innovative problem-solving competence of craft enterprises, which are constantly facing up to new challenges with experience-based skills and thus ensuring that traditionally shaped craft trades can be connected to the present.

In the transdisciplinary research project "Objects of the experts: Materialisation of craft experience between tradition and innovation" (OMAHETI), a team consisting of members from the subjects of cultural anthropology, economics, economic history and business education followed the connection between experience and innovation in two traditional craft areas - organ building and clay building. The project contrasts the swan song on the craft with the innovative ability of craft activities, which unfold in the interplay of implicit knowledge and flexible institutions. These findings flow into the travelling exhibition "Handwerkswissen: Cultural heritage with a future", which we are showing at "denkmal 2018" in Leipzig and in various craft galleries.

Exhibition dates

  • 08.-10.11.2018, Monument Fair, Leipzig
  • 31.01.-15.03.2019, Craftsmanship, Kassel
  • 20.-29.03.2019, Great Hall, Chamber of Crafts Braunschweig
  • 01.-13.04.2019, Zugspitze area, Munich Chamber of Crafts
  • 25.04.-20.05.2019, Foyer, Chamber of Crafts Regensburg
  • 21.05.-27.06.2019, Foyer, Chamber of Crafts Düsseldorf
  • 26.09.-10.11.2019, Old Town Hall, Einbeck
  • 11.10.-04.11.2019, Great Hall, Chamber of Crafts Lüneburg
  • 22.11.-05.12.2019, House of German Crafts (ZDH), Berlin

Project partners

  • Economic Institute for Medium-Sized Businesses and Crafts at the University of Göttingen (ifh)
  • Institute of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology at the University of Göttingen: Prof. Dr. Regina Bendix, Dr. Dorothee Hemme
  • Zentralverband des Deutschen Handwerks (ZDH): Dr. Titus Kockel