ARTS AND CRAFTS IN WORLD HERITAGE CITIES seeks to foster the homegrown craftsmanship of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) through the creation of a “Seal of Quality” that brings together under a shared umbrella all the indigenous craftsmanship of the cities concerned, as a means of preserving it and passing it on to future generations.
The project was conceived within the Southern Europe and Mediterranean Regional Secretariat of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) in 2012. The intention is to be able to combat and resolve a series of common problems found in the vast majority of cities that make up the Secretariat, such as the marginalization of traditional craftsmanship owing to the dominance of assembly-line – as opposed to hand-crafted – production; the widespread presence of non-indigenous and non-craft products; the proliferation of visual contamination at heritage sites; the invasion of public space by retailers’ wares; the exodus of traditional workshops from historic centres and the disappearance of business specialising in traditional craftsmanship, having been supplanted by other retailers devoted to industrial wares aimed at tourists; and the precarious state of the craft professions.
Against the backdrop of these challenges the project got off the ground in 2017 when the city of Granada took on the role of coordination and started the process of recruiting member-cities of the Secretariat interested in forming part of the scheme: Angra do Heroismo, Cidade Velha, Cordoba, Guimarães, Granada, Kotor, Mostar, Sintra, Santiago de Compostela, Úbeda, Ibiza and Évora.
Since 2020, the city of Evora take on the role of coordination working on the following actions: Collection of information on artisans, Website and brochure for the dissemination of artisans dedicated to the production of handicrafts and Booklet of good practices related to the restoration and recovery of tangible or intangible heritage
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