Two-week project with students from HFBK Hamburg (Germany) and the University of Thessaly, Volos (Greece)
Location: Volos, Greece
Expected time schedule: 2 weeks in April/May 2018
During two weeks in spring 2018, students from the Design for the Living World class HFBK University of Fine Arts of Hamburg with Prof. Marjetica Potrč and students from the Thessaly University, Department of Architecture (with Prof. Aristide Antonas), will team up with local craftspeople of Volos. The project Craftspeople’s Network examines interconnected local economy, with the focus on crafts and micro economies, and the relationship between the makers and the clients.
In times of austere social and economic agreements in Greece, the two-week project is aiming at promoting and reinforcing existing craftspeoples’ networks in Volos. Based on local production, the crafts workshops and their network are crucial for a dynamic city. They present a driving force of creativity which, in the long term, is fostering a resilient city, as well as a safety net for the local community. Craftspeople’s Network project builds on the From Hand to Hand artistic research and publication project about craftspeople in Greece, conducted in 2016/17. In this context, Laura Bernhardt has established contacts to craftspeople in Volos which will serve as a point of departure for the intended project.
Objective: The local network of crafts workshops forms a complex production chain that is interconnected, but working relatively independent from each other. The fabrication excels in collaboration which builds a network of trust among the producers. Such interconnectivity fosters knowledge exchange, sharing of resources and solidarity. These components play a pivotal role to come through hard times, create a social safety net and stand up to competition from the part of big-scale businesses. On the scale of a city, crafts, micro businesses and makers provide a potential to reinforce and regain economic strength in situations of a decreasing economy and encourage collaboration and solidarity. Craftspeople’s Network project gives value to the role of local crafts in the contemporary city, away from the cultural cliché which situates crafts in the past folklorist tradition.
Program: The students will take conversations with local craftspeople as a point of departure to create, together with them, objects, structures and discussions that are linked to situations or spaces where communication and exchange of the network takes place. The projects will include different craft workshops. The constructed objects and situations are mediators that reaffirm, make visible, reinforce and create new relations among the different workshops and their individuals. The final event is a roundtable discussion where local craftspeople, students and invited guests evaluate the role of crafts and micro economies in contemporary cities, taking Volos as an example.
Local craftspeople of Volos: Konstantinos Vogiatzakis with his mule and donkey saddle workshop, the tanner Alexis Kappas, Nikos Tsakas with his iron foundry, and others. In addition, some workshops can be researched on-site by the students itself.
We are currently in conversation with the craftspeople to discuss further details and planning.
The Design for the Living World class of HFBK University of Fine Arts in Hamburg is a class of participatory practice by Professor Marjetica Potrč. Since 2011, students work in long-term projects in local communities across the world, aiming to create schoolrooms for testing self-organization and solidarity.
Laura Bernhardt works in the field of art, culture and design. She initiates, conceptualizes and produces projects, exhibitions, workshops and events. The project Craftspeople’s Network builds on her recent research and publication project www.from-hand-to-hand.org (2016/17).