Bisalhães black pottery manufacturing process

    

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Inscribed in 2016 (11.COM) on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

© 2015, by Paulo Araújo

Bisalhães in Portugal is known as ‘the land of pot and pan producers’ or more specifically, where black pottery is made. Designed for decorative and cooking purposes, the traditional practice that features on the village’s coat of arms has been an important part of the community’s identity, with old methods still used today to create pieces resembling those of the past. Several steps are involved in making black pottery. First, the clay is crushed with a wooden hammer in a stone tank before it is sifted, water added to it, then kneaded, formed, defined using various laths, smoothened by pebbles, decorated using a stick and finally fired in a kiln. The division of work has evolved over time with the labour-intensive clay preparation now assigned to men, while women still mainly decorate the pots. Furthermore, clay used in the process is now sourced from local tile factories instead of being extracted from pits. Transmitted almost exclusively through kinship ties, the future of the practice appears in jeopardy due to a diminishing number of bearers, waning interest from younger generations to continue the tradition and popular demand for industrially-made alternatives.

Periodic reporting

Name of State Party

Portugal

2008-05-21

Name of element

Bisalhães black pottery manufacturing process

Inscribed in

2016

Submitting State(s)

Portugal

2016 - 2020

Manufacture of cowbells (2015)

The Bisalhães black pottery manufacturing process is at a very delicate stage. In fact, in spite of the positive impact of the inscription at the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, the most important problem identified was devastating: in the last years the wife of a potter died – D. Adorinda Martins Sigre – as well as the potter Sezisnando Ramalho, this November. Beside, Potters Manuel Martins and Cesário Martins, have serious health problems and almost stopped working – their production decreased substantially. One of the women (Maria de Fátima da Cunha Macário) that participated actively in the manufacturing process, accompanying the potter Jorge Ramalho, left the village.
On the positive side, lots of activities included in the safeguarding plan were accomplished. An application to European Union funding was approved, and it will allow to implement the most part of the safeguarding plan measures – and others – in the next years.
The inscription at the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding had a huge impact on the visibility of this artwork and its practitioners. Social media granted good coverage of the tradition and its bearers, and the village was visited by national politic personalities, during national events that took place in Vila Real or nearby. On the negative side, some confusion was made (even among the potters) regarding the funding of the activities preconized in the safeguarding plan. Some people thought that the inscription at the UNESCO list granted some kind of funds to the City Council, therefore misunderstanding its role as main funder of the plan itself.
Finally, it must be highlighted that the two younger potters maintain their activity, as well as the growing interest shown by the community (even if sometimes not understanding the Municipality work and intentions), and the surging of other young designers/practitioners interested in knowing and developing the Bisalhães black pottery tradition.
The implementation of safeguarding measures during the reporting period wasn’t as easy as one could think. The international economic crisis, and its local consequences, forced the City Council to review its priorities, mostly due to the social impact in the community. Nevertheless, The City Council made an effort to find financial EU aid, and successfully applied to a Program for EU funding, that was meant to be implemented this year. But the Covid-19 pandemic forced the suspension of most of the planned activities, that are supposed to take place in the near future.

Title (Ms/Mr, etc.)

Mrs.

Family name

Almeida

Given name

Eugénia Margarida Coutinho da Silva

Institution/position

City Councilor for Culture, Vila Real City Council

Address

Avenida Carvalho Araújo
5000-657 Vila Real

Telephone number

(+351) 259 308 100

E-mail address

eugeniaalmeida@cm-vilareal.pt

Other relevant information

The technician responsible for submitting this report is Mrs. Gina Telmo, Director of the Municipal Museums of Vila Real City Council.

E-mail address - ginatelmo@cm-vilareal.pt

Being a potter became a more respected job in Bisalhães and in Vila Real. The potters themselves feel recognized by their community and by the more and more visitors that come to Vila Real, and they are proud identifying themselves as artisans. The biggest problem is the age of most of the potters. Four of them have 80 or more years, and the younger ones are in the forties and fifties. The practice continues to be seen not as a job, but as a hobby, or as a complement to their monthly wages or retirement funds. The personal relationship remains difficult with some of the potters (and between them as well). The women’s roll in the manufacturing process maintains its importance, currently less focused on the hardest part of the clay transformation, and more at the decoration and the kiln preparation.
The intergenerational transmission of know-how, as in many other pottery centres in Portugal, is customarily accomplished almost exclusively within each family. Kinship relations are also important along all the operational chain, which involves collaboration with other members of the potter's family, usually following a division of tasks by gender and generation. However, this gender/age-based division of labour has gradually become blurred, and men now execute tasks that were traditionally performed by women and children, such as the hard work of clay preparation.

The manufacturing process still active in Bisalhães. Querubim Rocha continues to work in his office in Bisalhães, and the same does “the sculptor” Albano Carvalho. Querubim even cleaned up his office, once he felt the crescent look for the potters and their pottery in the village itself. Jorge Ramalho continues to work in a regular basis, and increased his production. The younger potter, Miguel Fontes, also increased his production, as well as his pedagogical performance, in a partnership with the City Council. However, the potter Sezisnando Ramalho passed away, as well as D. Adorinda Sigre, wife of Cesário Martins. He almost stopped working, as his brother Manuel Martins did, since both have serious health problems – their productions substantially decreased.
Some of the younger generations in the potters’ families start to show some interest in learning their relatives’ skills and know-how.
As threats, we can identify the difficulty that the potters from Bisalhães have in accepting new practitioners that don’t come from the village or their families. Even if they organize some workshops (as Jorge Ramalho does), the tradition is kept inside the village. The modernization of some of the processes isn’t well seen by the potters. The electrification of the potters’ wheel isn’t a practice, and the transformation of the clay continues a hard work that some mechanization could ease, but it’s seen as contrary to the ancestral practice and to the inscription in the UNESCO List.
The access to the clay itself is more difficult, nowadays, as the tile factories where the potters went to get it are now closed.
The potters are also afraid of the growing of objects that can be mistaken as Bisalhães pottery, and they don’t usually like to produce new design pieces, if they don’t create them themselves.

The safeguarding plan proposed aimed essentially at preventing the disappearance of the knowledge associated with the manufacture of Bisalhães black pottery.
Raising-awareness among younger generations regarding this tradition was also a main objective, as well as creating conditions to improve the economic sustainability of this traditional craft.
Another key objective involves the improvement of the working conditions for the existing potters.
The safeguarding plan is also aimed at strengthening the profitability of this craft, in particular by enhancing awareness of Bisalhães black pottery, regionally, nationally and internationally.
The last four years have been very important for Bisalhães black pottery. Even if some of the activities didn’t took place, there was an investment in the divulgation of the potters and of the pottery. On the other side, Bisalhães black pottery was the theme of many urban art interventions, as well as the subject for studies, academic works and several scientific publications and communications in heritage and handcraft events. Radio and TV shows took place, inviting regional, national and international public to know and visit Vila Real and Bisalhães. The pottery was also included in important tourism routes, such as the National Road N 2, and visits to Bisalhães almost triplicated. The potters’ sale and working points suffered interventions, i.e. new painting and pre-installation of electricity.
After the inscription, and thanks to the new visibility of the element, the demand or pottery increased, the local restaurants invested in presentation with Bisalhães pottery and the majority of regional institutions started to choose Bisalhães pottery trophies, to offer in their activities, following the example of the Vila Real City Council.

The implementation of the safeguarding plan didn’t occur quite as planned initially. In the beginning of 2018 the technician responsible for the Inscription file (and the safeguarding plan) left the City Hall, and the transition to the actual person took some time. The international economic crisis, and its local consequences, forced the City Council to review its priorities, mostly due to the social impact in the community.
Nevertheless, the City Council made an effort to find financial EU aid, and successfully applied to a Program, that was meant to be implemented this year. But the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to stop most of the planned activities that are supposed to take place in 2021 and 2022.
Key activities:
Requalification of the potters’ sale and working places in Vila Real. It was a request of the potters, but after the intervention none of them finished the required installation of the electric panel.
Support to the potters’ participation at “Feira dos Pucarinhos”, building the individual stands and creating information supports. Unfortunately, only two of the potters participate actively, Miguel Fontes and Albano Machado. Trying to diversify the animation and attract different publics, the City Council created the concept “Black Night”, an event that proposes gatherings, dinner and amusement with the focus on the black pottery. The Covid-19 pandemic prevented its concretization, this year.
The Vila Real Museums maintained their prolific activity concerning the Bisalhães pottery, with dozens of workshops (“small potters”) realized, at the Museums or at schools of all the Municipality.
The Municipal Theatre, in partnership with the Bragança Theatre, created an original show, “Clay – wet soil where the boot slips”, with the participation of the community of Vila Real.
The Bisalhães pottery is highlighted in all the National and International Cultural and Tourism Fairs where the City Council participates, such as BTL (Lisbon) and Xantar (Ourense, Spain).
First Edition of the National Encounter on Bisalhães Black Pottery, in the Vila Real Theatre, with the participation of all the community, including some of the potters, that were included in a discussion panel.
In association with the CTT (National Post Office), a series of stamps was created, allusive to the Bisalhães black pottery.
Since 2016, every edition of the “Pitoresco – Street Art and Graffiti Festival” had interventions allusive to Black pottery: a big mural, representing one of the potters; several workshops with young kids, painting previously bought pottery; electrical boxes in public spaces, crossing black pottery with famous artworks (Magritte, for example); exhibitions in different spaces along the city; postcards and photography publication.
Tribute to the Bisalhães potters in a new roundabout in Vila Real, with the creation of a big sculpture representing a traditional jug. Almost all of the potters were there for the opening event.
Bisalhães black pottery was the theme to several communications in national events, in Oporto, Guimarães, Tomar, Vila Real, Macedo de Cavaleiros and Santo Tirso, some of them with the participation of Miguel Fontes, Bisalhães’ potter, with demonstration of his work and report on his knowledge and activity.
Presence in national and international media, in more than 40 TV shows, radio programs and publications (egg. “MorningCalm”, from South Corean Flight Company, or “Know-how of Bisalhães potters is ICH”, Encounter resumes, ed. NEGEP/UNIRIO/CITCEM; Rio de Janeiro).

Almost all of the activities were implemented by the Vila Real City Council. The municipal cultural and technical departments had a major leading part, such as the Vila Velha Museum, the Archaeologic and Numismatic Museum, the Public Library, the Municipal Literary Guild and the Municipal Theatre. More than 50 technics were involved in all the processes.
The Local Parishes of Vila Real and Mondrões (that involves Bisalhães village) were also an active part in the implementation of some of the activities.
Cultural local organizations, such as “Covilhete Brotherhood” (“covilhete” is a veal pie, typical from Vila Real, that was originally made in a Bisalhães small pan, called “covilhete”), are City Council’s partners in promoting black pottery and its traditional uses, mostly in culinary.
National Companies, as EDP – Portuguese Energy Company or CTT – Portuguese Post Office participated in the implementation of two important measures, the requalification of the potters’ sale and work points and the national and international divulgation of Bisalhães pottery through stamps.
The organizers of cultural events and the regional and national Artists, by being sensible to the theme and integrating it in their works, for example in the “Pitoresco” Murals, in exhibitions at the Museums and in photography.
Finally, but the most important, the potters and their families, by transmitting their knowledge to their youngers and by participating in Encounters, TV shows and Workshops.

2016-2020 - Requalification of the potters’ sale and working places in Vila Real.
2016-2019 – Support to the potters’ participation at “Feira dos Pucarinhos”. In 2020, because of the pandemic state, it took place in the Archaeologic Museum.
2017-2019 – “Black Night”, an event that proposes gatherings, dinner and amusement with the focus on the black pottery. The Covid-19 pandemic prevented its concretization, tin 2020.
2016-2020 – The Vila Real Museums maintained their prolific activity concerning the Bisalhães pottery, with dozens of workshops (“small potters”) realized, at the Museums or at schools of all the Municipality.
2017 – Original show, “Clay – wet soil where the boot slips”, with the participation of the community of Vila Real.
2016-2020 – The Bisalhães pottery is highlighted in all the National and International Cultural and Tourism Fairs where the City Council participates, such as BTL (Lisbon) and Xantar (Ourense, Spain).
2018.11.29 – First Edition of the National Encounter on Bisalhães Black Pottery, in the Vila Real Theatre.
2018 – In association with the CTT (National Post Office), a series of stamps was created, allusive to the Bisalhães black pottery.
2016-2020 – Every edition of the “Pitoresco – Street Art and Graffiti Festival” had interventions allusive to Black pottery.
2015.05.01 – Tribute to the Bisalhães potters in a new roundabout in Vila Real, followed by the registration in the National Inventory and the announcement of the application to UNESCO.
2017-2019 – Bisalhães black pottery was the theme to several communications in national events.
2016-2020 – Presence in national and international media, in more than 40 TV shows, radio programs and publications.
2016-2020 – Publications, promotional flyers from Bisalhães black pottery.
2019 – Exhibition “Caruma - A look at Bisalhães”, organized by the Vila Velha Museum, under the supervision of Vila Real City Council.
2017-2020 – Acquisition of black pottery by the Vila Real City Council for its collection and for institutional offers.
2016-2017 – Bridge construction between Almodena and Vila Marim, one of the main routes to reach Bisalhães and Mondrões.
2016-2020 – Support the “Covilhete Brotherhood”.
2020 - Bituminous paving of Bisalhães main street (work already assigned, to be done in early 2021).

2016-2020 - Requalification of the potters’ sale and working places in Vila Real. 7096,35€
2016-2019 – Support to the potters’ participation at “Feira dos Pucarinhos”. In 2020, because of the pandemic state, it took place in the Archaeologic Museum.1500€
2017-2019 – “Black Night”, an event that proposes gatherings, dinner and amusement with the focus on the black pottery. The Covid-19 pandemic prevented its concretization, tin 2020. 41.772,5€
2016-2020 – The Vila Real Museums maintained their prolific activity concerning the Bisalhães pottery, with dozens of workshops (“small potters”) realized, at the Museums or at schools of all the Municipality.1730€
2017 – Original show, “Clay – wet soil where the boot slips”, with the participation of the community of Vila Real. 6.860,81€
2016-2020 – The Bisalhães pottery is highlighted in all the National and International Cultural and Tourism Fairs where the City Council participates, such as BTL (Lisbon) and Xantar (Ourense, Spain).4500€
2018.11.29 – First Edition of the National Encounter on Bisalhães Black Pottery, in the Vila Real Theatre. 2035,11€
2018 – In association with the CTT (National Post Office), a series of stamps was created, allusive to the Bisalhães black pottery. 50€
2016-2020 – every edition of the “Pitoresco – Street Art and Graffiti Festival” had interventions allusive to Black pottery. 2500€
2015.05.01 – Tribute to the Bisalhães potters in a new roundabout in Vila Real, followed by the registration in the National Inventory and the announcement of the application to UNESCO. 19.464,85€
2017-2019 – Bisalhães black pottery was the theme to several communications in national events. 500€
2016-2020 – Presence in national and international media, in more than 40 TV shows, radio programs and publications.1889€
2016-2020 – Publications, promotional flyers from Bisalhães black pottery. 2975€
2019 – Exhibition “Caruma - A look at Bisalhães”, organized by the Vila Velha Museum, under the supervision of Vila Real City Council. 2794€
2017-2020 – Acquisition of black pottery by the Vila Real City Council for its collection and for institutional offers. 8.867,18€
2016-2017 – Bridge construction between Almodena and Vila Marim, one of the main routes to reach Bisalhães and Mondrões. 155 000€
2016-2020 – Support the “Covilhete Brotherhood”. 2500€
2020 - Bituminous paving of Bisalhães main street (work already assigned, to be done in early 2021). 45 824,28€.

The last four years have been very important for Bisalhães black pottery. Even if some of the activities considered in the safeguarding plan didn’t took place, there was an investment in the divulgation of the potters and of the pottery. On the other side, Bisalhães black pottery was the theme to a big number of urban art interventions, as well as subject for studies, academic works and several scientific publications and communications in heritage and handcraft events. Radio and TV shows took place, inviting regional, national and international public to know and visit Vila Real and Bisalhães. The pottery was also included in important tourism routes, such as the National Road N 2, and visits to Bisalhães almost triplicated. The potters’ sale and working points suffered interventions, i.e. new painting and pre-installation of electricity – though the potters didn’t yet terminated the process.
After the inscription, and thanks to the new visibility of the element, the demand of pottery increased, the local restaurants invested in presentation with Bisalhães pottery and the majority of regional institutions started to choose Bisalhães pottery trophies, to offer in their activities, following the example of the City Council.
The safeguarding plan preconized activities in four main areas: Support to practitioners, Training and Education, Economic value and Heritage and Scientific Enhancement. In the first area, the measures weren’t quite effective, as already shown. As for Training and Education: the firs contacts with the Institutions identified was very positive, but the world economic and social context didn’t help to the implementation of the activities proposed, such as the professional training courses for new craftsmen or the inclusion of Bisalhães black pottery in the arts and crafts promotion programmes currently in place. We hope that it can occur in the following years.
Nevertheless, the dissemination and public awareness-raising in the community, particularly among the younger generations in Bisalhães and Vila Real, and the organisation and implementation of training courses and educational activities related to black pottery in municipal museums was a success.
As to the economic value, some of the activities will be implemented in 2021 and 2020, mainly the ones that comprehend physical intervention in Bisalhães and in Vila Real. The Certification of Bisalhães black pottery under the "Arts and Crafts Promotion Programme" and to be used in cooking, must go on in the near future.
Some of the Heritage and Scientific Enhancement area activities took place but were penalized by the economic crisis and by the pandemic state.

The Vila Real City Council maintains the primary objectives that were established four years ago:
-Preventing the disappearance of the knowledge associated with the manufacture of Bisalhães black pottery;
-Raising-awareness among younger generations regarding this tradition;
-Creating conditions to improve the economic sustainability of this traditional craft;
-Improvement of the working conditions for the existing potters;
-Strengthening the profitability of this craft.
In order to do so, we will execute the Program that was presented and validated to EU financial funding, in a total of approximately 143.000€. Other activities, that are considered important but are not included in that Program, are supposed to encumber the City Council Budget in circa 100.000€.
Key activities:
a) Support to potters in obtaining and transporting the clay from its origin to their workplace;
b) Maintenance of the support given to potters' travel and participation in "Feira dos Pucarinhos" and in other fairs and exhibitions;
c) Professional Training Courses for new craftsmen to be implemented with the collaboration of current practitioners and in partnership with local entities, such as NERVIR (the Vila Real Regional Business Association) and UTAD (University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro);
d) Establishment of a protocol with IEFP - Institute of Employment and Vocational Training to include Bisalhães black pottery in the arts and crafts promotion programmes;
e) Dissemination and public awareness-raising in the community, particularly among the younger generations in Bisalhães and Vila Real;
f) Organisation and implementation of training courses and educational activities related to black pottery in municipal museums;
g) Organisation of activities for children in the city's cultural facilities;
h) Publication and re-printing of editions for young people about Bisalhães black pottery and its associated traditions;
i) Improvement and redesigning of the existing visiting itinerary in the village of Bisalhães, to include all potters’ working places, kilns and shops;
j) Revision of the signage related to the structures in the village of Bisalhães associated with the manufacture of black earthenware;
k) Renovation of the existing signage in the city of Vila Real to better direct visitors to potters’ working shops/stalls and indicate the way to the village of Bisalhães;
l) Certification of Bisalhães black pottery under the "Arts and Crafts Promotion Programme";
m) Certification of Bisalhães black pottery to be used in cooking;
n) Strengthening the promotion of Bisalhães black pottery in Vila Real Tourism Office, by enhancing the information available;
o) Undertaking new temporary and touring exhibitions, and pursuing a plan to publish information about them;
p) Edition and reedition of cultural, ethnographic and tourism publications related to Bisalhães black pottery, aimed at different age levels, with a particular focus on young people and children;
q) Creation of a video and exhibition concerning specifically women’s work and its importance in the manufacturing process;
r) Redesign, update and translation into different languages the existing website about Bisalhães black pottery (http://www.nervir.pt/bisalhaes/) to include updated information about potters and their work and reinforce the site's scientific content, in collaboration with the NERVIR Business Association.

a) Support to potters in obtaining and transporting the clay from its origin to their workplace – 2021-2024;
b) Maintenance of the support given to potters' travel and participation in "Feira dos Pucarinhos" and in other fairs and exhibitions – 2021-2024;
c) Professional Training Courses for new craftsmen to be implemented with the collaboration of current practitioners and in partnership with local entities, such as NERVIR (the Vila Real Regional Business Association) and UTAD (University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro) – 2023;
d) Establishment of a protocol with IEFP - Institute of Employment and Vocational Training to include Bisalhães black pottery in the arts and crafts promotion programmes – 2023;
e) Dissemination and public awareness-raising in the community, particularly among the younger generations in Bisalhães and Vila Real – 2021-2024;
f) Organisation and implementation of training courses and educational activities related to black pottery in municipal museums – 2021-2024;
g) Organisation of activities for children in the city's cultural facilities – 2021-2024;
h) Publication and re-printing of editions for young people about Bisalhães black pottery and its associated traditions – 2021-2022;
i) Improvement and redesigning of the existing visiting itinerary in the village of Bisalhães, to include all potters’ working places, kilns and shops – 2021;
j) Revision of the signage related to the structures in the village of Bisalhães associated with the manufacture of black earthenware – 2021-2024;
k) Renovation of the existing signage in the city of Vila Real to better direct visitors to potters’ working shops/stalls and indicate the way to the village of Bisalhães – 2021;
l) Certification of Bisalhães black pottery under the "Arts and Crafts Promotion Programme" – 2021;
m) Certification of Bisalhães black pottery to be used in cooking – 2021;
n) Strengthening the promotion of Bisalhães black pottery in Vila Real Tourism Office, by enhancing the information available – 2021-2024;
o) Undertaking new temporary and touring exhibitions, and pursuing a plan to publish information about them – 2021-2022;
p) Edition and reedition of cultural, ethnographic and tourism publications related to Bisalhães black pottery, aimed at different age levels, with a particular focus on young people and children – 2021-2024;
q) Creation of a video and exhibition concerning specifically women’s work and its importance in the manufacturing process – 2021;
r) Redesign, update and translation into different languages the existing website about Bisalhães black pottery (http://www.nervir.pt/bisalhaes/) to include updated information about potters and their work and reinforce the site's scientific content, in collaboration with the NERVIR Business Association – 2021-2024.

In order to implement the present safeguarding plan, the City Council will execute the Program that was presented and validated to EU financial funding, in a total of approximately 143.000€ (EUF). Other activities, that are considered important but are not included in that Program, are supposed to encumber the City Council Budget in circa 100.000€ (VRB). The funds EUF and VRB will be distributed according to the following activities:
a) Support to potters in obtaining and transporting the clay from its origin to their workplace – Vila Real City Council Activity Plan and Budget (VRB)
b) Maintenance of the support given to potters' travel and participation in "Feira dos Pucarinhos" and in other fairs and exhibitions – (VRB)
c) Professional Training Courses for new craftsmen to be implemented with the collaboration of current practitioners and in partnership with local entities, such as NERVIR (the Vila Real Regional Business Association) and UTAD (University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro) – included in the Program presented to EU financial funding (EUF)
d) Establishment of a protocol with IEFP - Institute of Employment and Vocational Training to include Bisalhães black pottery in the arts and crafts promotion programmes – (EUF)
e) Dissemination and public awareness-raising in the community, particularly among the younger generations in Bisalhães and Vila Real – (EUF)
f) Organisation and implementation of training courses and educational activities related to black pottery in municipal museums – (EUF)
g) Organisation of activities for children in the city's cultural facilities – (EUF)
h) Publication and re-printing of editions for young people about Bisalhães black pottery and its associated traditions – (EUF)
i) Improvement and redesigning of the existing visiting itinerary in the village of Bisalhães, to include all potters’ working places, kilns and shops – (EUF)
j) Revision of the signage related to the structures in the village of Bisalhães associated with the manufacture of black earthenware – (EUF)
k) Renovation of the existing signage in the city of Vila Real to better direct visitors to potters’ working shops/stalls and indicate the way to the village of Bisalhães – (EUF)
l) Certification of Bisalhães black pottery under the "Arts and Crafts Promotion Programme" – (EUF)
m) Certification of Bisalhães black pottery to be used in cooking – (EUF)
n) Strengthening the promotion of Bisalhães black pottery in Vila Real Tourism Office, by enhancing the information available – (VRB)
o) Undertaking new temporary and touring exhibitions, and pursuing a plan to publish information about them – (EUF)
p) Edition and reedition of cultural, ethnographic and tourism publications related to Bisalhães black pottery, aimed at different age levels, with a particular focus on young people and children – (EUF)
q) Creation of a video and exhibition concerning specifically women’s work and its importance in the manufacturing process–(EUF)
r) Redesign, update and translation into different languages the existing website about Bisalhães black pottery (http://www.nervir.pt/bisalhaes/) to include updated information about potters and their work and reinforce the site's scientific content, in collaboration with the NERVIR Business Association–(VRB)

As a result of the concern expressed by the potters and several local institutions about the possible disappearance of this traditional sort of pottery, Vila Real City Council considered that Bisalhães Black Pottery Manufacturing Process would be best safeguarded if recognized both nationally and internationally. Accordingly, it maintained contacts with practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to participate in the implementation of the current safeguarding plan.
Vila Real City Council has also promoted the development of partnerships with several local and regional entities that have made efforts in recent years to preserve Bisalhães pottery. Mondrões and Vila Real Parish Councils, for example, will play active roles in the implementation of several activities among the community and their territory.
NERVIR Association will also be actively involved, thus contributing to the redefinition of the initiatives to be implemented, such as the organisation of new training courses. It has also agreed to reedit existing publications on black pottery, and will redesign Bisalhães pottery website created in 2000.
The University UTAD will become a key partner in safeguarding the tradition. In addition to seeking greater proximity between the potters' activity and the scientific community in the fields of heritage and anthropology, the common goal is to promote further research and the development of projects in several of the courses taught at universities.

Safeguarding the Bisalhães black pottery manufacturing process is mainly responsibility of the potters themselves. Although they don’t have an association that represent them, the Vila Real City Council is making an effort on documenting all de process stages, and on creating links between the local community and the craftsmen. The Vila Real City Council tries to connect all the interested parties mainly through the Culture City Council, and technically through the Municipal Museums team, especially its director, Dr. Gina Telmo.

For the execution of this report, we took into account the actions/opinions of the various entities that during these four years had a proactive role in the promotion, tourism development and safeguarding of Bisalhães black pottery, because only in this way, it was possible to compile such a high number of activities carried out: various services in Vila Real City Council (Museums, Cultural Services, Infrastructure Division, Municipal Theater, Municipal Library, Literary Guild, Tourism, Education), Mondrões and Vila Real Parish Council, NERVIR, Schools in the Municipality of Vila Real, Turismo de Portugal.
We also took into account the various independent studies and thesies carried out on this theme, which point out strategies so that this ancestral art is not lost and, on the contrary, that it is reinvented and perpetuated over time.
The community of Vila Real and, in particular, Bisalhães (with natural collaboration and commitment of potters and their families), was also considered in terms of their future expectations, desires, apprehensions and dynamics that they intend for their art.

Name

Rui Jorge Cordeiro Gonçalves dos Santos

Title

The Honourable Mayor of Vila Real

Date

11-12-2020

Signature

Rui Jorge Cordeiro Gonçalves dos Santos
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