Main areas of work related to the Convention:
The Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP) is the first cultural institution in Greece that is solely dedicated to the safeguarding and enhancement of traditional craftsmanship and technology. Since the national cultural policy prioritizes the safeguarding of ancient and medieval cultural heritage, contemporary craftsmanship is a neglected domain of material culture in Greece that needs to be fostered. To this end, PIOP created a management model that enables collaboration between the public and private sector, ensuring thus the undertaking and realisation of joint cultural activities.
Since its foundation, PIOP has completed more than 40 interdisciplinary research programmes, inaugurated seven thematic technological museums in the Greek regions and published more than 130 book titles. In addition, more than 30 temporary exhibitions have been presented in the Museums Network, while numerous educational activities, seminars and workshops have been organized, with the participation of the local communities. PIOP also participates in national and international scientific fora, mainly in the domain of traditional technology.
Though dedicated to the safeguarding of the tangible remnants of traditional and contemporary craftsmanship, PIOP aims strongly to valorize the intangible cultural heritage that craftsmanship relates to. Hence, special attention is drawn to the documentation of oral tradition and testimonies, social practices, nature and the environment, etc, in order to ensure that the results of research over a certain craftsmanship remain within the context that created the craftsmanship itself.
The appreciation shown in the intangible context of local craftsmanship is the key-notion of all PIOP’s public outreach activities; aiming to enhance safeguarding, based on extensive interdisciplinary research, transmitted in a non-formal way, supported by the local communities and producing cultural added value and sustainable development through the preservation of intangible heritage.
The Foundation’s activities are relatively assigned to the according departments: research and valorization, museums, historical archives, library, photographic archives, technical services, publications, administrative and accounts department. PIOP's central services employ 34 staff members, all of them highly skilled and specialized in cultural management, while a further 24 belong to the Museums Network across Greece.
The Research and Valorisation Department conducts research programmes and organizes scientific events for the inventorying, safeguarding, promotion and enhancement of traditional craftsmanship and technology. The department also organizes working meetings, addressing issues of traditional craftsmanship, aiming to record and inventory the history of basic Greek products.
The Museums Department is in charge of the creation and management of the Museums Network, as well as of the supervision of each museum-related activity, such as public outreach events, temporary exhibitions, educational programmes, museum publications, etc. To the present, the Museums Network comprises seven museums, where special effort is put in implementing innovative museological methods when exhibiting intangible heritage. The creation of the Museums has been financed by E.U. Programmes (European funding and national funds) and by the Piraeus Bank Group, and their functioning is financed by the Piraeus Bank.
PIOP publications include 130 titles, organized in the following series: - Monographs (results of the conducted research programmes), Translations (classic handbooks on industrial archaeology and the history of craftsmanship), Reprints (rare old Greek publications on the history of the Greek economy and industry), Conference Proceedings (proceedings of workshops organized by the Foundation), Cultural Guides (museums guides, etc), Industrial Heritage Records (records and plans made of domestic manufacturing units) and Periodicals (dedicated to the promoting of traditional craftsmanship and technology).
The Historical Archives Department gathers and organises the historical archival material of the Piraeus Bank Group as well as the archival material of bodies and individuals directly connected with the business activities of the banks and companies of the Group, and makes it available for research.
The PIOP Library is divided into two sections: a) the Special Library of the Historical Archives' Department. Its collection totalizes approximately 15,000 Greek and foreign titles and b) the Central Library, which has around 5,000 books and periodicals; its reserves are constantly expanded, with an emphasis on topics relating to: the history of technology, museology, folklore and material culture, ethnology and anthropology, and economic history, as well as new technologies concerning research on culture.
The Photographic Archives manage the photographic/archival material produced and used by the research programmes, museums and exhibitions, publishing activities and scientific events. It comprises a variety of media, while its thematic sections cover subjects that are in general related to Greece's traditional craftsmanship and technology: sericulture, olive cultivation, architecture, hydraulic installations, medicinal plants, tanning, basketry, metalworking are some of the subjects on which rich photographic material is available.