Virtual Students Conference: The Transmission of Cultural Craft Knowledge
University of Ottawa, Dr. Stephanie Mullen, PhD. 06-12-2023 Online (Canada)

Virtual Students Conference: The Transmission of Cultural Craft Knowledge

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the fourth anniversary of the Traditional Craft Project at the University of Ottawa, and the 40th placement in the Cultural Apprentice program.

We celebrate the importance of this Convention and the importance intangible cultural heritage contributes to culture. This convention recognizes the importance of the intergenerational exchange of cultural knowledge and the role formal and informal education has in its transmission. One the five domains embodied in the UNESCO definition of intangible cultural heritage, is Traditional Craftsmanship – which is what our Project has embraced.

The Traditional Craft Project has just completed its 4th year of studying the transmission of craft knowledge, reaching over 40 traditional craft placements. University students transformed into Cultural Apprentices to study the transmission of craft knowledge, learning a craft, documenting their training experiences, and reflecting on how best to pass on this knowledge to future generations, using the UNESCO convention as their guide. The five main areas that students took training in; included, wood, glass, fibre, metal or ceramics. Students would keep a diary of their experiences and reflections during the pre-training, training, and post-training periods – as well as reflect upon craft’s relationship to culture. The analysis of these diaries will take place in the Winter term of 2024, with results ready for reporting late 2024 into 2025.

Now into its fourth year with over 40 Cultural Apprentices passing through this experience, an emphasis throughout this project has been to help develop student leadership skills. These skills include, practically working with quantitative and qualitative data in the field, stakeholder engagement, research and analysis, and public policy development.

The Project mainly focuses on Canada but also touches on international traditional craft documented by UNESCO.

Text as provided by the organiser(s).