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West Dean College Supports Red List For Endangered Crafts in UK

HERITAGE crafts such as making clogs, pianos and blocks for millinery are still produced in Britain – but only just. Recent research by The Heritage Craft Association (HCA) reveals that many of Britain’s traditional craft skills are in decline and in some cases, no longer practised.  The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts is the title of the new project launched by HCA, supported by the Radcliffe Trust, which endeavours to oversee the viability of heritage craft skills on a regular basis. Their research reveals that the emergence of new technologies and an ageing workforce affect the viability of some craft practices but a lack of affordable workshops, training courses and business skills compromise others.

Heritage Craft Association, West Dean College, heritage crafts, Red ListWest Dean College student, Stacey Hibberd. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

At present, Britain is one of the few countries that have chosen not to back UNESCO’s convention regarding the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage which supports craft skills. Greta Bertram, who led the research, has highlighted the need this month for increased government funding said, “For too long we have been bounced between heritage – which means historic buildings and museums – and arts – things that you can put on a shelf and admire.”

Heritage Craft Association, West Dean College, heritage crafts, Red ListWest Dean College student, Francesca Levey. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

West Dean College in Chichester, who support the new Red List proposals have launched a brand new foundation degree in Historic Craft Practice which teaches metalwork, furniture, musical instrument-making and horology. The horology course includes a project for making an 18th century clock.

Heritage Craft Association, West Dean College, heritage crafts, Red ListWest Dean College student, Fons Vogel. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison

Apart from teaching crafts practice and tool-making, the course also endeavours to equip students with valuable business skills. Francine Norris, the Director for Education at West Dean College which specialises in conservation and creative arts education and is validated by the University of Sussex, said, “We hope the List will raise awareness of our rich craft heritage and encourage people to consider learning traditional skills many of which are still relevant today.”

by Miranda Charalambous

Front page image: West Dean College horology student. Photograph courtesy of Christopher Ison





TBA21 – The Current Year of the Oceans Project Starts

IN A new initiative launched by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, artists and scientists convene to tackle the plight of the world’s oceans. Coastal and marine environments provide a vital source of food and energy but overfishing, rising mercury levels and unregulated activities such as shark-finning have led to their decline. The project, TBA21 Year of the Oceans aims to raise public awareness about these dangers through a series of events which will continue throughout the coming year.

The programme begins next week with the second phase of The Covening, an ongoing project of workshops, film screenings and performances which will coincide with the opening of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, an international exhibition of contemporary art.  Further events include a two week expedition for artists, curators and scientists aboard TBA21’s research vessel, the Dardanella and an exhibition, Tidalectics which highlights our close affinity with the sea and its rich history.

TBA21, art, science, conservation, curationFrancesca von Habsburg (centre). Photograph: Courtesy of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Francesca von Habsburg, a collector and keen scuba diver founded TBA21 in 2002 and is well known for her unconventional approach to curation and highly original projects which work outside traditional institutional practice. The only arts organisation to gain accreditation from the International Seabed Authority, TBA21 has supported projects for social and environmental causes in Fiji, Iceland, the Galapagos Islands, the South Pacific and the Caribbean Sea.  The academy’s collaboration with National Geographic explorer, David Gruber led to the discovery of the Hawksbill Turtle, the first glow in the dark marine reptile to be found by scientists.

TBA21, art, science, conservation, curationHawksbill Turtle Night Dive. Photograph: Markus Reymann. Courtesy of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

In 2014 an extraordinary project took place in the shark-infested waters near Costa Rica. Habsburg sailed out with a team of scientists to the Cocos Islands where a treasure chest containing artwork by Maria Abramovich was buried out to sea. The co-ordinates of the secret location were engraved on a state of the art steel cylinder designed by Dutch artist, Constant Dulaart and placed within a replica of the chest. The replica was later sold at auction and the proceeds were used to fund a new research and shark conservation project.

TBA21, art, science, conservation, curationTuamotus, French Polynesia, South Pacific. Photograph: Rodolphe Holler.
Courtesy of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

by Miranda Charalambous

The programme of events for TBA21 Year of the Oceans is available from Thyssen-Bornemisza
Art Contemporary, Köstlergasse 1, 1060 Vienna, Austria
Tel:  +43 1 513 98 56-0

Front page image: Courtesy of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary