Platform for Contemporary Crafts & Design
February 2023 – October 2025
Made in Platform for Contemporary Crafts & Design is a research, design, and heritage initiative encouraging collaboration and knowledge exchange between traditional craftspeople and contemporary designers, as well as other experts in the fields of culture and science. The platform addresses issues central to preservation and explores new articulations of embodied knowledge found in the rich legacy of European craftsmanship. Similarly, it examines possible avenues of diversification and repurposing by way of mutual learning and by imagining new approaches to thinking through contemporary art and design practices.
The aim is to highlight new material research approaches and other design processes related to topics like the degradation of natural resources, extraction, and models of sustainable production.
The Made in Platform emerged out of a heightened awareness of the crucial role that crafts play in creating and sustaining local identity. Furthermore, crafts have the potential to play a unique role in the transition to sustainable, innovative, circular production models that rely primarily on local resources and skills. Alongside encouraging the re-use/repair of existing products, craft promotes slower, more responsible consumption, and creates a value system that transcends the omnipresent logic of global mass production.
The Made in Platform reflects the increasing number of projects by a new generation of designers and environmentalists that are turning their attention to diverse cultures of making in order to create sustainable production processes and circular material cycles based on an inclusive relationship with the natural environment. Taking a place-based processual approach, invited artists, designers, and craftspeople will work on specific localities and reflect on particular micro-contexts in terms of the exploitation of materials and its regenerative potentials, with a particular focus on soil, plants, and the sea. In so doing, the project will move beyond a human-centred perspective towards a life-centred one, infused with science and nature.
The Made in Platform is structured as a series of activities designed to complement and build on one another in order to show the relevance of crafts, as a connector between ecology and culture, in contemporary society. The activities will promote the importance of contemporary design and art practices, innovative technologies, and transdisciplinary thinking in overcoming the perception of crafts as non-inventive and obsolete, instead integrating them into the core of the ecological debate.
The activities consist of:
– creating a publicly available database of crafts and craftspeople, transdisciplinary expertise, and natural resources related to crafts and design;
– knowledge transfer and collaborations in the form of residencies, workshops, training courses, and a summer school;
– educational and discourse programmes in the form of conferences, seminars, and stakeholders’ events;
– dissemination of the project outcomes through a publication, a series of exhibitions, and a website – www.madein-platform.com
Made in Platform for Contemporary Crafts & Design represents the direct continuation of an earlier project MADE IN: Crafts–Design Narratives, which ran from 2018 to 2021 with co-funding from CREA and which brought together six partners from four countries: Museum of Arts and Crafts, and Oaza, both Croatia; Museum of Architecture and Design, Slovenia; Nova Iskra and Mikser, both Serbia; and Werkraum Bregenzerwald, Austria. This earlier, small-scale project was a pioneer in mapping the craftspeople in the region and facilitating knowledge exchange between them and designers. The results of the project raised relevant questions about the evolution of crafts and design, and the challenges confronting the two fields today.
Made in Platform for Contemporary Crafts & Design builds on the outcomes of the original project to extend its reach, both geographically and in terms of its goals and mission. The project now involves 10 partners from 6 countries to form a consortium with a broad range of expertise: Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO), Ljubljana, Slovenia (coordinator); Center Rog Ljubljana, Slovenia; Zenica City Museum (MGZ), Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Drugo More, Rijeka, Croatia; State Art Collections Dresden, Museum of Decorative Arts (SKD), Dresden, Germany; Museum of Arts and Crafts (MUO), Zagreb, Croatia; Oaza, Zagreb, Croatia; Nova Iskra Creative Hub (Nova Iskra), Belgrade, Serbia; Passa Ao Futuro (PAF), Lisbon, Portugal; and the University of Applied Sciences Zwickau (WHZ), Schneeberg, Germany. Partners are of various sizes and include museums, production centres, educational institutions, and non-governmental organisations.
The platform will include more than 1000 craftspeople, designers, researchers, cultural and scientific professionals, and members of wider audiences, all of whom will participate in various project activities.
MEET THE PARTNERS
Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO), Ljubljana, Slovenia
MAO maintains and promotes the most comprehensive collection of Slovenian architectural and design heritage anywhere. It brings together curators, editors, and producers who take great care in collecting national heritage and designing contemporary programmes. MAO is a national and international centre and hub for the transfer of knowledge in the fields of heritage and creativity, featuring innovative programme formats dedicated to the preservation of heritage and supporting emerging creatives.
Oaza, Zagreb, Croatia
Oaza is a Zagreb-based arts organisation co-founded in 2014 by six artists/designers. It works on research-based art and design projects, largely in the independent cultural sector and with a particular focus on self-initiated projects. Its wide-ranging activities include curating; social, strategic, and conceptual design; publishing; and informal design education. Oaza came up with the original idea for the Made In project on the basis of a local crafts research project Old School Ilica.
Museum of Arts and Crafts (MUO), Zagreb, Croatia
The Museum of Arts and Crafts (MUO) is Croatia’s leading institution in the field of fine and applied arts. Its collection contains more than 100,000 items focusing on local mastery in arts, crafts, and design. MUO was badly affected by the 2020 Zagreb earthquake, but has since returned to full operational capacity, and this project complements a number of educational and interactive activities that had to be put on hold in 2020.
Nova Iskra Creative Hub (Nova Iskra), Belgrade, Serbia
Nova Iskra is a creative hub promoting tangible connections between the creative industries, technology, and people. Its goal is to support critical thinking, nurture ideas, and design and develop organisations and businesses to be both future-proof and responsive to the ever-changing present.
Centar Rog Ljubljana, Slovenia
Center ROG is a public multidisciplinary creative hub supporting manufacturers and creators (individuals and collectives) in the development of their ideas through cutting-edge technological know-how and infrastructure. With its modern infrastructure, expertise, and international connections, Rog provides a supportive environment for the development of innovative, socially beneficial projects that meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Drugo more, Rijeka, Croatia
Drugo More is a not-for-profit organisation based in Rijeka and was actively involved in the ECC Rijeka 2020 programme. Its mission is to identify and explore topics of social relevance in contemporary society. It also makes scientific and cultural discourses accessible to local and international communities by means of tools such as exhibitions and workshops.
University of Applied Sciences Zwickau (WHZ), Schneeberg, Germany
The University of Applied Sciences Zwickau (WHZ) places an emphasis on internships and laboratory work, and has a strong focus on application and implementation. It offers over 50 courses (Woodwork/Product & Object Design, Textile Art/Textile Design, Fashion Design) carefully structured to prepare students for their career within a manageable timeframe.
State Art Collections Dresden, Museum of Decorative Arts (SKD), Dresden, Germany
State Art Collections Dresden, Museum of Decorative Arts (SKD) at Pillnitz Palace & Park near Dresden was founded in 1876 and is one of the oldest of its kind in Germany. It belongs to a network of 15 museums, archives, and research institutions under the umbrella of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD). It has an outstanding collection of historic and contemporary decorative arts and design, an extensive textile collection, and a unique collection of furniture from the Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau. Its new Design Campus is a research and development hub with the aim of inspiring designers, creatives, and the general public. Its programme facilitates dialogue between the museum’s collections and SKD, and employs new, international approaches to design and the creative industries.
Zenica City Museum (MGZ), Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The City Museum of Zenica researches, preserves, collects, and processes museum material. It has embraced the “open museum” concept, which aims to create a dynamic relationship with audiences, as part of which it is developing a multimedia centre and offering a wide range of workshops and other educational and promotional events in the fields of art, science, and the humanities.
Passa Ao Futuro (PAF), Lisbon, Portugal
Passa Ao Futuro (PAF) is a not-for-profit research-based cultural initiative that documents the intangible cultural heritage of Portuguese artisans and craftspeople in order to preserve it. It also promotes networking in the field through a series of residencies and collaborative projects, as well as supporting the sustainability of the crafts by means of social and environmental impact programming rooted in design and systems thinking.
Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Education and Culture Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.”
The project is co-funded by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia.
Project is co-financed by the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs. The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of Drugo more and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs.