New project aims to popularize Caucasian Heritage Crafts
By Salome Modebadze
Friday, March 23The "Heritage Crafts – Common Platform for Development" project to strengthen creative industries in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan was unveiled on Thursday. The two-year project launched by the Georgian Arts and Culture Center (GACC) includes traditional handicraft, museum sources, and applied arts.
Housewives, disabled people, IDPs, and everyone interested in heritage crafts are welcome to contribute to the creation of an “economy of culture” by raising awareness about, and becoming involved with, heritage crafts.
Uniting the three South Caucasus countries around the one unique project the GACC, alongside its local and international partners, aims to build capacity with local authorities, NGOs, and civil society.
The project contains several components, as it is considered a means of enhancing social and human development, job creation, and economic growth in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. As Maka Dvalishvili, President of the GACC, explained, research implemented this year will assess the field on economic, legislative, and social levels. The results of the research will be used to create a database overlaid on maps.
The Information Centre of the Georgian National Tourism Agency will distribute the maps at their offices, so that anyone interested in traditional heritage crafts will know where to go and what to look for.
The project is financed by the European Union, under the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme. Oliver Reisner, of the European Union Delegation to Georgia, spoke of the heritage crafts project as a means of human self-realization, educational growth, and economic development.
Indrasen Vencatachellum, a specialist in Crafts and Design from UNESCO, will run a professional workshop in European cultural policies and statistics for cultural operators in heritage crafts, who will later train local craftsmen.
At the next stage, entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to build capacity and test their products at local and European fairs. Aimed at establishing the term “economy of culture”, the project will create a network among the participants for further integration to European society.
Tbilisi Mayor’s Deputy for Health and Social Affairs, Andria Urushadze, hopes the project will restore traditional cultural relations among Georgians, Armenians, and Azeris. “Cooperation between the state and private sector would ensure the country’s economic prosperity,” Urushadze said, stressing that the project will create jobs in the region. He also noted that such cooperation will encourage small business development, prepare entrepreneurs for the market economy, and bring benefits to every family interested in heritage craft.
According to Zviad Archuadze, Head of the Economic Affairs Office of Tbilisi City Hall, the project provides an opportunity to properly develop the field through dialogue among different structures. Archuadze encouraged everyone to visit an exhibition on April 6, to better familiarize themselves with heritage crafts and participate in selecting traditional souvenirs for the upcoming Strasbourg Fair in France.