Basket weaving as a living tradition in the context of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
The project started in May 2014 and is a follow up on our previous activities. Since 2009 we have been documenting, promoting, educating and undertaking actions that contribute to revival of basket weaving. We have done similiar projects before: Weaving trail of Vistula river and Weaving trail of Poland.
In 2012 we researched Norwegian weavers and started cooperation with the Norwegian Partner Søre Skogen specialising in basketmaking workshops and then with Sunnhordland Museum collecting data on local artists. Together with our partners we are going to collect data and prepare materials in order to enter weaving on UNESCO Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage at the national level – both in Poland and in Norway. We are also aiming to present cultural heritage of both countries, protect traditional trades, increase awareness of the value of intangible cultural heritage and cultural diversity as well as enhance intercultural communication.
Most actions are undertaken within 12 months, however we would like to complement them with additional events and expand to other European countries. The following partners have already joined the project: Zamek Cieszyn, Odense Aftenskole from Denmark and a German association elements. Bildung und Kultur in der Einen Welt e.V.
The primary activity within the project is ethnographic field research in Poland and Norway. Its concept, choice of sites and interviews is co-developed with the Norwegian Søre Skogen. Our goal is to present the wealth and diversity of weaving in both countries. We would like to discover more artists and their work and focus on those who could contribute to entering weaving on UNESCO Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage at the national level in future. The research is conducted by an international team: Paulina Adamska-Malesza, cultural anthropologist of The Serfenta Association, Drude Isene, social anthropologist of Søre Skogen and a documentalist responsible for visual and audio-visual coverage. The anthropologists are responsible for both the learning process from interviews and the functional part – learning from master basket makers. Competent documentation makes it possible to use all materials after the project has finished.
Field research is the basis for documentaries and exhibition showing pictures - portraits of Polish and Norwegian artists as well as weaving exhibits and recordings. The exhibition, shown in 2015 at two institutions in Poland and two in Norway, is accompanied by a series of weaving workshops held by artistic craftmanship experts and weaving masters from both countries.
In the urban space of Polish and Czech Cieszyn (Český Těšín) during an artistic plein air „On the border" (2-6th August 2014), the works/installations of these artists are presented: Jan Johansen and Jette Mellgren from Denmark, Lois Walpole from the UK, Carlos Fontales from Spain and the group Żywa Architektura (Living Architecture). Our goal is to confront common misconceptions of weaving and show that though weaving techniques are unchanged, its interpretation, form and even materials used have evolved. An example is the arbour in the Sikora Park in Český Těšín, made by Żywa Architektura. The group is a precursor of the living willow trend in Poland.
Another event is an international two-day conference „Viva Basket!", 7-8th August 2014 at Zamek Cieszyn, encompassing the most important cultural heritage weaving initiatives from all over the world. There are stories on weaving research studies carried out in France, Italy and Spain, revitalising African weaving and its influence on local development in Uganda and Zimbabwe and even activities to enter woven Indonesian bags Noken on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The conference will be held on 7-8th August 2014 at Zamek Cieszyn.
Apart from the plein air and August conference in Cieszyn, there were two weaving exhibitions: Let it weave! at The Muzeum Śląska Cieszyńskiego/Museum of Cieszyn Silesia and "More than baskets" of Carlos Fontales at Zamek Cieszyn. Particular attention should be put on the latter one as it gathers experiences and exhibits from over a twenty-year study on weaving in Spain.
Another part of the project is a digital social science publication, including reports from conference speeches and other interesting parts of the project. Additionally we will hold a forum on „Social face of weaving" during The 3rd World Wicker and Weaving Festival in August 2015 in Nowy Tomyśl.
Project team: Paulina Adamska-Malesza, Anna Krężelok, Anna Smolarek, Barbara Wrona.