Cultural Heritage and Craftsmanship
Process as Object



The process of glassmaking has always been mesmerizing to watch. The craftsmanship is mythic, has been romanticized, and is widely subjected today to commercial marketing strategies as well as to curatorial practice in a museum context.

In the expanding field of contemporary glass art and crafts, artists, curators, museums, and educational institutions are thus using the glassmaking process and matter as content and mediator for expressing narrative works, performance, and activism with both political and gender issues.


In the Nordic countries, as well as in many other places in Europe and overseas, the post-industrial landmarks of abandoned glass factories and their surrounding artistic and local communities are extensively being converted into brand-driven ”experience centres”. Often, the aim seems to be a wish to keep the cultural heritage “alive” and remind us of times where industrial production of arts and crafts was part of our national identity. However, the contemporary staging of craftsmanship and cultural heritage also points in new directions as ways to understand and develop the heritage of glass in new, e.g, regional, entrepreneurial, or artistic context where our perception of identity and authenticity is challenged.


  • Why is it important to stage craftsmanship and the arts and crafts industry, when developing new concepts for public experience centres?
  • How can cultural heritage be valued as cultural capital?
  • What role does staging the cultural heritage of glassmaking play in contemporary glass today?
  • Does the European contemporary glass scene really need the cultural heritage and tradition?
  • Performance and craftsmanship as experience economy, when does the activity of process become the piece, or more important than the piece? And how is this handled in curatorial context and by museums?
  • Is it important that the process and craftsmanship is visible in the piece?
  • What role does tradition and craftsmanship play in performances and activism using glass?
  • When in the process does the piece begin? In the process or in the end with a physical piece?
  • Why do artists use glass when addressing political and gender issues?
  • How important is the physical object in the piece and does the process become the performance and part of the piece?



Judith Schwartz at ECC2010 at KADK Bornholm

Venue: KADK Bornholm

Date: Sep. 11th. 2016

Time: 10.00 - 16.30 

Tickets: Sign up here!

Lise Autogena DK
Professor of Cross-Disciplinary Art, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Building Images as a Collaborative Process - Lise Autogena will discuss her work with glass in the late 1980s and 90s - and how it led to a technology-based approach to realising ideas, where the making of images became an entirely context driven and collaborative approach.

Pilar Aldana-Méndez ES
Traditional and contemporary glass in the Temple of Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.
Thanks to the recent collaboration with the Sagrada Familia Temple to develop glass sculptures for the top of the Sacristy Tower, I got to know deeply about the presence of glass in this amazing place and recognize how cultural heritage and tradition is the motor and inspiration for contemporary ideas to continue the construction of the temple.


Angela Thwaites UK
Glass artist, author and PhD Researcher
National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland, UK

Technology dominates human life across Europe and the rest of the planet. At the same time it is vital to maintain and expand cultural heritage, skills and craftsmanship. Personal practice and experience of the Czech glass scene in the 1980s will be explored to highlight the continuity of its heritage, influence and importance in 21st Century glass art.


Ella Varvio FI
Master of Arts, Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture
Conscience of Glass- Makers of artistic and artisan glass in Finland: realities, vocation and relationship with the industrial past, is a report on Finnish glassmaking. Meanwhile the industry has declined, glass education and small scale studios have appeared on the scene. The study introduces contemporary glassmakers and reveals their realities and mindset.


Erika Lagerbielke SE
Professor Glass design, Linnaeus University
The importance of Art and Memories for regional development in the Swedish Kingdom of Crystal

In Sweden, as well as many other countries, manual industrial glassmaking has recently suffered severe structural changes. This paper discusses how Art and Memories (the cultural heritage in glass) can affect and contribute to the development of the region and the Swedish glass scene in the near and far future.


Markus Emilsson SE
Glaskonsthantverkare/Craftist and Participant in EGC2016 Open Call

"Crafting Community" was Markus's master degree project from Konstfack, University Collage of Arts, Crafs and Design.  It was a site-specific investigation in how people at Konstfack could come together and start sharing knowledge, different ideas and personal views. The project can be described as a test platform for different methods of materialized conversations and dialogues.


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