People visiting the exhibition Craft Hub, Investigating craft practices across Europe

Crafthub, much more than a project

In April 2023 Matera hosted the exhibition Craft Hub, Investigating craft practices across Europe, curated by Materhub within the project CraftHub.

Between the 1st and the 14th of April, the National Museum of Matera hosted Craft Hub, Investigating craft practices across Europe, the exhibition curated by Materhub within the Creative Europe funded project Crafthub.

The exhibition Craft Hub, Investigating craft practices across Europe has been a wonderful opportunity to tell the story of the experimental process of residencies and workshops held as part of the European project Craft Hub, funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme. A process which brings together the research on how European crafts have evolved through history, as a manifestation of cultural legacy and skills, and how this practice can be relevant today.

From social inclusion to sustainability and empowerment, Materahub has implemented this project going beyond its specific objectives, providing a broader meaning to its activity, which surpasses the temporality of the European project and aims at generating a real impact on the community.

Sustainability and Circular Economy, two goals of the exhibition

Thanks to a wide range of wonderful partners and friends, Materahub embraced the themes of sustainability and circular economy; during the residency in Matera, participating designers experimented with new processes to transform and upcycle industrial waste, in this case textiles and upholstery, which reinterpreted have taken on new forms and prototype thanks to the collaboration of the Open Design School, the Matera-Basilicata 2019 Foundation and the furniture company Ego Italiano.

Activities related to the Crafthub exhibition

Local craft practitioners have been supported in a capacity building journey from the beginning of the project to develop their professional empowerment.

The numerous activities include:

  • participation in residencies all over Europe;
  • ideation and implementation of bespoke workshops to develop their content and local audiences;
  • the curation of the local residency on industrial waste;
  • the curation and design of the international exhibition.

A local craft practitioner was also supported in transforming a creative idea, born in the residency, into a sustainable and ethical commercial product.

The workshops were harnessed to explore the potential of the creative process in facilitating social inclusion, facilitated by a wonderful collaboration with the dependency rehabilitation center Comunità Emmanuel in Salandra. A partnership that will continue to develop with new projects.

Next steps

The International Crafthub Exhibition, including over 45 selected showcase pieces, was led by Materahub under the artistic direction of Rita Orlando, the curatorship of Antonella Valerio, the design of Gabriella Mastrangelo and the production of Becky Riches.

The exhibition, which opened on April the 1st at the National Museum in Matera, will now continue in the other 6 countries of the project consortium: Germany, Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Wales, with the final exhibition to be held in Norway in October 2023.

At each exhibition venue, a different local dimension will further enrich the exhibition to highlight a particular element of the project relevant to the region. In Matera, for example, the exhibition hosted a participatory artwork, representing a giant cuckoo that, during the exhibition, will be completed by visitors thanks to the textile scraps provided by the company EgoItaliano.