A project of the Organization of World Heritage Cities for the promotion of Arts and Crafts dedicated to the restoration of the World Heritage Cities.
ARTS AND CRAFTS IN WORLD HERITAGE CITIES seeks to foster the craftsmanship of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) through the creation of a “Seal of Quality” that brings together under a shared umbrella all the indigenous craftsmanship of the cities as a means of preserving it and passing it on to future generations.
The aim of the project is not only to foster the World Heritage Cities craftsmanship but also to facilitate the visual decontamination of their historic quarters by securing the following goals:
ARTS AND CRAFTS IN WORLD HERITAGE CITIES project was conceived within the Southern Europe and Mediterranean Regional Secretariat of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) in 2012. The intention is to be able to combat and resolve a series of common problems found in the vast majority of cities that make up the Secretariat, such as the marginalization of traditional craftsmanship owing to the dominance of assembly-line – as opposed to hand-crafted – production; the widespread presence of non-indigenous and non-craft products; the proliferation of visual contamination at heritage sites; the invasion of public space by retailers’ wares; the exodus of traditional workshops from historic centres and the disappearance of business specialising in traditional craftsmanship, having been supplanted by other retailers devoted to industrial wares aimed at tourists; and the precarious state of the craft professions.
Against the backdrop of these challenges the project got off the ground in 2017 when the city of Granada took on the role of coordination and started the process of recruiting member-cities of the Secretariat interested in forming part of the scheme:
The Southern Europe and Mediterranean Regional Secretariat was formed in Córdoba (Spain) on 18 September 2001 with the goal of establishing a network of Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) members in order to get joint projects underway and to help strengthen the ties of cooperation between these cities, all of them sharing a common geographical, historical and cultural framework. It is one of eight secretariats set up to support the management of the Organization of World Heritage Cities General Secretariat.
Founded on 8 September 1993 in Fez (Morocco), the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) represents a pooling of intelligence on all matters relating to the urban management of World Heritage sites. The OWHC brings together more than 300 cities that contain within their borders a site appearing on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Between them, these cities have a combined population of 164 million people. They are represented at the Organization by their mayors, with the active participation of elected municipal representatives and administrators specialising in heritage.