Many European cities and regions can boast of deep-rooted cultural traditions in the field of ceramics and small crafts. Preserving cultural values and cultural heritage has since long been a priority area for the European Union. However, besides preservation, cultural heritage is a major asset in economic terms for European regions: it also generates jobs, household income and stimulates local economic development.
Towns of ceramic and small crafts traditions, endowed with a rich artistic heritage, are nevertheless facing severe problems: globalisation exacerbating competition and ageing population of craftsmen, both leading to a continuous decline of the sector.
CeRamICa is the result of a long cooperation of the municipality of Hódmezővásárhely, lead partner in Hungary, with nine other European cities and two non-city partners with whom they share a common cultural heritage and face the same difficulties and eagerness to preserve and promote the ceramic and small crafts sector in Europe.
Partners will join forces and exchange best practices to jointly develop local and regional development strategy recommendations and instruments to support and boost the ceramics and small crafts sector in the partner regions. These sets of recommendations will be drawn with the aim of preserving and promoting this significant European cultural heritage and thus making the sector a competitive driving force of the local economies.
All 12 partners are municipalities or related bodies from 8 countries, offering a good balance between Eastern and Western countries to enrich the exchanges and transfers of experiences between them.
The starting point will be a thorough analysis of the sector in partners’ regions, including interviews of all relevant stakeholders. These studies will be a means to identify best practices that have already led to tangible results. Its results will directly feed the core activities of the project: the intensified transfers of experiences and best practices among the partners.
The transfers of best practices will provide a unique opportunity to learn from each others' experiences, acquire new methodologies, processes or techniques that helped develop new products, open up new markets for enterprises and crafts(wo)men, identify effective marketing and training tools or create new jobs and enterprises.
The project clearly addresses the objectives of the INTERREG IVC Programme and the Lisbon agenda. The lessons learnt will be reflected in jointly developed local and regional development policy recommendations, validated by politicians formally represented in the project. They will also include action plans for implementation into other EC programmes. Their effectiveness will be highly improved and durability of the project results ensured.
Last but not least, major European and regional events will be organised as to widely disseminate best practices identified to successfully preserve and promote the ceramics and small crafts sector in partners’ regions and beyond.