On a beautifully sunny Friday this June I had the great pleasure to attend a symposium run by Ceredigion Museum as part of its Happy Museum Project, Harvesting the Knowledge. This fantastic collaborative project between the Museum and Tir Coed (an organization that works to improve the quality of life for rural communities in Wales) promotes social enterprise in traditional crafts using as a starting point the museum’s large collection of items relating to local craft and industry.

The event was held in the beautiful surroundings of Cwm Rheidol Visitor Centre and bought together representatives of the project partners and participants with interested parties from museums and organisations from Wales and beyond – including Greta Bartram of Heritage Crafts Association and the Museum of English Rural Life who has written an excellent blog of the event with some great pictures which can be read online here.

The project beautifully brings together Happy Museum themes around wellbeing and sustainability – and considers the role of a museum as steward of its local rural heritage – asking the following questions about the future of its woodland craft:

  • What are the benefits of working the land by hand?
  • Are crafts important?
  • Can we continue to work the land in a meaningful sustainable way in a world where we are at arms-length to the land around us and the way that our food and resources are grown and managed?
  • Can craft survive in a digital world?
  • How do we reconnect with our environment in a capitalist economy?

You can read more about it the project here.

Hilary Jennings

June 2014