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Savoir-Faire et Modernité Workshop

Craftsmanship and excellence for tomorrow’s world

The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès and Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique – both committed to promoting and preserving artisan skills and expertise – are launching a joint initiative to explore the artisanship of the future, through a workshop on Savoir-Faire et Modernité, organised with two leading academic institutions: Sciences Po Paris and Ensci-Les Ateliers.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Savoir-Faire et Modernité Workshop
© Lothaire Hucki

Reflecting their shared vision of the production of exceptional artisanal objects and the role of artisan skills in contemporary society, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès and Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique are joining forces to explore the future of artisan production in the face of current realities. This experimental programme will look at outstanding artisanship from a political, economic, artistic, cultural, technological and environmental perspective.

The joint initiative will take the form of a workshop for students at Sciences Po Paris and Ensci-Les Ateliers (France’s national college for the applied arts and design). Organised over the course of the academic year 2011-12, the workshop will involve talented young students aiming at careers in economics, politics, and the creative arts. Students will initially attend a series of lectures and visits from academics, professionals, creative designers and entrepreneurs. Smaller tutor-led groups will then explore the questions raised, in the context of a specific project (an object, exhibition, report, Web site, or business plan).

Reflecting the Foundation’s commitment to education and biodiversity, the workshop Savoir-Faire et Modernité will pave the way for innovative, cross-disciplinary research on the status of outstanding artisanship today, as a complement to the industrial model.

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Estimated length of project: 9 months, from October 2011 to June 2012, in three stages:

Economic, social and political pathway: lecture series, visits, talks, leading to a synthesis of economic models of artisanship in France and around the world.
Artisanship and creative design pathway: students examine the nature and structure of the artisan sector in tomorrow’s world.
Implementation: operational phase


Organising bodies
Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique
Fondation d’entreprise Hermès

Workshop and coordination officer
Chloé Braunstein-Kriegel, assisted by Fabien Petiot and Célia Gras

Jean-François Dingjian
Florent Parmentier

Sciences Po
Ensci-Les Ateliers Saint-Sabin (École nationale supérieure de création industrielle)