"Whatever it is we are talking about, education is always the key.” Be it family tradition or apprenticeship, or the courses offered by job training centers and academies, the skills, styles and aesthetics can only be acquired through hands-on practice. The Nantou Craft Research Institute (National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute now ) established by the government in 1954 was the very first of its kind in Taiwan that provides training programs for local craftspeople. A variety of outlets, such as universities and craft studios also followed suit to cultivate new craftspersons. Along with museums and self-learning trend via internet, a whole new horizon of craft education can be seen right now. We bring the readers back to when Taiwan craft education first started just after WWII, and go through various trends over time, such as government-sponsored training programs, the school system for craft education, craft studios/hands-on experience courses and self-learning via internet while going into details of their resources, styles, roles as well as important players and their influences in each and every stage of time.
The National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (NTCRI) that focuses on craft promotion and vocational education has been working tirelessly to cultivate new talent. This article chronicles the history of its handcraft skills workshop that was launched in 1975, introducing how it has been adapting to the changes of time. Its ultimate goal, however, remains the same. That is to educate Taiwan’s craft talent on both the skill and aesthetical levels and ushers in a new era for Taiwan’s craft field.
The craft studio plays a vital role for the advancement of craft development in Taiwan and its function has changed in the course of time, from skills/materialscentered trend in the 1970’s, innovation-based style to experiential aesthetics nowadays. The transformation of craft studios showcases the enhancement of economic and cultural education of an entire society and how craft goes deep into the daily life. This article explores the creative momentum and new trends of ceramics and metalworking.
The article boils down to the very origin of craft education in Taiwan’s school system and its development, as well as its transformation and reform on objectives, content and implementation with response to the ever-changing needs of the society. Three universities that help shape Taiwan’s craft circle today are featured here, including the Department of Arts and Crafts of National Taiwan Academy of Arts that sent its graduates right into the industry, the craft ducation Group under the Department of Industrial Education of National Taiwan Normal University that cultivates middle and high school teachers and the Department of Material Arts and Design of Tainan National University of the Arts that educates the new generation of artists.
The article goes deep into how the Yingge Ceramics Museum and the Weaving Craft Museum under Taichung City Huludun Cultural Center have been dedicated to craft collection, exhibition and educational promotion and whether they could go the extra mile to showcase traditional craft skills, knowledge about industrial techniques and materials production, and even craft beauty in daily life by thoughtful planning and offering of educational courses. In doing this, it is possible to foster diversity in craft and further feature the value of Taiwan’s crafts.
Since its launch in 2005, the project on Promotion of Diverse Craft Development in Communities has been implemented in more than a hundred communities in Taiwan to foster cooperation with local craftspeople. Communities have become the incubation center for local craft development that not only brings the waning local craft industry back, but stimulates economic development and local tourism. It is the participation of local people in particular that helps communities fi nd their old-time glory and confi dence back as well as enhances local culture, spiritual growth and living crafts aesthetics.
Some trends in this internet era, such as holistic education and self-directed learning have been incorporated in several popular learning platforms, like Za Share and Taiwan Craft School that encourage self-regulated learning in craft education and incubate talent for the industry, while promoting practicality and beauty of crafts to the general public.