The Centre for Wickerwork in Rudnik nad Sanem realised the project ” Safeguarding the tradition of wickerwork in Rudnik nad Sanem” co-financed from the programme of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage “Folk and traditional culture” and the budget of the Municipality of Rudnik nad Sanem.
The main objective of the project was to prepare the tradition of wickerwork for inclusion on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The main aim of the project was to prepare wickerwork traditions for inclusion on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. We reached this goal through well-chosen project activities.
Through these activities we wanted to systematize knowledge about wickerwork and confirm that the tradition is cultivated through intergenerational transmission as well as strengthen and integrate the community around local heritage and its values.This will all contribute to greater interest on the part of the younger generation and benefit the product brand in the future.
Scientific research under the guidance of Professor Katarzyna Smyk of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, an outstanding specialist in the field of intangible cultural heritage, was crucial in helping to deepen knowledge of the wickerwork tradition. The research involved teachers and pupils from the Public Elementary School No. 2 in Rudnik nad Sanem, who visited wickerwork workshops, conducted interviews and took photographs.
In addition to research, the project included archive searches, preparation of recommendations for a safeguarding plan, workshops, debates and public consultations, and a digital publication. The project also focused on a group of wicker workers with disabilities who develop their skills in care facilities.
Launch of the project
On 9-10 September 2022, the project’s formal launch took place. At the Wickerwork Centre, the guests were welcomed by the Deputy Mayor of Rudnik nad Sanem, Dariusz Świta. This was followed by a speech by MP Jerzy Paul, who drew attention to the great importance of wickerwork for the economic development and cultural identity of the region. Andrzej Szoszkiewicz, the project’s content coordinator, described the project’s objectives and activities. He drew attention to the stages of achieving a UNESCO listing. Professor Katarzyna Smyk talked about the project’s pioneering approach to research, and at the end the students received appointments to the research team.
Workshops and pilot interviews
The kick-off meeting was followed by a workshop for community leaders and then a workshop for members of the research team on ethnographic interviewing techniques. The young researchers and their mentors then set out to conduct pilot interviews. On the second day, Professor Katarzyna Smyk discussed the findings from the interviews with the wicker workers and made adjustments to the interview template. The revised template was sent to the members of the research team.
Immediately after the start of the project, queries in archives, libraries and collections began, including the Folk Culture Museum in Kolbuszowa, Regional Museums in Rzeszów, Rozwadów and Lublin, and the Wickerwork Centre in Rudnik nad Sanem, carried out by the staff of the Folk Culture Museum in Kolbuszowa, Dr. Izabela Wodzińska and Dr. Janusz Radwański. The results of the search are described in a digital publication.
Workshop and debate at the Wicker Centre
The two-day block on 19 and 20 October 2022 began with a debate and public consultation on the UNESCO listing. A landmark in this effort was the visit of Mayor Waldemar Grochowski and the Director of the Municipal Cultural Centre Anna Straub to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Warsaw. During the meeting, UNESCO counsellor Joanna Cicha-Kuczyńska gave information about the possibility of starting work on inscribing the tradition of weaving in Poland on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and provided key information on the criteria and procedure for inscription. She also informed that the final decision will be taken at the next meeting of the Council for Intangible Cultural Heritage, which will present its recommendation to the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
The debate and public consultation attracted a lot of interest from weavers from Rudnik nad Sanem and other centres in Poland. Participants were joined by Joanna Cicha-Kuczyńska and Prof. Katarzyna Smyk via an Internet connection. Andrzej Szoszkiewicz presented a detailed timetable of work on the development and evaluation of applications for the UNESCO world list. He also discussed the application for inclusion on the world list point by point.
Workshops for weavers
Among others, weavers from Rudnik, Ryszard Machowski, Marcin Jakubowski and Marcin Żuraw talked about their achievements. They showed their best work on slides. Then, Stanisław Szydełko, president of the Rudnik Wicker Corporation, presented his vision of the development of weaving and wickerwork. Andrzej Szoszkiewicz, the project’s content coordinator, argued that a favourable time has come for weaving and wickerwork and it is worth taking action to promote this tradition. Finally, Zbigniew Strzyżyński, artistic director of the State Secondary School of Fine Arts in Nałęczów, and visual artist Mirosław Iwański, presented the school’s achievements and the work of students using wicker, among other things, to produce original furniture. The final item on the agenda was a meeting with members of the research team, who shared their impressions of their visits to the wicker workshops for interviews.
Workshop at the Caritas Centre in Rudnik nad Sanem
The project proposes several innovative elements, including openness to all social groups, especially a group of wickerworkers with disabilities. They can develop their skills in care facilities, including the Caritas Centre in Rudnik nad Sanem, as well as other centres in the Nisko and Leżajsk districts. The discussion and workshop took place on 20 October 2022.
“Tradition has woven with wicker”
The 132-page volume published at the end of the project consists of three parts, and at its heart are biographies of more than 40 weavers based on interviews collected by young researchers. The characters talk about their passion for wickerwork, their masters, their employers and their favourite weavings. The recorded texts were compiled by: Anna Straub (director of the Municipal Cultural Centre in Rudnik nad Sanem) and Agata Piotrowska (project coordinator from the Rudnik nad Sanem Municipality).
The genesis of the idea and the implementation of the individual stages are described in the first part by the esteemed ethnologist, co-author of the concept and scientific supervisor of the project, Professor Katarzyna Smyk. One of the main objectives was to involve the community of weavers in the process of entering the tradition on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Entry on this prestigious list only makes sense if the beares are involved from the beginning. The topic is introduced by Andrzej Szoszkiewicz, who, in cooperation with the weavers, the municipal authorities and the management of the Wickerwork Centre, undertook the preparation of the application for entry on the UNESCO world list. The volume is completed by a section containing two articles realised based on library and archive searches by two researchers from the Folk Culture Museum in Kolbuszowa Dr. Izabela Wodzińska and Dr. Janusz Radwański.
End of project
On 14 December 2022, the Wickerwork Centre hosted a closing ceremony for the project, which included the launch of the publication ‘Tradition has woven with wicker’. The director of the Wickerwork Centre, Anna Straub, presented thanks to all members of the project team.