Traditional craftsmanship in Austria, if it is to survive, is in need of a new self-understanding and increased public awareness of its value to society. Entire occupational fields are threatened with extinction along with their associated bodies of knowledge and skills, and is high time that these negative tendencies be countered-not only as a sustainable answer to global mass-market production and excessive consumption, but also in the interest of providing future generations with training and career opportunities that are both sensible and promising. The present study surveys the state of traditional crafts-manship in Austria for the first time. On the basis of both qualitative and quantitative data, it seeks to define and analyse the parameters within which traditional crafts-manship exists, as well as traditional craftsmanship's relative degrees of endangerment and future importance in terms of cultural policy and the economy. This study thus represents an essential step towards creation of an esteeming perception of traditional craftsmanship both as cultural heritage and as an economic factor.
The Authors: Em. o. Univ. Prof. Dr. Roman Sandgruber born in 1947, full professor of economic and social history at Johannes Kepler University Linz from 1988 to 2015. Full member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. President of the Asso-ciation of Upper Austrian Museums. Academic head of (to date) six exhibitions organised by the federal provinces of Lower and Upper Austria. Numerous books including an economic history of Austria from the Middle Ages to the present as well as a book on 20th-century Austrian history. Most recent book publication: Traumzeit für Mil-lionäre. Die 929 reichsten Wienerinnen und Wiener im Jahr 1910 [Heyday of Millionaires. The 929 Wealthiest Viennese in 1910.], Vienna, Styria-Verlag 2013, 496 pages. Regular weekly columns in the newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten the past ten years. DI Heidrun Bichler-Ripfel Head of the Institute for Applied Research on Skilled Crafts and Trades (IGAF). Her work focuses on identifying and researching challenges and tensions concerning the trades and craftsmanship in the scholarly discourse, with a special emphasis on the trades' and craftsmanship's future viability and further development. Over 15 years of experience in cooperating with, coaching, and advising trade and craftsmanship enterprises. Mag. Maria Walcher Cultural educator and expert on intangible cultural herit-age. In her work to build up and supervise the Focal Point for Intangible Cultural at the Austrian Commission for UN-ESCO, a frequent topic has been traditional craftsmanship along with its socio-political significance as a vehicle and conduit of myriad competencies. A central concern of hers is to emphasise the importance of experiential knowledge and its successful transmission to future generations.