DCT launches heritage campaign ‘Universe of Crafts’

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, DCT Abu Dhabi, announced it is launching its newest intangible heritage campaign, ‘Universe of Crafts’, which invites the Emirati community and UAE residents to take part by submitting their heirloom handicraft items for display in an exhibition at Al Hosn’s House of Artisans.

‘Universe of Crafts’ will be holding an open call for items from 11th-30th September, with a focus on the six categories of adornment and perfumery, culinary innovation, sea crafts, pottery, archival images, and weaving, or Al Sadu, a heritage element that has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The campaign aims to gather a wide selection of artefacts and personal objects which together will provide deep insights into the lives and work of Emirati artisans and their crafts. The history behind the objects themselves is equally important, and the personal and family stories behind each item will be collected from their owners.

Commenting on the announcement, Salama Al Shamsi, Director of Qasr Al Hosn, said, “A large part of DCT Abu Dhabi’s cultural strategy revolves around the preservation and promotion of the emirate’s intangible heritage, safeguarding traditional Emirati practices and handicrafts and fostering pride among the younger generations by demonstrating the continued relevance of our past to contemporary life.”

“Universe of Crafts is the latest DCT Abu Dhabi initiative to focus on raising awareness of the UAE’s unique cultural heritage. So much of our rich legacy of traditional crafts and practices is sitting in homes across the country; cherished objects linked to family or personal histories that, through their stories, may be able to shed new light on our collective past. By engaging and involving the community directly, we hope to gather a set of artefacts that tell a deeper, more personal story of traditional Emirati heritage, resulting in an exhibition different to anything House of Artisans has done before.”

Located in Al Hosn site, alongside Qasr Al Hosn and the Cultural Foundation, the House of Artisans plays a pioneering role in the protection and preservation of traditional heritage and craftsmanship, and actively provides support to local artisans carrying on these traditions. The House of Artisans seeks to increase general awareness of heritage arts and practices and encourages the learning of skills related to these crafts through a year-round schedule of workshops and courses, allowing knowledge and techniques to be safeguarded for future generations.

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