Serfenta Crafts Revitalisation Model

The Serfenta Crafts Revitalisation Model is a revolutionary approach to the education, training and transmission of crafts in Poland. Designed and implemented by the Serfenta Association, it was created over a period of 15 years, with the craft of basketry at its core.

Serfenta Crafts Revitalisation Model, Cieszyn, POLAND

The craft is at risk of discontinuation due to the relatively older average age of its masters and the low market value of craft products. Serfenta proposes an approach to address, and provide solutions to this problem on a wide scale and to make craft available for all.

From 2008 to 2016, the Serfenta team conducted ethnographic interviews with traditional basket makers in Poland, Norway, Ukraine, Germany, Iceland and the Czech Republic, to gather knowledge connected to basketry techniques and the natural materials they use. Following this research, the project team concluded that though there is an interest in crafts among younger generations, there are many barriers as well as misconceptions around craft practice that impede them from taking part. The manner of transmitting these intangible heritage skills would therefore need to be refreshed to ensure its continuation.

Serfenta Crafts Revitalisation Model, Cieszyn, POLAND

In cooperation with craftsmen, designers, and people of every age and all backgrounds, the Serfenta team tested new ways to transmit this heritage to the contemporary world. This was tested by offering various types of workshops and discovering what was most interesting to modern participants. Further workshops, craft tours, media campaigns, an online shop with products, books and tools, and the creation of access to natural, traditional woven materials have followed.

Through these activities, more than 100 craftsmen were invited to cooperate across Poland and other European countries. New teaching systems around 10 traditional basketry techniques and 11 natural materials were developed, and a network was built around the Model, consisting of cooperating institutions and partners in the field of culture and business.

Serfenta has completed 30 projects dedicated to the protection and promotion of basketry, half of them on an international scale. Four governmental projects ‘Masters of Tradition’ (2016-2019) dedicated to connecting basketry masters with young students were undertaken. Until now, 510 workshops for more than 3500 participants have taken place. Also notable is the business training for basket makers and young artisans that they provide, wherein these artisans are taught how to sell their products in the modern world.


This initiative focuses on building awareness and understanding of the value of intangible heritage in a world overwhelmed with the mass production of goods produced far away and with low-quality materials. With a strong basis in research, it offers a replicable strategy for other crafts in other contexts at European scale”, the Awards’ Jury emphasised.

Serfenta Association’s success is testament the strength of its women-led team. They act as international ambassadors for the craft of basketry, having nurtured many fruitful connections and gaining strong support from many countries. Their achievement is remarkable as they are fully self-funded and self-sustaining. This serves as an excellent example for the continuation of traditional skills in other fields,” the Jury commented.

Contact: Paulina Adamska, Serfenta | |