The forum counts with the curating abilities of the designer duo Kathi Stertzig and Álbio Nascimento of Origem Comum/Common Origins, a platform for work and investigation into preserving ancestral practices. This event brings to the island of São Miguel some of the biggest names in national and worldwide DIY, fashion and design in order to, using the textile arts as a base, debate the current challenges that are in front of the whole Arts and Crafts sector.

Three panels of guests from in and out the country will present the vast and interdisciplinary panorama of experiences that range from investigation to education, passing through tourism, that intent to prove that artisanal know-how can be the centre of cultural and economic activity. Among the guests, Martín Azúa (Spain), Renato Imbroisi (Brazil), Guida Fonseca (Portugal), Helena Loermans (Portugal) and Josiane Masson da Artesol (Brazil) are some that stand out.

The curator team spoke jointly about the unique position of the Azores for the arts: “The Azores archipelago is a spinning plate in the middle of an ocean that inspires thought, reflection, debate and reconnection. Its unique geography, landscape and resources combined with exemplary institutional work has preserved a lot of old practices that guarantee the continuous updating of the regional arts and crafts. The autonomous region has one of the most complete and organised artisan and artisanal production unit censuses in the country, with a whole government organisation dedicated exclusively to supporting and diversifying the sector.”

Happening between the 16th and 25th of April, the Entrepreneurial Mission focused on the objective of spreading the word of the Azores’ ancestral techniques and artisanal products to international fashion brands. Organised by designer Joana Duarte, founder of the Portuguese Béhen brand, the mission received delegations from the creative teams of Colville (Italy), Shrimps (UK) and Casa MariCruz (Spain).

As an executive service of the Azorean Government, the Centre of Azores Artisanry and Design wants Hands On Azores to generate discourse over questions that are foundational and transversal across all traditional arts and crafts and a deep reflection on sustainable proposals to give continuity to this shared good.