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3 - Heritage NL - Workshops and Mentor-Apprentice Program
2 - Heritage NL - Heritage Skills Training Program

Heritage NL

Heritage NL is a not-for-profit Crown agency of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation established by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1984. We have a mandate to help preserve the rich heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition to encouraging and supporting the preservation of the province’s architectural heritage, we actively promote the safeguarding of our rich intangible cultural heritage. We do this through programs that recognize the province’s built and intangible heritage.

Craft at Risk is an ambitious project to research, assess, and address the loss of traditional heritage craft in Newfoundland and Labrador. This project started with the Heritage NL Craft at Risk List 2021, which can be found at: https://heritagenl.ca/programs/craft-at-risk/

As a result of the research for their Craft at Risk List 2021, Heritage NL offered the 2021-2023 Heritage Skills Training program, which included more than sixty-five training events throughout the province. The project team worked with community members and craftspeople to deliver interactive, introductory workshops on traditional skills and heritage crafts.

Heritage NL also offered the Mentor-Apprentice Program, a one-on-one immersion program that provided funding up to $10,000 to support the teaching of endangered and critically endangered crafts from an established mentor to an apprentice craftsperson or tradesperson. Over 60 people were funded through this initiative.

Heritage NL documented all of the activities with photographs, videos, and oral history interviews. This material will be publicly available through a digital archive and was shared widely through social media channels. In total, the initiative has helped preserve more than twenty crafts, from bark tanning to komatik (sled) making to letterpress printing, revitalizing a wide range of traditions and skills.

Craft at Risk engaged more than 1,000 participants in fifty communities with the rich, cultural traditions of Newfoundland and Labrador. It serves as a model of intergenerational learning and for safeguarding cultural knowledge and skills for future generations.

Following the success of this program, the Craft at Risk project – including the Heritage Skills Training, received the 2023 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming.

Currently Heritage NL is working on an updated 2024 Craft at Risk List as well as an upcoming Craft at Risk exhibition featuring work by participants of the Mentor-Apprentice Program for Fall 2024. We have also completed traditional knowledge inventories in four areas of the province. These inventories have been compiled to serve as a local resource of tradition bearers, and to showcase people who have valuable skills and knowledge.

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