Regio-Crafts: Regional Cooperation for Crafts Development

Regio-Crafts: Regional Cooperation for Crafts Development was an INTERREG IVC funded project, bringing together six partner municipalities from within the EU: Latvia, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. The project aimed to strengthen the crafts industry in the partner regions and to increase its importance in the local economies and their development, through workshops and the sharing of good policy practices.


SUSDESIGN provided support for the project content during the application process, and was the organizational partner and representative on behalf of Cascais Town Hall for the duration of the project (Jan 2012 - Dec 2014).


In Portugal, the crafts sector and the legal approval and statutory definition of the "artisan and craft production unit" is defined specifically by law, providing the legal framework for the recognition and accredition processes of both artisans and production units. The responsible entity regarding the framework is the "Portuguese Employment and Vocational Training Institute" (IEFP), through the "Program for the Promotion of Traditional Arts and Crafts Micro-Enterprises" (PPART).


Craftsmen are required to attain a "Craft Worker's License", certifying that they have the professional and technical knowledge and skills to carry out their work independently. Similarly, crafts production units must attain a "Craft Production Unit License", meeting the following criteria: the individual responsible for production holds a Craft Worker's License, the company employs no more than nine employees, and develops business activity listed in the "Directory of Crafts". 


The IEFP has also put forward a legislative proposal to establish a system of qualification and certification of traditional handmade products, to promote the authenticity and quality of these products, while also protecting Portuguese craftsmen from counterfeiting and unfair competition from distinct social and labor contexts that produce similar products manufactured with low production costs.


Regio-Crafts involved a series of visits, seminars, workshops, and networking events towards bringing together policy-makers and craftspeople to assess the state-of-the-art of the crafts industries in the partner regions, identify best policy practices for adoption, and develop a policy action plan with input from local stakeholders of the arts & crafts industries. The project resulted in a policy document, which was presented to Cascais Town Hall for implementation.


The document approaches the issue methodically in three parts:


Part I:  Characterization of the Crafts Sector in Portugal, which provides a comprehensive framework of the contemporary framework of the current situation of the arts & crafts sector in Portugal, and delves into four aspects presented in the following chapters:

1) Overview of the crafts sector,

2) Overview of the education and training framework for crafts,

3) Overview of the crafts market,

4) Support Programs for the craft sector.


Part II: Transferability of European Good Practices to the Crafts Sector in Portugal, which focuses on the presentation, study, and tranferability analysis of the best practices identified by the six project partner regions, followed by direction and recommendations for further development and national policies.


Part III: Crafts innovation strategies for Cascais, which presents an action plan developed by the local stakeholders of the arts & crafts sector in the region of Cascais, including a list of recommendations for local development and policies with regard to five main strategies for the development of the arts & crafts sector in Cascais:

1 - Entrepreneurship and Economic Aspects of the Crafts Industry

2 - Design Strategies for Crafts Innovation

3 - Crafts Education and Skills Transfer

4 - Crafts Heritage and Cultural Tourism

5 - Marketing and Branding for Crafts


Find out more at: Regio Crafts - Implementation Plan | Câmara Municipal de Cascais (Summary document in English)