The Buddhist community of Luang Prabang have already established an innovative Vocational School of Arts, dedicated to training students in traditional artisan skills whilst preparing them for employment on graduation. To maximise employment opportunities for graduating students, Buddhist Heritage Project, in partnership with the Foundation and other local parties, aims to provide a creative workshop space for local artisans.
The Buddhist Heritage Project already supports a range of initiatives of the Buddhist community in the preservation of its cultural heritage, and education programmes are the heart of the Buddhist Heritage Project’s mission. Responding to requests from the Buddhist Sangha and the needs of the community, the team now aims to provide an accessible and creative workshop space in the centre of Luang Prabang.
Importantly, the workshop space will enable graduates from the Arts School (and others) to have access to a clean, purpose-equipped workshop where they could continue to practice and refine their skills, potentially deriving income from selling their output through Buddhist Heritage Project’s social enterprise shop, Celadon. The workshop will also provide the opportunity for other artisans in town to use the space, as well as becoming a source of artisanal pieces for display and sale in the shop.
After securing the workshop premises, the Buddhist Heritage Project team started the process of repair and renovation, with the first workshop activity commencing. Funding from the Badur Foundation enabled the team to buy the necessary high-end equipment for the space and the team aim to fully equip the new area with an extensive range of tools.
Arts and architecture remain at the foundation of Luang Prabang’s cultural heritage. The new workshop is key in enabling graduates from the Arts School to carry on this work, as well as providing an opportunity for other artisans; continuing the preservation of traditional skills whilst providing increasingly needed opportunities for local artisans to gain an income. The Foundation will continue to work closely with the Project team as the new space develops further.