Future Traditions - research and curriculum development

Project facts

Project promoter:
Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design M4
Project Number:
Target groups
Students and trainees in all forms of higher education level education and training,
Researchers or scientists
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 169,082
The project is carried out in:


The aim of the Future Traditions project is to reinterpret traditional ornament heritage of Norwegian and Hungarian hand crafts and folk arts, to integrate them in a dynamic contemporary, social, technological, economic and educational context and to find perspectives for future cultural traditions and dialogues. The Donor partner is the 135-year old Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest (MOME) from Hungary is one of the most significant European institutions of visual culture due to its traditions and intellectual background. Due to its professional background MOME leads the Future Traditions project. The first partner, the Norwegian Telemark University College (TUC) role will be to enforce the traditional craft approach – learning practical and manual competences in wood, metal and textile workshops forms the core of the programs at the department. The second partner, Telemark Kunstsenter (Telemark Art Centre) is an information and communication institution of professional art and crafts in Telemark. The roles of TKS will be the involvement of artists and network activity. The three institutions aims to conduct a joint multidisciplinary research on how traditional craft techniques can be combined with cutting edge technology. The goal of the project is, based on the experiences and results, to develop new educational methodologies, learning materials for educational purposes. It is also the goal of the project to disseminate the outcomes of the research in different ways and also to establish a long term cooperation between the three institutions together with involving different levels and fields of other organizations.

Summary of project results

Handcraft and folk art traditions in Europe are one of the basic foundations of our cultural heritage and identity. During the last 2 000 years the continuous innovation, transformation, migration, exchange and adaptation of local folk art techniques, ornaments and patterns secured a lively visual and cultural dialogue among Europe’s different regions. However, the continuous renewal of this common cultural language has stopped and has been abandoned by modernism and globalization. Today craft traditions and folk art heritage are being kept behind museum and exhibition windows as silent pieces of history. The project aimed to show that tradition can be a valid inspiration in the contemporary design process and can contribute emotions to the characteristically functional process therefore establishing a solid basis of identity. The objective of the project was to conduct a joint multidisciplinary research involving students and researchers from Hungary (MOME) and Norway (HSN) to rediscover and reinvent ornaments, patterns and motives of the national traditions and use them in the contemporary design process. 21 students and 6 researchers from two educational institutions participated in the project. Two field studies with the accompanying workshops were organized in both countries where participants could gather information, data and inspiration for the design and elaboration of their own projects. The students learned how to define an artistic problem/question, how to design and conduct a research plan and produce an individual solution for the question raised incorporated in an artefact. In the same time, the tutoring researchers set up their own research plans, based on which a new educational syllabus and a research book were developed. Final outcomes of the projects were presented in two exhibitions – involving the third collaborating partner in Norway, Telemark Art Centre –, a panel discussion and a festive book release to an overall audience exceeding 1 000 people. The project’s results will not vanish with the closure of the project; the participating institutions continue collaboration on various academic levels, an international tour of the final exhibition is being planned, Future Tradition is going to be developed into MOME’s interdisciplinary LAB structure, outcomes of the project (multimedia kit, project and research documentations) will be available on the Project website www.futuretraditions.mome.hu. The research materials give an opportunity to expand the project to a wide international network of art education institutions.

Summary of bilateral results

HSN participated as an educational institution in the student and research programs throughout the project. HSN’s 11 students, 3 researchers and the project leader took part in the project. The project has expanded the former individual relation to an institutional level between the participating institutions. Future Traditions became part of the official curriculum on both BA and MA levels. Never before this project was the thinking about past traditions being an inspiration of contemporary design present in the institution and the knowledge and professional content developed in the project serve as a basis for the regular educational material. HSN provided the technical background for the workshop organized in Norway as well as expert tutors and researchers of traditional techniques. The project made investments into digital infrastructure possible, supported by knowledge transfer from the collaborating partner (MOME) and since the execution of the project the gained digital knowledge of CAD/CAM has become part of everyday design education at HSN. Participating students have gained a lot of professional inspiration with the possibility of international cooperation and the exchange of different attitudes towards traditions and research. The institution was given a possibility of creating an artistic portfolio that can be introduced on both a national and international level. The professors at HSN and MOME have different professional background. This was an advantage for the student’s projects, because they could get broader and complementary opinions on their ideas and works. The role of TKS was to involve Norwegian artists and provide international networking opportunities. TKS provided the exhibition space for and was actively involved in the dissemination of the project outcomes. Reporters of art magazines and media were present at the exhibition opening and information about Future Traditions was shared with the national gallery network and the national art associations. Partnership with TKS contributed to the increase of HSN’s positive reputation, widening the base of potential students. The project book of Future Traditions will be available to see and read in the bookstore of TKS, adding a unique flavor to its usual product scope. The exhibition of the project was a new mission of TKS to promote design education and research besides its traditional focus on fine arts.