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A way of life, a promise to visitors, a slogan. ARTISANS AT WORK is a way of expressing what the Économusée Network Society artisan members represent.
Members actively help to :
- Enhance intangible heritage as a contribution to cultural diversity.
- Reap benefits from experiential cultural tourism.
- Shine a spotlight on traditional trades that are still practiced today, thereby contributing to defining local and national identity.
- Showcase local products (place of creation and distribution) with a view to promotion.
- Promote entrepreneurship and inspire young people to start businesses of their own.
- Maintain the vitality of communities that they are part of.
- Support community stability by directly and indirectly generating jobs.
- Encourage local purchasing and procurement from local providers.
- Increase local investment by regularly upgrading their infrastructure and equipment.
WE BELIVE IN THE PRESERVATION OF TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE TO ENHANCE CULTURAL DIVERSITY.
We believe that through their trades, artisans perpetuate history, tradition and often even a part of the cultural identity of a village, region or country. Through their ability to preserve an intangible heritage, artisans are vital contributors to promoting and safeguarding identitarian forms of knowledge that contribute to cultural outreach in a globalized world.
The loss of traditional know-how undermines a cultural heritage.
WE BELIEVE IN PATTERN OF CONSUMPTION WITH A HUMAN DIMENSION
Artisans everywhere are vulnerable, even threatened by large-scale industrial production. Artisans offer production that is local, close at hand and of unique quality to meet the needs of consumers fully aware of the impacts of their choices. These consumers seek an identity, which explains why they are prepared to pay more.
The artisans show innovation and initiative in their contemporary production and it is important to heighten the public’s awareness of the interest in diversifying consumer choices.
WE BELIEVE THAT LOCAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP BENEFITS COMMUNITIES
Artisans are real generators of wealth who contribute to the vitality of the communities where they are located. They are dynamic regional contributors because they create direct and indirect jobs, buy locally and invest regularly in their infrastructures and equipment. Artisans represent a veritable hotbed of entrepreneurs. Inspiring role models of entrepreneurship in Quebec, Canada and elsewhere all began as artisans.
For the ESN, nurturing the passion of its members allows the network to accompany and direct the artisans along the difficult path to entrepreneurship and contributes to the breakthrough of potentially great economic success stories.
WE BELIEVE THAT CULTURAL TOURISM IS THE BEST WAY TO SHOWCASE ARTISANS
Developing a differential heritage, offering a different pattern of consumption and inspiring entrepreneurship take place through direct contact between the population and the artisans. The ÉCONOMUSÉE®concept is part of a dynamic agrotourism and experiential cultural tourism approach that allows people to:
- Meet artisan entrepreneurs who welcome visitors to premises where artistic creation and production take place
- Get to know, exchange and share with artisans the craft they exercise with passion
- Discover production models based on tradition and products carefully crafted on the premises
- Admire excellence, savour for the pleasure of the senses and live moments of emotion
- Participate in an interactive and authentic cultural experience
- Stand out from the competition
For over 25 years, the ENS has supported business owning artisans that stand out from the crowd. It supports them by offering its expertise in cultural heritage enhancement. It assists its members in developing high quality distinctive tourist products.
Through an integrated support system focusing on development, competitiveness and marketing, the ENS deploys a range of activities that allow artisans to reap the many benefits of the ÉCONOMUSÉE® concept from a cultural, tourist, and economic perspective.
The ENS coordinates financing for its members to transform workshops into ÉCONOMUSÉE®. The ENS also promotes experiential tourism and outreach activities that ensure the sustainable economic development of artisans pursuing an entrepreneurial path.
SOME HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
EVOLUTION OVER TIME
Founded in 1992, after having been active in Québec (Canada) for over 25 years, the ÉCONOMUSÉE® Network Society (ENS) became an international non-profit company, working together with numerous partners sharing the same goals − the continuation of traditional trades and know-how in the field of high-quality crafts and the agri-food sector. The organization’s head office is in Québec. The ENS is a key actor in matters relating to the enhancement of traditional know-how. It oversees the development and sustainability of Québec économusées and draws on their outreach to support and coordinate économusée development around the world.
In the early 2000’s, the ENS introduced its concept in the Atlantic provinces and took part in the creation of a sister organization, the Atlantic ÉCONOMUSÉE® Network.
Since its establishment as an international company in 2008, the ENS has been proud to export the Canadian ÉCONOMUSÉE® concept abroad and to direct an international network of members that update and share their know-how as artisans and entrepreneurs, for the benefit of their community. Since 2008, the ENS’s North European partners implanted the concept in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
In 2012, the ENS and the British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA) signed an initial memorandum of understanding for the concept’s implementation in the province. BCEDA’s work and the success achieved have served as models and inspired the ENS, which subsequently also signed memorandums of understanding with the Conseil économique et coopératif de la Saskatchewan (CÉCS) in 2014 and the Conseil de développement économique de l’Alberta (CDÉA) in 2016.
In July 2018, the network expanded to the Caribbean, the first économusée in the region being set up in Haiti thanks to its partnership with CECI Uniterra.
Cyril Simard and Monique Gauthier
WHERE DOES THE WORD COME FROM?
From an etymological point of view, the word points to the two concerns of our initiatives. First of all, “econo” highlights the importance of the profitability and efficiency of an enterprise, and “museology” provides the whole with the cultural and pedagogical dimensions sought for their originality and uniqueness.
There is one man at the origin of the concept and even the word, ÉCONOMUSÉE: the architect, designer and ethnologist Dr. Cyril Simard. Concerned about the threat looming over traditional trades slowly being replaced by industrial mass production, worried about the uncertain future reserved for artisans and their contribution to the cultural identity of their country, and wanting to ensure continuity in their work and safeguard their art, Cyril Simard decided to complete a Ph.D. in ethnology at Université Laval.
This was in 1986. Three years later, he published a version of his thesis for the general public, entitling it “Economuseology: How to make a cultural enterprise profitable” [our translation]. In it, the author described his vision of the ÉCONOMUSÉE® based on six components.The first ÉCONOMUSÉE® opened in 1988 at the Papeterie Saint-Gilles in Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive (Charlevoix) and would serve as a laboratory to test the new theory. The ÉCONOMUSÉE® Network Society
« HERITAGE THAT EARNS ITS KEEP »
– Cyril Simard, ÉCONOMUSÉE® founder