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LEADER+ Project

The LEADER+ Project Baroque Master Builders - Most of the employed people in the valley Bregenzerwald work in one of the 540 really small businesses. Because of the limited inter regional demand, the businesses rely heavily on export.

In the past the region were well known as a handicraft region. In the last centuries it seems to be forgotten. The globalisation threatened the SME in that region. It was necessary to set activities to improve employment within the region. This situation rise to attention and remembered to the past, as the handicrafts from Bregenzerwald were well known.

To get the Image back it is necessary to go back to the roots and to make the past known. So the regional development group were convinced that the history of civilisation have to be worked on.

This should be done in cooperation with the tourism. They are able to communicate the distinction of the handicrafts.

The Leader + Baroque Master Builders project, focuses on the important handicraft culture of the 17th and 18th centuries in the Bregenzerwald Valley.  The handicraft co-operation had its own training centre in Au which was strictly run by the famous master builders.  The craftsmen worked all over Europe and were an important economic factor during that era.  Cultivating the culture of handicrafts is an historical task.  Players in the region found each other and defined the Leader + project.  Here we are talking about the competent analysis of historical stories, to make people aware of the history of tradition.  It is also meant to remind people of the reasons for success  in order to be able to cultivate the culture of handicrafts.  

Thus, the following targets were defined:

  • First of all, transferring the concepts of the baroque master builders into the future.
  • Secondly, to develop a stronger and better image of handicrafts in the region.
  • And thirdly, to create a new and attractive proposal for tourism in the region.

The project was made up of 7 modules.  In this way a research project was defined where the cultural and historical topics were determined in order to re-activate the incomplete research of past history.  The Leader project was able to stimulate research activities.  

One module was concerned with collecting material.  A catalogue of relevant social and economic sources was put together which would make it possible to evaluate material gathered for other research projects and exhibitions.

The third module was related to the baroque master builder museum.  In the framework of this module a rough, museum like concept was implemented that defined requirements as well as estimate costs for adaptations to the building.  With that, the first basic principles for investment considerations by the region for a permanent exhibition were worked out.  

The theme of another module was drafting an operator model.  Here, feasibility for an investor, business and organisation models were tested.  Based on module 3, possibilities for investment were tested, a plausible organisation structure was worked out and the running costs were estimated.

The 5th module dealt with the conception of public relations work.

In module 6, the concept titled „Workshop House“ was worked out.  This concerns the portrayal of the handicraft culture today.  The organisation „Workshop Bregenzerwald“ is understood to be the keeper of conventions and is responsible for the development of modern handicrafts in the Bregenzerwald.  

It seems to make sense to look at the contents of the baroque master builders as a work that spans the centuries up until the modern handicrafts of today.  Within the framework of this module, possibilities for presenting the modern handicrafts in the region in a separate or integrated module related to the baroque master builder museum were examined.  Once the broadly based feasibility test had been carried out in which many players in the region were involved, a decision had to be made.  The representatives of the Bregenzerwald regional planning committee decided to continue the planning activities and to go on with the detailing of the existing documents.  A work group was formed that would attend to the planning activities.  At present, work related to the planning of the work shop house and the baroque master builder museum is being carried out.

€42,000 of EU funding plus another €42,000 of private funding from the region have been used for the project.  

The people involved are expecting concrete results from the Leader + project and have legitimate reasons to believe that the project will need further investments of between €5 and €8 million.   Regardless of that, the consciousness of the inhabitants for the traditional roots and quality of local handicrafts increased during the adaptation of the project.  The Bregenzerwald handicrafts are gaining popularity outside of the region as well, through the work being done.  It can be alleged with certainty that the project has improved the image of the craftsmen and contributed to the culture of handicrafts in the Bregenzerwald.

More information about the culture of handicrafts can be heard by dialling 3.  For an historical account dial 4.  If you happen to be in Au right now, don‘t miss going to St. Leonard‘s church.  For information about the church dial 5.

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