March 2023

Education - ANNOUNCEMENT - Homo Faber Fellowship

Homo Faber Fellowship: Michelangelo Foundation launches a new education programme in partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The Fellowship is designed for duos of master artisans and young talents to facilitate the transmission of skills and enable the first steps towards a profession in the craft sector.


- A unique programme to assist with professional integration of talented graduates into the craft sector.
- The long-term partnership is the result of a shared vision for the future of craftsmanship.
- Jaeger-LeCoultre’s participation reflects their ethos of social responsibility anchored in education and the transmission of savoir-faire.
- The Fellowship encompasses practical skills transmission, entrepreneurial learning and professional mentoring.
- 20 duos will be selected to participate in the first edition from September 2023 – March 2024. The programme is taking place in several European countries in partnership with local members of the international network of the Foundation.


Why Homo Faber Fellowship?

The scholarship programme seeks to make crafts culturally, economically and socially relevant for students of applied arts and crafts.

The initiative is the result of an in-depth research of the craft sector. It identified the barriers experienced by young craftspeople on their quest to build a career in craft and the economic restraints faced by master artisans to train younger generations. In France, 94% of master artisans do not train an apprentice, showing the scope for positive change, especially given that the actual number of students trained in manual work and craftsmanship is not sufficient to cover demand. In Italy, Altagamma estimates that within 5 years the member maisons will need to hire 346,000 new artisans and technicians.  According to a study by Comité Colbert in France, 20,000 manual positions are currently vacant amongst their 93 member maisons.

Given that it takes on average 10 years of continuous training to master a craft, the need to expand training opportunities in the craft sector is visible. Without transmission to younger generations, many artisan workshops face the danger of closing down and key skills being lost. Based on a recent survey we carried out on our community of 3,000 Homo Faber artisans, more than 85% work alone in a mono-structure. The hope is to create thriving artisan businesses that continue to evolve with market demands to the extent that they can welcome trainees and secure the future of their workshops. This requires intergenerational exchanges, life-long learning and entrepreneurial skills.


How does the Fellowship align with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ethos?

The Homo Faber Fellowship programme aligns perfectly with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s values which are rooted in a long history of facilitating the sharing of knowledge between master and trainee.

The partnership builds on the Maison’s existing in-house apprenticeship programmes. For more than 30 years, the Maison has run dedicated programmes for apprentices to welcome them into the workshops.

In 2021, a new Training Centre was inaugurated, dedicated to training young talents not only in watchmaking but in related occupations such as micro-engineering, quality control, sales and customer service. By extending its support to the wider crafts community, the Maison’s aim is to help young artisans from many different craft backgrounds to access a better life through a profession in the craft sector.

Driven by the value of work, the Maison’s mission is to safeguard its traditional savoir-faire and ensure it is handed down to younger generations. Investing in education is a priority, and its corporate education programme is dedicated to supporting the next generation by partnering with schools and universities worldwide.


How does the Fellowship respond to a changing creative job market?

The programme addresses these key concerns by sponsoring master artisans to train talented young graduates, transmitting to them both their knowledge and skills through hands-on exchange. The goal is to create a model that stimulates change and growth in the craft sector and responds to job openings. The Fellowship develops the employability of applied arts and craft graduates by equipping them with the practical and business skills they require to pursue a sustainable career in the craft sector.


Who is the Fellowship for and what does it offer its participants?

Education has been a key focus of the Michelangelo Foundation since its inception. Its previous programmes have paved the way for the Fellowship, a wider-reaching initiative thanks to key studies and the pivotal partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre, as well as with local partners and sponsors.

The Fellowship is open to applied arts and crafts graduates who are looking for the next step on their path to becoming a professional artisan. Fellows must show talent, passion and creativity, while participating master artisans should demonstrate a willingness to train an aspiring artisan and a need to protect their skills. The Fellowship will favour master artisans whose craft has a strong connection to the local area, in an attempt to support cultural heritage.

For the first edition this life-changing opportunity will benefit 20 master artisan and fellow duos based in Europe, with the ambition of reaching other corners of the world in the future. The seven-month Fellowship incorporates a month-long entrepreneurial masterclass developed and certified by ESSEC Business School at Joana Vasconcelos’ studio, in addition to a six-month placement for practical skills acquisition in the workshop of a master artisan. Different experts in their fields, from designers to communication specialists, will provide mentoring advice to the duos during the course of the Fellowship.

Applicants, master artisan and fellow duos, can discover the programme and apply between April and June 2023 on michelangelofoundation.org.



Notes for editors


The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is a non-profit institution based in Geneva which champions contemporary craftspeople worldwide with the aim of promoting a more human, inclusive and sustainable future. The foundation seeks to highlight the connections between craft and the wider arts and the design world. Its mission is to both celebrate and preserve craftsmanship and its diversity of makers, materials and techniques, by increasing craft’s everyday recognition and its viability as a professional path for the next generations. From engaging educational programmes such as the Summer School to its signature digital project the Homo Faber Guide and international exhibition the Homo Faber Event, the foundation is fostering a cultural movement centred on master artisans and rising stars.




Supporting partner:

Jaeger-LeCoultre: The Watchmaker of Watchmakers Located in the serene setting of the Vallée de Joux, since 1833 our Maison offers a unique sense of belonging. It is here, inspired by the exceptional landscapes of the Jura Mountains, guided by an unquenchable inner fire, that our Maison gets its soul. With all crafts under one roof within the Manufacture, watchmakers, engineers, designers, artisans work together to give birth to fine watchmaking creations. Driven by a compelling energy and a spirit of collective invention that inspires the commitment of each and every member of our family daily, we cultivate our understated sophistication and technical creativity. This same spirit has powered the creation of more than 1300 calibres since 1833 and made Jaeger-LeCoultre the Watchmaker of Watchmakers. jaeger-lecoultre.com


Institutional partners:

Asociación Contemporanea de Artes y Oficios (ACAO) is an association that promotes both traditional and contemporary Spanish crafts. They seek to protect Spanish craftsmanship, and use it to foster the development of culture, history and art and boost its economic benefits on the environment and tourism industry. Their main targets are to ensure an environment in which Spanish craftspeople can thrive and to aid them in having further commercial reach in Spain and internationally. The ACAO collaborates with similar institutions to ideate best practices; they assist with the development of commercial platforms for craftspeople; they organise seminars, forums and talks. Beyond this, they use media for widespread visibility for arts and crafts; they launch programmes that promote crafts and engage in research projects. forodeartesyoficios.com

The B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music aims to encourage the public to enter into a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary dialogue with music and the visual arts. Founded in 2004, this non-profit organisation promotes the work of Greek artists at home and abroad, with support for networking, and maintains a directory of artisans. The foundation sponsors educational and academic research, and its cultural centre in the heart of Athens hosts exhibitions, concerts, lectures and educational activities as well as a café and art shop. thf.gr

Established in 1986, the Centro de Formação Profissional para o Artesanato e Património (CEARTE), is a vocational training centre in the craft sector, with its headquarters based in Coimbra. CEARTE masterminds training projects all over Portugal, supporting creativity, skills and talent development. Specialised training is offered in an array of crafts including ceramics, textiles, wood, paper, metal, glass and basketry. Respecting and upholding time-honoured techniques and heritage skills, the organisation also places a focus on restoration and patrimony, as well as innovation. By putting in place a structure which promotes craftsmanship and the importance of human skills, they hope to foster future careers in the world of craft and provide the skills and savoir-faire for students to forge a career as professional artisans. cearte.pt

The Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCI provides a range of programmes, supports and services for artisans, learners and teachers, retailers and gallerists, shoppers and collectors, media and partner organisations. Its activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. dcci.ie


Academic partner:

ESSEC, founded in 1907, is one of the world’s top management schools and holds the “triple crown” accreditation from EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. With 7,221 students; a faculty comprised of 169 full-time professors, 23 of which are emeritus professors, in France and Singapore, recognized for both the quality and influence of their research; a wide range of management training programmes; partnerships with the world’s best universities; and a network of 65,000 alumni, ESSEC continues to foster a tradition of academic excellence and a spirit of openness in the fields of economics, social sciences and innovation. In 2005, ESSEC opened a campus in Asia. ESSEC’s operations in Asia Pacific, strategically located in Singapore, present the perfect foothold for ESSEC to be part of the vibrant growth of Asia and to bring its expertise to the expanding region.  Additionally, in 2017 ESSEC opened a new campus in Rabat, Morocco.  ESSEC’s international expansion allows students and professors to study and understand the economic forces at work in the different regions of the world. essec.edu


Creative residency:

Founded in 2012, the Joana Vasconcelos Foundation aims to preserve the work of the Portuguese, contemporary artist. Known for her playful large-scale sculptures and installations, her artworks reveal an acute sense of scale while entwining Portuguese crafts such as knitting, crochet and ceramics. She has exhibited all around the world, including at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Palace of Versailles and MassArt Art Museum, Boston. In addition to preserving the artist’s work, the Foundation supports projects related to the promotion and development of arts and cultural education. The Foundation grants awards annually to students of different artistic areas and school visits are also provided free of cost. Students are given tours of the studio, visiting its textile and architecture departments, meeting several employees in a team of 50, who work for the Joana Vasconcelos’ studio.  fundacaojoanavasconcelos.com

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