CE.20.016 – SoS: Stories of Sustainability. Narrating the circular economy through innovative craftsmanship

Route: Circular economy

Cluster question: 053 What are the features of a circular economy and how can we achieve it?

Stories matter. The stories we tell each other help us make sense of the past, define our present, and imagine the future. This is why we need new stories for a circular economy. Crafts offer powerful anchor points for such stories, and these can in turn function as indicators of the routes to take. Craftsmanship has considerable emotional force since it is deeply rooted in the past. Craft-production offers an alternative to the linear economy.
The emphasis on craftspeople as the unsung heroes of a transition to the circular economy will help elevate the status of technical and hands-on careers. This is important as a smooth transition to a circular economy is dependent on attractive and inclusive stories. Craft offers both. And craftsmanship, despite all the promises of AI and robot-technology, will remain an essential component of future societies.
With all this in mind, we have three deliverables: a branding toolkit for sustainable start-ups under the heading of Made in Europe; a programme at the EuroScience Open Forum 2022, celebrating the deep roots of craftsmanship with craftspeople and scientists; and the Open Innovation Lab, a physical space where start-ups join students from MBO, HBO, and WO to develop sustainable solutions.


circular economy, craftsmanship, inclusive transition, Made in Europe, narratives


Organisation Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University (LEI)
Name Dr. M.H.G. (Maikel) Kuijpers
E-mail m.h.g.kuijpers@arch.leidenuniv.nl