THE LAST OF THEIR KIND

CRAFTS AND PROFESSIONS IN TRANSITION

3 December 2022 to 2 April 2023

In the course of history, countless professions have emerged and disappeared or had to adapt to social and technical change, particularly as a result of industrialisation. This process has gained additional momentum through globalisation and digitalisation.

Global changes first happen at the local level. The exhibition takes a look at occupational change in North Rhine-Westphalia and focuses on five endangered professions. Using these examples, past, present and future expected effects of the transformation in work life can be made clear more generally. The five professions are the crafts of baking and tailoring, which are threatened by industrialisation and globalisation, the end of coal mining in favour of ecological change, the service profession of cashiers, which is gradually disappearing as a result of digitalisation, and the almost vanished craft of typesetting.

«The emotional rewards craftsmanship holds out for attaining skill are twofold: people are anchored in tangible reality, and they can take pride in their work.» Richard Sennett, The Craftsman, 2008

The exhibition shows that worldwide transformation processes are also reflected in the everyday work life of individuals. Aspects of social, economic and also ecological change become visible in individual professions and biographies, such as physical, psychological and social alienation as well as personal, family and regional loss of identity, or fear of the future.
However, social change also holds opportunities for improving everyday work life, especially in view of the current sustainability debate. Craft creativity and the knowledge transfer of cultural techniques play an important role in the education and well-being of all of us. Some crafts should therefore be preserved as intangible cultural heritage.

The exhibition, accompanying book and programme of events are being produced in cooperation with the Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) of the Hans Böckler Foundation. The patron of the exhibition is Andrea Nahles, Chairwoman of the Federal Employment Agency.

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Admission tickets

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€13 / €6.50 (concessions)
Free admission for everyone up to and including the age of 18.
Happy-Hour-Ticket: 7 € (available two hours before the museum closes; individual visitors only, all exhibitions.) Combined ticket for all exhibitions available.
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Literatur zur Ausstellung in der Bibliothek