Meeting in Thuringia: On the future of design in the skilled crafts sector

On 26–27 August 2021, the heads of the most impor­tant training centres of the Cham­bers of Skilled Crafts in the federal states, i.e. either the heads of the Cham­bers of Skilled Crafts or the direc­tors of the acad­e­mies that train “designers in the skilled crafts”, met in Rohr-Kloster/Thuringia. At the meeting, the Council of Master Craftsmen had the oppor­tu­nity to present the coop­er­a­tion network in a one-hour lecture.

Members of the ARGE “Designers in Crafts” are Barbara Schmidt (HWK Munich), Petronella Prot­tung (HWK Aachen), Beate Amrehm (HWK Aachen), Manfred Heile­mann (HWK Münster), Lutz Schell-Peters and Thorsten Linden­mann from the Werkakademie Rohr-Kloster, Ina Luck­hardt (HWK Braun­schweig-Lüneburg-Stade), Hans Christoph Bittner (Fachver­band Tischler­handwerk NRW), Karin Bille (HWK Rhein­land — Pfalz) and Anne Holderied (Künstler­haus 188 Halle).

The meeting took place first in Rohr-Kloster, then in Erfurt. In Rohr-Kloster we were warmly welcomed by Tortsen Linde­mann, who gave us a tour of the work­shops of the voca­tional training centre. The Rohr-Kloster Voca­tional Training and Tech­nology Centre (BTZ), as an organ­i­sa­tional compo­nent and educa­tional service provider of the Southern Thuringia Chamber of Skilled Crafts, is today, as we were able to see, one of the most modern and inno­v­a­tive voca­tional training centres for the skilled crafts in Germany. In two construc­tion phases up to 2006, seven work­shop build­ings, class­rooms, a boarding school and other halls and outbuild­ings were built. With subsi­dies from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Tech­nology and the Free State of Thuringia amounting to about 120 million DM, 494 training places were created in 30 work­shops, rooms for 300 theory places, a boarding school with 75 beds and a canteen for the catering of course partic­i­pants and guests over a period of 16 years. The BTZ’s educa­tional achieve­ments are impres­sive. Inter-company training is provided in 30 trades, and master craftsman training is carried out in 20 trades. In the 30 years since the Voca­tional Training and Tech­nology Centre Rohr-Kloster was founded, more than 30,000 appren­tices have been trained to become compe­tent craftsmen. Around 6,300 jour­neymen success­fully passed their master craftsman exam­i­na­tions. A total of 74,000 skilled workers were further qual­i­fied in specific courses. Over the years, thou­sands of students from voca­tional orien­ta­tion programmes as well as numerous retrainees and partic­i­pants from reha­bil­i­ta­tion measures and projects have been added to this number. In talks, the foun­da­tion stone was laid for further coop­er­a­tion between the Master Craftsmen’s Council and the BTZ.

The following day, the visit to the artists’ work­shops in Erfurt was exciting.


In the north of the state capital Erfurt, idyl­li­cally located in a park and by the river, the artists’ work­shops have devel­oped since the 1990s as a space for creative work. Artists, hobby artists and cultural workers meet here to work together on new ideas and objects. Various work­shop rooms and kilns are avail­able for rent.

The enamel work­shop is the core of the work­shops. The gold­smith work­shop offers 10 specif­i­cally equipped work­places. Large-scale work is possible in the open-plan studio. Several small rooms are avail­able for clubs, groups and indi­vidual work in creative processes of all kinds.