Monday, June 29, 2009

PAPA: Penang Apprenticeship Programme for Artisans

The Penang Heritage Trust is launching a programme that actively promotes intangible cultural heritage. This involves assisting artisans and performers whose skills are considered traditional and core to our Penang cultural heritage. In today's world, these skills are few and far in between, apprentices need to be sourced and skills need to be transmitted, in order that we may not loose these precious assets. The individuals themselves who are usually old, may be experiencing difficulties with evictions, high rentals, lack of help, difficulties of transportation, cost of materials, vulnerability and a loss of significance. This proposal assumes that the time is right for rendering assistance and building capacity by promoting apprenticeship.

This project also views promotion, product development and assistance with marketing as integral in achieving sustainability of the skills.

The goal is to perpetuate & develop traditional skills & techniques, transmit these through a prescribed training system, aid in marketing and strive to generate income so that the skills becomes attractive as a viable life choice career for young people.

It is planned that as far as possible, these artisans be sited in individual shop-houses within a common area, in the heart of George Town. This would make promotion and marketing in terms of a value added site for visitors, much easier to manage. It is envisaged that accommodation is possible on the upper floors if so required for either artisan or apprentice. If cultural reasons exist for usage of other areas, this may be incorporated.

The proposed locations are properties of the Khoo Kongsi Temple and Acheen Street Malay Enclave, Penang's most famous heritage attraction, who have undertaken at their own expense the restoration of their clan houses and Malay shophouses, and are now interested in contributing their efforts to the diversity of urban spaces by forging community partnerships and creating projects which promote sustainable development and are socially relevant for the city's World Heritage status.


1. The signboard carver - Identified
2. The rattan weaver - Identified
3. The rattan & silk lantern maker - Identified
4. Paper glass lantern maker - Identified
5. The beaded slipper maker
6. A kebaya designer & tailor - Identified
7. The songkok maker - Identified
8. Calligrapher
9. Batik artist
10. Koran calligrapher / printer
11. A traditional gold/silversmith - Identified
12. An artist
13. A traditional spice-grinder
14. A traditional perfume
15. The hand-made jossticks maker - Identified
16. The master-cheongsam tailor
17. The clog-maker
18. The hand-made shoe-maker
19. Traditional paper model maker
20. A traditional weaver of mengkuang mats etc

Interested? You may contact PHT at 04-2642631 or

Source : Penang Heritage Trust

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