After a long time of preparation, the date has been set finally: The open-air museum of Villeneuve d’Ascq located near the northern French industrial metropolis of Lille will accommodate the “Fifth World Congress of Blacksmiths” to be organised from 8th to 14th October 2007. The planning manager is Nando Nava, who is expecting experts from forty-two countries.
The World Congress is to sketch the perspectives for the future of the metal trade in the 21st century. “The artist blacksmiths’ trade is a connecting link between the past and the future, between the spirit and the body, the aesthetics and the function. It is an essential foundation of our cultural heritage and an important field of our economic system”, explains Nando Nava.
The blacksmith’s trade with its skills which have been developed in the course of the centuries in Europe and in the world can fall back on to a rich heritage. This is to be linked to contemporary tendencies in art, in which craftsmen’s professions permit a new view on the material giving the material dignity through the work performed. “The artist blacksmiths protect our cultural heritage by restoring old forge-works, but also by creating new ones. As perfectionists and contemporaries, they combine tradition and new techniques. Their inventiveness takes them into the future”, says Nando Nava, who was nominated the “designated commissioner” of the upcoming World Congress in the German town of Cloppenburg in the year 2000. He will organise the World Congress together with „Espace Naturel Lille Metropole“, an association of villages in the “green belt” around the industrial metropolis, and the „Association de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Rural et des Métiers Traditionnels des Regions Nord (ASPRN)“. This association has devoted itself to the preservation of the rural culture and the traditional professions in the regions of northern France. “After the World Congress 2000 organised in the German town of Cloppenburg, the "ASPRN" has taken over the European torch for an event, the intention of which it is to demonstrate and underline the high economic potential for development which metal processing has in France”, reports Nando Nava about his partners.