Oficinas do Convento, Portugal
Oficinas do Convento – Associação de Arte e Comunicação (OC) non-profit NGO for Culture, Art and Communication, based in Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal, since 1996. It is a NGO for Development since 2009 and a UNESCO Center since 2010. Develops its artistic activity essentially in the Visual and Sound Arts, Design and Heritage, through artistic promotion, training, production and dissemination.
Montemor-o-Novo is a small town in Alentejo, a low developed region, with low population density and aged population. Low development of the region has as result a high unemployment rate, especially in the young population, which translates into the arising of a local NEET (young person not in education, employment, or training) community.
OC objectives are:
1) Promote restoration and refurbishment of the headquarter building (Convento de S. Francisco), allowing the creation of spaces to host research, dissemination, training, cultural and heritage activities;
2) Promotion of development projects and activities, as a process of improvement of the cultural and material conditions, in strict collaboration with the local authorities & entities and other competent individualities, public or private, national or international;
3) Promotion, support and accomplishment of artistic and professional training activities, enabling the objectives listed above;
OC staff team is transdisciplinar, composed by designers, architects, artists, artisans, project managers and engineers that work in a constant dialog with master builders (most of them already in retirement), artists and community in general.
OC has experience in research and training in the field of low impact materials and techniques for contemporary and vernacular building: handmade brick production and structures, CEB production and research on structural solutions, production of handmade tiles production, rammed earth and research in other vernacular architecture techniques. The specific objective is to provide products that provide a good equilibrium between tradition and contemporary building market and demands.
OC counts in its infrastructures with a Raw Earth Laboratory and CSEB research production line as well as a Ceramic Research and building material production center. This spaces host university researchers, local schools’ didactic projects, artistic residencies, workshops and other activities that connect vernacular and traditional knowledge to art, innovation and science.
Our trainings and workshops, in the field of low impact materials and techniques are an opportunity to involve NEET and adults that are not included in the professional dimension, because these knowledge is in the verge of being lost meaning that these trainees will be the bearers of it, having the possibility to use it professionally.