“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

Education programme by Jaeger-LeCoultre and Michelangelo Foundation

The Homo Faber Fellowship programme aligns perfectly with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s values which are rooted in a long history of facilitating knowledge sharing between master and trainee. The Grande Maison teamed up with the Michelangelo Foundation to present this new programme. 

The Michelangelo Foundation is an international non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland. Its aim is to celebrate and preserve master craftsmanship around the world and strengthen its connection to design. The Foundation is also the organiser of Homo Faber, the first major cultural exhibition dedicated to European craftsmanship.

(Please discover more about the Foundation here and about the event in Venice here.)

As part of last year’s Homo Faber, Jaeger-LeCoultre was at the ‘Details: Genealogies of Ornament’ section of the event to present the work of the Métiers Rares® (Rare Crafts) Atelier. The Vallée de Joux Maison exhibited gorgeous Atmos clock creations – from different eras in different styles, with different decorations. 

This March the company released a long-term partnership with the Michelangelo Foundation, as a result of a shared vision for the future of craftsmanship. There is a fear that many of the traditional and exceptional crafts are being forgotten in the 21st century. Given that it takes on average 10 years of continuous training to master a craft, the need to expand training opportunities in the craft sector is visible. Without transmission to younger generations, many specialised manufactures face the danger of closing down and key skills being lost.

The aim of the Homo Faber Fellowship programme is to create thriving artisan businesses that continue to evolve with market demands to the extent that they can welcome trainees and secure the future of their workshops. This requires intergenerational exchanges, life-long learning and entrepreneurial skills. 

The partnership builds on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s existing in-house apprenticeship programmes. For more than 30 years, the company has run dedicated programmes for apprentices to welcome them into the workshops (and since 2021 also to its new Training Center). 

Education on every level has been a focus of the Michelangelo Foundation since its inception. This new Fellowship is open to applied arts and crafts graduates who are looking for the next step on their path to becoming a professional craftsman. The Fellowship will favour master artisans whose craft has a strong connection to the local area, in an attempt to support cultural heritage. 

For the first edition this life-changing opportunity will benefit 20 master artisan and fellow duos based in Europe, with the ambition of reaching other corners of the world in the future. The programme is taking place in several European countries in partnership with local members of the international network of the Foundation. The seven-month Fellowship incorporates a month-long entrepreneurial masterclass developed and certified by the ESSEC Business School at Joana Vasconcelos’ studio, in addition to a six-month placement for practical skills acquisition in the workshop of a master artisan. Different experts in their fields, from designers to communication specialists, will provide mentoring advice to the duos during the course of the Fellowship.

Applicants can discover the programme and apply between April and June 2023 here

Source: press release. Photo credits: Jaeger-LeCoultre, Michelangelo Foundation.
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