1 min

Reprocessing cultural heritage

Project of St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences combines traditional woodworking with new cinematic forms of communication


Woodworking is considered one of the oldest handcrafts and its techniques were for a long time largely passed on orally. In the project "Woodworking Revisited”, wood- and moving-image researchers from St. Pölten UAS and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) together with students and the Austrian Open-Air Museum Stübing have developed new documentation formats to preserve selected woodworking techniques for future generations by means of moving images.

"Although historical film recordings and documentaries exist, these often do not do justice to the scientific demands of a comprehensive documentation of the craft", explained Rosa von Suess, UAS Lecturer and Head of the project at St. Pölten UAS. "The goal of our project is to combine traditional woodworking with new innovative forms of conveyance and presentation thus making this old knowledge usable for future generations", said Michael Grabner, project Head from the Institute of Wood Technology and Renewable Materials of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna.

Old craft, new cinematic formats

The researchers of St. Pölten UAS and BOKU Vienna worked together with pupils of the Waldorf School Vienna West. In a participatory approach, handcraft techniques to be documented were defined, film and media archives were searched and the material found was analysed. In a camera workshop, the team tested recording techniques for their applicability and together with the students finally developed concepts for the documentary format. One format was developed based on 360-degree video and another was structured on the dramaturgy of state-of-the-art educational content and tutorials. 

From the production of a wooden peg to the hewing of log wood

In test shoots, the two developed formats were applied to the first four woodworking processes: the manufacture of a wooden peg and a birch broom by means of a multi-camera production, as well as the manufacture of fence rings and the hewing of log wood, which were filmed with a 360-degree camera in order to include the spatial dimension of the handcraft. The resulting "edutorials" combine the instructive elements of online tutorials with the characteristics of educational videos: structured, easy to understand and summarised.

The films will be shown among other places at the Open-Air Museum Stübing and uploaded to a corresponding woodworking channel on Youtube.

Two of the films can be viewed here:

Project Cultural Heritage - Woodworking Revisited

The project Woodworking revisited combines traditional craftsmanship and new forms of conveyance, scientific examination and innovative presentation of knowledge. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research as part of the "Sparkling Science" programme. Partners are: the BOKU Vienna, the University and Research Centre Tulln and the Waldorf School Vienna West.