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The Michelangelo Foundation announces the selection of 20 duos for the first edition of Homo Faber Fellowship.

Posted 31.07.2023
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  • The first edition begins in September with a month-long creative and entrepreneurial masterclass at Joana Vasconcelos’ atelier in Lisbon.
  • Certified by ESSEC Business School, the masterclass will equip fellows with key creative and entrepreneurial skills.
  • The 20 established artisans will then welcome their fellow for a six-month sponsored placement in their workshops.
  • The workshops of the participating artisans are in France, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is delighted to share the names of the selected duos who will participate in the first edition of Homo Faber Fellowship. Among the chosen duos the majority are from the same country, while six are international pairings. The jury looked for artisans who need to pass on their craft know-how and had close ties to their local territory; and fellows from diverse creative backgrounds who demonstrate motivation and eagerness to acquire new skills.

The education programme launched in partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre debuts in September. The seven-month Fellowship incorporates a month-long entrepreneurial and creative masterclass certified by 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.

The selected established artisan and fellow duos for the 2023 edition are:


  1. Pierre Henri Beyssac & Inès Rauch, Ecole Boulle, French, Marquetry
  2. Sébastien Klein & Tom Even, Ecole Boulle, French, Bicycle building
  3. Cédric Lamballais & Léandre Le Bail, Ecole Estienne, French, Metalworking and engraving
  4. Julien Vermeulen & Matéo Laurent, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, French, Featherworking



  1. Akis Goumas & Karolos Vlachiotis, Art Jewelery School, Greek, Jewellery making
  2. Giannis Zois, Greek & Shokhrukh Rakhimov, Kamoliddin Behzod Institute, Uzbek, Ceramics
  3. Christiana Vardakou, Greek & Emily Criddle, University of Edinburgh, British, Textile design
  4. Tom von Kaenel, Greek & Clara Coujaty, Ecole Boulle, French, Stone sculpture



  1. Mike Byrne & Noel Donnellan, Van der Kelen Logelain, Irish, Ceramics
  2. Seamus Gill & Claire Mooney, Ulster University, Irish, Silversmithing
  3. Stephen O’Briain & Richard Butler, Atlantic Technical University, Irish, Cabinetmaking
  4. Sasha Sykes & Jackson Byrne, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology, Irish, Furniture making



  1. Alzira Antunes, Portuguese & Corentin Fossemo, L’Association ouvrière des Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France, French, Stone sculpting
  2. Vanessa Barragão, Portuguese & Yaroslava Shkurat, Ecole Duperré, Ukrainian, Textile design
  3. Isabel Martins, Portuguese & Alba Fernandez Castro, Escola Massana, Spanish, Basketweaving
  4. Tomás Viana & Soraia Santa, Ricardo Espírito Santo e Silva Foundation, Portuguese, Cabinetmaking



  1. Dan Benveniste & Guillermo Garcia, Artediez, Spanish, Engraving
  2. José Luis Sanchez Exposito & Gonzalo Garcia Cuevas, Centro de formación profesional Dolores Sopeña, Spanish, Gold thread embroidery
  3. Camila Puya de Arcos & Sofia Lausero, Escola Massana, Spanish, Textile design
  4. Ramón Recuero Ibáñez & David González Parrilla, Escuela de Herreros Ramón Recuero, Spanish, Metalworking


The 20 fellows will come together 4 to 27 September in Lisbon at Joana Vasconcelos’ studio. Joana is an advocate of craftsmanship and incorporates it masterfully in her contemporary artworks through fruitful collaborations. She has worked with artisans all over Portugal, giving new meaning to national craft traditions and knowledge. Her philosophy of bridging different art forms inspired the decision to host the masterclass in her studio, to explore and reinforce the link between the world of craft and design with the wider world of contemporary art. Joana’s vast studio occupies 3400 square metres of floorspace and is run by a team of 50 specialised employees. All the phases of Joana’s creative practice, from conception to the final creations, as well as the business side are handled in-house.

Welcomed by Joana herself, the fellows will go on to take part in different lectures and workshops throughout the residency which aim to develop creative and entrepreneurial skills. Led by ESSEC Business School, the fellows will gain key business skills such as communication, digital marketing and business planning. Beyond this, they will prosper from specialised workshops on design thinking, learning how to plan the creation of an object based on case studies, including one by Jaeger-LeCoultre. The masterclass will incorporate external sight visits to the studios of local master artisans and designers, history of art lectures, and more.

From 18 to 20 September, the 20 duos will all be under the same roof as the participating master artisans join the fellows for unique workshops prior to the individual placements commencing in October.

Discover more about the programme on

Notes to Editors

Homo Faber Fellowship is an education programme which assists with the professional integration of talented  graduates into the craft sector. The seven-month Fellowship incorporates a month-long entrepreneurial and creative masterclass certified by ESSEC Business School at Joana Vasconcelos’ atelier, and a six-month sponsored placement in the workshop of a master artisan. Designed for duos of master artisans and young talents, the Fellowship facilitates the transmission of skills. The programme marks the beginning of a long-term partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre who share the Foundation’s vision for the future of craftsmanship. The first edition is taking place in five European countries in partnership with local members of the Foundation’s network.

The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is a non-profit institution based in Geneva which champions contemporary craftspeople worldwide with the aim of promoting a more human, inclusive and sustainable future. The foundation seeks to highlight the connections between craft, the wider arts and the design world. Its mission is to both celebrate and preserve craftsmanship and its diversity of makers, materials and techniques, by increasing craft’s everyday recognition and its viability as a professional path for the next generations. From the engaging education programme the Homo Faber Fellowship to its signature digital project the Homo Faber Guide and international exhibition the Homo Faber Event, the Foundation is fostering a cultural movement centred on master artisans and rising stars.


Supporting partner:

Jaeger-LeCoultre: The Watchmaker of Watchmakers Located in the serene setting of the Vallée de Joux, since 1833 our Maison offers a unique sense of belonging. It is here, inspired by the exceptional landscapes of the Jura Mountains, guided by an unquenchable inner fire, that our Maison gets its soul. With all crafts under one roof within the Manufacture, watchmakers, engineers, designers, artisans work together to give birth to fine watchmaking creations. Driven by a compelling energy and a spirit of collective invention that inspires the commitment of each and every member of our family daily, we cultivate our understated sophistication and technical creativity. This same spirit has powered the creation of more than 1300 calibres since 1833 and made Jaeger-LeCoultre the Watchmaker of Watchmakers.


Institutional partners:

 Asociación Contemporanea de Artes y Oficios (ACAO) is an association that promotes both traditional and contemporary Spanish crafts. They seek to protect Spanish craftsmanship, and use it to foster the development of culture, history and art and boost its economic benefits on the environment and tourism industry. Their main targets are to ensure an environment in which Spanish craftspeople can thrive and to aid them in having further commercial reach in Spain and internationally. The ACAO collaborates with similar institutions to ideate best practices; they assist with the development of commercial platforms for craftspeople; they organise seminars, forums and talks. Beyond this, they use media for widespread visibility for arts and crafts; they launch programmes that promote crafts and engage in research projects.

The B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music aims to encourage the public to enter into a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary dialogue with music and the visual arts. Founded in 2004, this non-profit organisation promotes the work of Greek artists at home and abroad, with support for networking, and maintains a directory of artisans. The foundation sponsors educational and academic research, and its cultural centre in the heart of Athens hosts exhibitions, concerts, lectures and educational activities as well as a café and art shop.

Established in 1986, the Centro de Formação Profissional para o Artesanato e Património (CEARTE), is a vocational training centre in the craft sector, with its headquarters based in Coimbra. CEARTE masterminds training projects all over Portugal, supporting creativity, skills and talent development. Specialised training is offered in an array of crafts including ceramics, textiles, wood, paper, metal, glass and basketry. Respecting and upholding time-honoured techniques and heritage skills, the organisation also places a focus on restoration and patrimony, as well as innovation. By putting in place a structure which promotes craftsmanship and the importance of human skills, they hope to foster future careers in the world of craft and provide the skills and savoir-faire for students to forge a career as professional artisans.

The Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCI provides a range of programmes, supports and services for artisans, learners and teachers, retailers and gallerists, shoppers and collectors, media and partner organisations. Its activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland.

Academic partner:

ESSEC Business School, founded in 1907, is one of the world’s top management schools and holds the “triple crown” accreditation from EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. With 7,221 students; a faculty comprised of 169 full-time professors, 23 of which are emeritus professors, in France and Singapore, recognized for both the quality and influence of their research; a wide range of management training programmes; partnerships with the world’s best universities; and a network of 65,000 alumni, ESSEC continues to foster a tradition of academic excellence and a spirit of openness in the fields of economics, social sciences and innovation. In 2005, ESSEC opened a campus in Asia. ESSEC’s operations in Asia Pacific, strategically located in Singapore, present the perfect foothold for ESSEC to be part of the vibrant growth of Asia and to bring its expertise to the expanding region.  Additionally, in 2017 ESSEC opened a new campus in Rabat, Morocco.  ESSEC’s international expansion allows students and professors to study and understand the economic forces at work in the different regions of the world.

Creative residency:

Founded in 2012, the Joana Vasconcelos Foundation aims to preserve the work of the Portuguese, contemporary artist. Known for her playful large-scale sculptures and installations, her artworks reveal an acute sense of scale while entwining Portuguese crafts such as knitting, crochet and ceramics. She has exhibited all around the world, including at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Palace of Versailles and MassArt Art Museum, Boston. In addition to preserving the artist’s work, the Foundation supports projects related to the promotion and development of arts and cultural education. The Foundation grants awards annually to students of different artistic areas and school visits are also provided free of cost. Students are given tours of the studio, visiting its textile and architecture departments, meeting several employees in a team of 50, who work for the Joana Vasconcelos’ studio.