Penang Apprenticeship Programme for Artisan (PAPA)

In 2009, the  Penang Heritage Trust launched a programme that actively promotes intangible cultural heritage. This involves assisting artisans and performers whose skills are considered traditional and core to our Penang cultural heritage. In today’s world, these skills are few and far in between, apprentices need to be sourced and skills need to be transmitted, in order that we may not loose these precious assets. The individuals themselves who are usually old, may be experiencing difficulties with evictions, high rentals, lack of help, difficulties of transportation, cost of materials, vulnerability and a loss of significance. This programme was designed with the intention of rendering assistance and building capacity by promoting apprenticeship.

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It was planned that as far as possible, these artisans be sited in individual shop-houses within a common area, in the heart of George Town. This would make promotion and marketing in terms of a value added site for visitors, much easier to manage. It was also envisaged that accommodation is possible on the upper floors if so required for either artisan or apprentice. If cultural reasons exist for usage of other areas, this may be incorporated.

The proposed locations are properties within the George Town World Heritage Site, Penang’s most famous landmark, which consist of an array of  clan houses, shophouses and Malay shophouses. This will in a way add value to the diversity of urban spaces by forging community partnerships and creating projects which promote sustainable development and are socially relevant for the city’s World Heritage status.

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