Archipelago Network introduces its upcoming projects on the Cyclades islands

The Archipelago Network announces its new documentation activities and public programs throughout the Cycladic archipelago, “Pottery of Sifnos” and “Maritime Trades of the Cyclades,” involving the islands of Sifnos, Amorgos, Syros, Paros, Koufonisi, and Santorini. Additionally, A–N initiates two inter-regional projects, “Communities Between Islands” and “Mirrors: Trans-Mediterranean Archive Dialogue.” These projects will take the A–N team to further-flung Mediterranean coastlines and islands, enabling alliances with local contexts in Beirut, Cairo, Corsica and Sardinia. Through these overlapping activities, the Archipelago Network seeks to highlight and promote forms of material knowledge and cultural practices which address pressing social and ecological issues of our time.

-Press release

For now, let us introduce you the projects involving the Cyclades islands:

Pottery of Sifnos

Loading cookware in Vathy, Sifnos, c. 1960.

Closely intertwined with the island’s heritage, artistic creativity, and economy, the people of Sifnos island have been crafting unique ceramic objects for generations. To this day, more than fourteen pottery workshops continue to produce distinctive ceramic objects renowned to both local and international audiences. Aspiring to contribute to the preservation and promotion of the centuries-old tradition of Sifnian pottery, the Archipelago Network initiates the research project “Pottery of Sifnos” in collaboration with the Sifnos Pottery Association and the working group for the Ceramic Museum of Sifnos. The Archipelago Network team is now conducting interdisciplinary field research on Sifnian pottery in collaboration with curator Lydia Matthews (Parsons School of Design) and Ioanna Theocharopoulou (Cornell University).

Kalogirou family, Sifnos, c. 1975

Additionally, it is digitizing the photographic archives of eight traditional pottery workshops on the island, as well as selections of the Ceramic Crafts Collection of artist Cosmas Xenakis, consisting of diagrams, notes and photographs. Finally, A–N is producing thirteen ethnographic documentaries on Sifnian pottery and its cultural significance, which will be premiered in late June on Sifnos. The results of the project will be hosted in the online open-access archive of the Archipelago Network website, and provided for inclusion in the Ceramic Museum of Sifnos. Pottery of Sifnos is realized under the auspices and with the financial support of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. Maritime Trades of the Cyclades Traditional maritime trades and crafts of the Cyclades islands, such as wooden boatbuilding, small scale fishing, and seafaring. 

Cookware drying in Platys Gialos, Sifnos, c. 1976

Today, due to rapidly accelerating local and global shifts, these specialized knowledge systems are at risk of extinction. Aspiring to preserve oral traditions, social practices, rituals, festive events, and technical knowledge related to the marine environment, the Archipelago Network has embarked on a multi-layered research project on Maritime Trades of the Cyclades supported by the Costas M. Lemos Foundation. Focusing on the Cyclades islands of Syros, Paros, Santorini, Amorgos and Koufonisi, “Maritime Trades of the Cyclades” documents historical evidence and contemporary practices through digitization of audiovisual archives and production of visual ethnographic material. The findings of the project will be published in a special section of the Archipelago Network’s online open-access archive.

Cookware drying in Platys Gialos, Sifnos, c. 1980

Additionally, A–N is planning a public program of in-situ activities, including a traveling exhibition and educational workshops, to share its discoveries with the wider public. The ultimate goal of the Archipelago Network is to help preserve the maritime trades and crafts of the Cyclades for future generations through the lens of cultural heritage.

Postcard of Naousa harbor, Paros, c. 1975

“Pottery of Sifnos” and “Maritime Trades of the Cyclades” are just a few of the initiatives the Archipelago Network team is working on. We look forward to sharing more details about our activities soon. 

Documentation of net fishing (Paros).

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Η πρώτη τεχνική και επιστημονική ημερίδα στον κλάδο της κεραμοποιίας στην Ελλάδα πραγματοποιήθηκε από την Κεραμουργία Βορείου Ελλάδος (ΚΕΒΕ) και υπό την αιγίδα του ΤΕΕ/ΤΚΜ