Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Art and Vocational Training Courses: A Matrix for Reviving Arts and Handicrafts, Constructing Local Values, and Reworking National Culture

  • Muriel Girard


This chapter analyses the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Art and Vocational Training Courses (İSMEK), as an actor of the reinvention of the “traditional arts and handicrafts”. It argues that İSMEK may be seen as a matrix for promoting Ottoman heritage, Islam, and Turkishness. It shows how a local though powerful institution can act as a powerful operator of social and cultural change. İSMEK places the twinned notions of tradition and modernity at the heart of its mechanisms. Its action in the field of arts and handicrafts may thus be seen as a heritage enterprise of inventing tradition. By examining the instruments, actors, and narratives involved, the chapter shows how İSMEK is actively constructing a new heritage sphere, which feeds into redefinitions of locality.


AKP Vocational training Municipal institution Istanbul Handicrafts Turkish-Islamic art Heritage Tradition Local values Model 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muriel Girard
    • 1
  1. 1.École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Marseille, Member of INAMA Research LaboratoryMarseilleFrance

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