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journey years as designers


In the Middle Ages the Walz (journeyman years) were mandatory for a craftswo/men to continue with the higher level apprenticeship and to become a member of their guild, an association of people of the same craft. Journeywo/men had to leave home for at least three years and one day to wander around the world and learn from different mentors by working for board and lodging. The tour served as a professional, social and personal training of the journeywo/man.

Even today, craftsmewo/men continue with this tradition. Since it is not necessary anymore, the amount of journeywo/man has fallen. The Walz as a tradition is still quite mysterious, as an abuse of this tradition should be avoided. Knowledge is still preferred to be communicated personally. Since 2014, the jorneyman years are part of the German cultural heritage themed ‘Wissen. Können. Weitergeben.’ (‘knowledge. skills. sharing.’).

Is it possible for creative professionals to exchange and collect knowledge and skills based on the tradition of the Walz? What is needed for that? What needs to happen to use the Walz as a model, without interfering with the craftswo/mans tradition? The Walz was an integral part of the apprenticeship in the past. How has its system to be adapted to this day and age, especially with regard to the young professional field of design, which redefines itself over and over again? Is not this applied, an agile way of working representative of integrated design?

I would like to test this in a self-experiment. During this time I would like to investigate wether companies and agencies are open minded about this unused learning and exchange form, whether there is interest towards the concept of the Walz for Creative professions and how people of the traditional crafts think about it. Considering that I would like to meet up with people of different professions, students, strangers and locals - but especially with creative people who are already (or have been) on the Walz - to figure out what their motivation and goal behind their journey is.
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