Nantou County Craft Research Training Program (1954–1959), affiliated with the Nantou County Government.
Nantou County Handicraft Craft Research & Training Institute (1959–1973), affiliated with the Nantou County Government.
Taiwan Provincial Handicraft Research Institute (1973–1999), affiliated with the Department of Construction, Taiwan Provincial Government.
National Taiwan Craft Research Institute (1999–2010), affiliated with the Council for Cultural Affairs, Executive Yuan.
National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (2010–), affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, Executive Yuan. (Current).
The National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute originated in 1954 from the ‘Nantou County Craft Research Training Program’. In cooperation with the 1953 ‘Taiwan four-year economic development plan’ to implement the national policy of ‘cultivating industry with agriculture and developing agriculture with industry’, Yen Shui–Long (1903–1997), known as the father of Taiwan crafts, established the Nantou County Craft Research Training Program in Caotun. There were seven training subjects including bamboo craft, woodworking, lathing, sculpting, rattan craft, ceramics, and weaving. At the time it was the only institution in the country to cultivate craft practitioners and was a pioneer in the development of Taiwan’s local crafts industry.
Nantou County Handicraft Craft Research & Training Institute (1959–1973) Around 1956, the Nantou County Craft Research Training Program in cooperation with the ‘Taiwan Handicraft Promotion Center’, an organization that unified Taiwan’s craft industry, were tasked to promote craft training. In July 1959 this was reorganized into the ‘Nantou County Craft Research Institute, and was the country’s only craft research and training institute. From 1965 to 1970, in response to the government’s policy of ‘mastering one skill, is a worry-free life’, awarded young people to receive technical training and has produced many outstanding craft artisans for Taiwan’s society.
In 1972, in order to establish wealth equality, the government proposed the ‘Shiao Kang Plan’ (poverty prevention plan) and ‘wealth increase’ policies, while advocating for ‘the living room is the factory’ measure. It was the heyday of Taiwan’s export trade and various handicrafts sold well in Europe, the United States of America, Japan and other countries. However, due to a lack of research, improvement and innovative design, the domestic handicraft industry was limited to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) production – the industrial development crisis of earning meager profits with cheap labor. In order to improve research and development standards of Taiwan’s handicraft technology, in 1973 the Nantou County Handicraft Craft Research & Training Institute was restructured into the ‘Taiwan Provincial Handicraft Research Institute’, affiliated with the Department of Construction, Taiwan Provincial Government, a tier-three agency responsible for assisting the strengthening of industry research and development, improving quality and enhancing competitive exports.
In line with the ‘refinement of province’ national policy, major changes took place in the Taiwan government’s organizational system. On July 1st 1999, the Taiwan Handicraft Research Institute was transferred to the Council for Cultural Affairs of the Executive Yuan, and was promoted to a national institution, renamed the ‘National Taiwan Craft Research Institute’. During this period, the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute followed the Council for Cultural Affairs’ policy direction of ‘cultural industrialization and industrial culturalization', cooperating with the cultural and creative industry development strategy of the Executive Yuan’s national key development plan. The aim was to cultivate cultural creators, improve the environment for cultural and creative industry development, and promote industrial upgrading though craft culture. Taiwan’s craft industry had become a key role in the new cultural and creative economy.
National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (2010–) In response to the transformation of Taiwan’s craft culture industry toward creative value-added production, the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute was restructured into the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (NTCRI) in 2010. In 2012 the Council for Cultural Affairs was promoted to the Ministry of Culture, with which the NTCRI is affiliated. The NTCRI continues to strive for crafts in Taiwan and promote cross-domain co-creation of crafts, integrate cultural inheritance and innovation, lead traditional craft knowledge and practice while combining with modern innovative design, embrace nature and a humanistic spirit, introduce creativity and strengthen collaboration across different fields. In 2021 the ‘The Spirit of Taiwan Green Craft’ concept is used to stimulate the engagement between crafts and society. Through concepts from the spirit of crafts such as nature, cycles, balance, tolerance, vitality, an ethos of perseverance and attentiveness, work ethics, joyful labor and life aesthetics, the concept promotes the ‘Craft for All’ –new life of craft movement aiming to improve Taiwan’s craft ecosystem and achieve the social practice of Taiwan’s craft values.