26 September 2006

Neocraft - call for papers

Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University is hosting the NeoCraft conference, 23 - 25 November, 2007, as part of the Canadian Crafts Federation’s Craft Year 2007. The NeoCraft conference has been designed with the objective of further developing critical thinking, theory and history in relation to the crafts. It is the intention of NeoCraft to not only acknowledge the vital role the crafts play in our culture and economy, but to challenge the position of craft by creating a forum for lively exchange and debate.

There are five conference themes:

Crafts and Political Economy
Cultural Redundancy or the Genre Under Threat
Craft, the Senses, and New Technologies
Global Craft
Invention of Tradition: Craft and Utopian Ideals
Papers are sought for each of these strands. Abstracts of no more than 250 words, and a short (3 page) curriculum vitae are due by OCTOBER 6, 2006.

Please send your abstract and CV, or any queries, via e-mail to Sandra Alfoldy at salfol@yahoo.com or salfoldy@nscad.ca

An international panel of referees will jury all paper proposals, and successful applicants will be notified by April 1, 2007. Proposals from graduate students and proposals in either official language are encouraged.

25 September 2006

New Craft - Future Voice - DEADLINE EXTENSION

Abstracts continue to come in for the conference (see below) which augers very well for a successful event last July. Given that the deadline for abstracts is so close to the start of the academic year, some colleagues have asked if the dedaline can be extended. Therefore, we have set a new deadline for the receipt of abstracts - 6TH OCTOBER 2006.

05 September 2006


The third call for papers for the conference New Craft - Future Voices has now been issued. Full details of the call have been posted on this blog. With some abstracts already submitted, the conference is shaping up to be an exciting event. A number of keynote speakers have already been confirmed:
  • Marie O'Mahony is an independent consultant and lecturer specializing in textiles and technology. She has worked for companies and institutions advising on projects, preparing reports and organising workshops, symposiums and exhibitions. Clients include The Netherlands Design Institute, Interval Research Corporation, Ove Arup and Partners, Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Interstoff at Messe Frankfurt and Zaha M Hadid. She has curated several international exhibitions including The Soft Machine - Design in the Cyborg Age, Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam (1998 - 99). O'Mahony is author of Cyborg: Man-Machine and co-author of Techno Textiles and Sports Tech, and co-curator of the touring exhibition The Fabric of Fashion.
  • Bruce Metcalf, a highly noted jeweller, has received crafts fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. Over 27 solo exhibitions of his work have been mounted and his work has been included in major exhibitions at the American Craft Museum, New York; Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands; Museum of Contemporary Art, Het Kruithaus, s'Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; Akron Art Museum, Ohio; Dayton Art Institute, Ohio; Renwick Galleryof the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia; and the Galeria Universiteria Artistos, Mexico City. Mr. Metcalf also contributes art criticism to American Craft, Metalsmith, Studio Potter, Crafts Australia, and Design (a Korean arts magazine). He is currently a senior lecturer at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
  • Paul Greenhalgh is a world-renowned scholar and former Head of Research at London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum. Most recently, he served as President of NSCAD University (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design). As current Director and President of the Corcoran, he will oversee the oldest private art museum and oldest art college in Washington DC. He has researched and written seven arts and culture books over the past 17 years, including the most recent, The Modern Ideal: The Rise and Collapse of Idealism in Visual Arts from the Enlightenment to Post Modernism, published in October 2005.

  • Jorunn Veiteberg is Professor of Craft Theory at Kunsth√łgskolen i Bergen (Bergen National College of Arts) and editor of the Norwegian arts and craft magazine Kunsth√•ndverk.

The conference has also attracted a prominent international review panel to review abstracts, papers and exhibition proposals.

In favour of craft-based education

A recent piece by Matthew B Crawford, writing in The New Atlantis provides a spirited case for craft-based education. He argues for the importance of making in education and culture:

"Perhaps the time is ripe for reconsideration of an ideal that has fallen out of favor: manual competence, and the stance it entails toward the built, material world. Neither as workers nor as consumers are we much called upon to exercise such competence, most of us anyway, and merely to recommend its cultivation is to risk the scorn of those who take themselves to be the most hard-headed: the hard-headed economist will point out the opportunity costs of making what can be bought, and the hard-headed educator will say that it is irresponsible to educate the young for the trades, which are somehow identified as the jobs of the past. But we might pause to consider just how hard-headed these presumptions are, and whether they don’t, on the contrary, issue from a peculiar sort of idealism, one that insistently steers young people toward the most ghostly kinds of work."

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In Shop Class as Soulcraft he provides a well argued case for 'shop class' (to use a US term) citing Braverman (whose Labor and Monopoly Capital, pictured above, remains a critical text in this field) and Marx is an essay which makes key points about both the degradation of blue-collar and white-collar work. Many of the arguments reflect those coming from the 'new' craft activitists / DIYers, but rooted in an analysis of work in a more Marxist sense.