17 April 2008

A New Worldview of Craft Education in the 21st Century

Just thought I would share with you one of my abstracts that has been accepted for the Crafticulation Conference in Helsinki 24 - 26th September 2008. I am currently preparing the full paper and so any comments will help develop my thinking on this issue.


Based on PhD research this paper will demonstrate how the emphasis in craft education has shifted philosophically with different worldviews. Starting with the sensuous exploration of materials and embodied experience (naturalism) of the medieval guilds to the Romanticism of the Arts & Crafts movement (subjective idealism) and an art school education that was concerned with ‘a movement of the mind’. Romanticism however rejected reason and many have suggested that this was its major failing. One of the challenges for craft education within Universities therefore is an epistemological one - to address the nature of reason.

This paper argues that ‘Reason’ however should not be interpreted in its narrow sense of the power of the mind to think and form judgements using logic but rather in a wider sense as fully actualized human beings combining embodied experience with the unity of thinking and doing. This non-dualistic form of ‘reason’ is guided by the heart and refined through critical reflection.

To date Craft has remained impervious to the importance of the discourse and critical thinking. However, considering craft as a worldview can provide a critical framework that will enable us to articulate our uniqueness. It is interesting to note that this expanded concept of reason is central to other disciplines that advocate a craft approach e.g. the craft of archaeology.

A new worldview for craft education in the 21st century will be articulated through reference to contemporary craft practice and writing and the philosophy of Goethe, Jaspers and Dilthey.

11 April 2008

New Domestic Craft Blog

Ebba Redman an undergraduate jewellery & metalwork student here at Duncan of Jordanstone has started a new blog on Domestic Craft skills. Anyone with an interest in this area should check it out and take part in her poll and make a comment. The crotchet ring left (made by Ebba) was what started her interest in this area.

03 April 2008

Postgraduate student conference

Questions & Hypotheses is a conference for postgraduate students in design to be held this October in Berlin. Organised by the Design Research Network, the event promises to be useful and stimulating for all Masters and PhD students in design - including craft disciplines. More details from here.