29 November 2009

V&A at Dundee : Making it Happen

The University of Dundee is at the forefront of the V&A at Dundee initiative. The project aims to establish a cultural portal at the heart of the city’s waterfront development with input from the Victoria & Albert Museum, a move which would complement the strong creative movement which already exists in Dundee.

This unique opportunity would build on Dundee’s growing reputation as a centre of excellence for contemporary art and design, and help provide a focus on the cultural activities the city can offer.  A two-phase independent feasibility study, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise and Dundee City Council has concluded that a presence for the Victoria & Albert Museum in Dundee could regenerate the city centre, attract up to 250,000 visitors a year, create up to 900 jobs and inject millions of pounds into the local economy.

The project took a huge step forward in August 2009 when Michael Russell MSP, Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution, announced the Scottish Government’s intention to support the V&A at Dundee. By committing a significant financial investment for the project, ministers hope to emulate the success of the Guggenheim Museum which opened a branch in Bilbao in 1997, a move which played a major part in the economic regeneration of that city. 

This ground-breaking venture will be delivered by a partnership of local bodies —Dundee City Council, Scottish Enterprise, the Universities of Dundee and Abertay —and the V&A, the world’s Number One museum of art and design.

V&A at Dundee will be housed in a world-class building on a stunning waterfront site. An international competition for the building will be launched in early 2010, and the quality of the building and the creativity it will unleash will drive forward Dundee’s renaissance as an exemplar European small city.

It will do three things:

·       attract visitors to international quality travelling  and permanent exhibitions in the creative arts put together by the V&A and others;
·       create a rich educational resource for researchers and students of all ages; and
·       provide a nucleus and launchpad for applied artists and creative businesses in Scotland.

You can help by showing your support for the V&A at Dundee and the wide range of cultural initiatives taking place within the city.

17 November 2009


Scottish based Roy Shearer is the face behind this work.

Niftymitter is a short range FM transmitter based on the open source hardware design by Tetsuo Kogawa, housed within a cardboard body, with a variety of options for hacking. The transmitter is tiny and handy for small scale radio broadcasts, building a distributed PA system for performances, linking your personal audio player to your car radio, or for general audio experimentation.

Be a tester!

In December 2009 Roy will be sending out a hacking kit to 6 people and you could be one of them! The kit will contain the stable build of Niftymitter v0.2x and a whole host of bits and bobs to add on to it to adapt its function and behaviour. You don’t have to have any technical knowledge or interest to take part, merely some curiosity for Niftymitter or for broadcasting sound wirelessly. I would prefer it if you don’t know me personally so, will give preference to those living farther away, but in the UK. If you are interested, email me at info(at)openthing(dot)org with some info about yourself.

Roy is one of 3 awardees of the 2009 Crafts Creative Development bursary at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee, Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Arts Council. The purpose of the bursaries is to support individuals to create new work through awards of up to £10,000. The work created through the bursary scheme will be part of an exhibition at the 2010 Craft Festival Scotland organised by the Past, Present and Future Craft Practice research team.

29 September 2009

Craft Scotland's 'C' Word Campaign

With Emma Walker at the helm, Craft Scotland have a refreshing new marketing strategy and are taking the sector straight to the heart of public life. This is no more evident than their new C word campaign which is set to promote Scotland’s craft industries as innovative and desirable. Hip Hip Hooray to that!

With the launch of a dedicated website supporting the campaign, a cinema commercial - launching in Manchester, London and Minneapolis USA - and a series of interviews with the Times newspaper, Scottish Craft has a genuine future focus and more than just a twist of va va voom!

To find out more about this campaign the Times newspaper have interviewed Emma and are profiling a range of makers engaged in Scottish Craft, with the furniture maker Joachim King, opening this new conversation. You can also follow Craft Scotland on Twitter

24 September 2009

Quilts: hidden histories, untold stories

Sue Prichard's blogging (in support of the forthcoming exhibition 'Quilts: hidden histories, untold stories' at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London) is one of the most consistently enjoyable reads on the web in terms of craft. With an eloquent turn of phrase and a boundless passion for her subject, Sue delivers entertaining, intelligent and refreshingly modern conversation on the craft of quilt making.

Quilts 1750-2010: hidden histories, untold stories
V&A, London
March - July 2010

18 September 2009

Chicks on Speed

In preparation for our Craft Festival next year (with its emphasis on future practice), Frances Stevenson, Laura Simpson and I had a great afternoon in conversation with Alex and Melissa from 'Chicks on Speed'.

Taken from last.fm ...
Chicks on Speed are a female band, born when Alex and Melissa met at the Munich Art Academy in 1997. Chicks on Speed’s core members are Melissa Logan (Upstate NY, USA) and Alex Murray-Leslie (Bowral, Australia), who collaborate with amongst others Anat Ben-David (Tel Aviv, Israel), Kathi Glas (Berlin, Germany) and A.L. Steiner (NY, USA).

Around Chicks on Speed there is grouped a large and ever-changing collective of musicians, producers, fashion and graphic artists, designers, film and video makers, and so on. Though usually considered part of such musical genres as electroclash, actually Chicks on Speed started as a multidisciplinary art group, who applied punk-inspired DIY ethic to performance art, collage graphics and home-made fashion (they have created their own stage costumes with cheap and recycled material such as plastic bags and gaffa tape, for example).

For a look at their work, go have a look at the Viva La Craft exhibition which was held in Melbourne Australia, March-April 2009. Brilliant!

And in person, come and see it in Dundee, Scotland next summer!

15 September 2009

Future Craft

One of the key things we do as part our research is engage in conversation with people from a range of disciplines, in an attempt to develop knowledge and understanding of craft in terms of first principles.

We'd like to extend this conversation that we've been having with you via our BLOG, and as such invite you to join the debate about Future Craft. This is part of our preparation for a futures dialogue which we are organising with Dr Glenn Adamson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, next summer (10-11 June, 2010).

11 Ways (and counting) to Consider 'Future Craft'
  • As a process that unites a range of creative endeavours
  • As human intervention within real world scenarios
  • As a vehicle for and of cultural, political and social commentary
  • As a form of radical innovation
  • As a research path concerned with intellectual experimentation
  • A discipline that mindfully respects and disrespects tradition
  • A methodology that unites the past, present and future perspectives of creative practice
  • A philosophy articulating the creation of knowledge through making
  • As a space in between established fields of enquiry
  • As aesthetic commentary
  • As a way to irritate and/or inspire people
Plus Some Ways to Consider Contemporary Craftsmanship
  • Skill honed to the 'master' level
  • A word denoting meticulous attention to detail
  • 10 000 hours of dedicated practice
  • An act of human labour
  • A practical process

Our futures dialogue with the V&A London, comes in the form of a 2-day symposium entitled, 'Prototype: craft in the future tense.'

We'll be in touch soon with more info for debate and discussion, but for now, pls follow the link.

19 June 2009

Jerwood Visual Arts

Geoffrey Mann (2009) and Drummond Masterton (2008) are two contemporary makers who exemplify the idea of post-disciplinary practice and over the past two years have been winners of the Jerwood Visual Arts awards.

Both Drummond and Geoffrey were commissioned in 2007 to work with Dr Louise Valentine as part of her Mindful Inquiry research. The results of which will be disseminated in Spring / Summer 2010.

The Jerwood Visual Arts website is home to The Jerwood "In Conversation" series 2008 - one-hour public conversations between two artist /makers /designers/ choreographers /architects as a means of increasing awareness of the shared practice of materials concerns, conceptual rigor and application processes undertaken by artist, makers and designers.

The "in conversation" series explored the connections between practice and the shared values held by the practitioners in these conversations. For example,

Monday 16th June - 6pm till 7.15pm - Cornelia Parker and Ron Arad

Listen now

material ecology

Neri Oxman is an architect and researcher whose work attempts to establish news forms of experimental design and novel processes of material practice at the interface of design, computer science, material engineering and ecology. (taken from her website - www.materialecology.com).

She is currently based at MIT where she is a Presidential Fellow working towards her PhD. Named as one of the 100 most creative people in business by 'Fast Company' (June 2009) she argues that "on the fringes [...] is where disruptive innovation begins".

02 June 2009

Handcrafting Computational Media

The work of Maggie Orth and her Electronic Textiles or textile computing devices are worth getting to know a bit better...an MIT PhD graduate, Maggie's work is concerned with active and programmable materials in textile design.

The enjoyment and quality of her craft for me, lies not simply in the experimental manner that she approaches interactive technology, smart materials and the weaver’s loom but the way she considers people and their emotional and sensorial engagement in the experience of electronic textiles. Her work retains a respect for the tradition of textiles while demonstrating responsibility for the future of the discipline, nurturing a dialogue with other knowledge domains while critically prodding alternative technological methods and material cultures.

To listen to Maggie talk about the her PhD work in terms of concept, material and technology visit utube.

29 May 2009

Making A Slow Revolution - Helen Carnac

This blog aims to provide a forum for open discussion around the contribution of contemporary craft to the philosophies presented within the slow movement. [Carnac & Craftspace] feel that these philosophies reflect many of the current concerns and interests that makers are exploring within their practices and the evolving identity of craft. It is an opportunity to connect some of the emergent discussions within craft and its recent movements to the slow debate.

The blog form[s] the thread which runs through a research project exploring ideas of slowness within craft. [Their] aim is that this project can be a reflexive process that informs our curation of a major national touring exhibition for Craftspace and which will launch at the end of 2009. A blog provides the opportunity to encourage open discussion, a value that is characteristic of the slow movement. Your contributions enable you to inform the research and exhibition and ensure that the ideas we present resonate within the experiences and interest of those working within the craft arena.

16 April 2009

Everyday Creativity: creativity and cognition conference 09

Authors should submit papers related to the main conference theme 'Everyday Creativity' and the suggested topics given below. The conference organizers hope that these threads will both inspire and shape submitter's presentations:

* Collective creativity and creative communities
* Shared languages and participatory creativity
* Incubating creativity and supporting Innovation
* DIY and folk creativity
* Democratising creativity
* New materials for creativity
* Enriching the collaborative experience

The creative experience broadly includes sensations, embodiment, emotions, perceptions, and behaviours. This is especially true in interacting with representations, materials and technologies that support and underpin individual and collaborative creativity. We welcome papers that consider both the nature of the materials and the experiential vision of creativity support tools as a medium for emotions, sociability and pleasure, as well as ethnographic field work, and first-hand accounts or investigations.

Two prizes are awarded for papers. One to the greatest technical/ scientific contribution and one to the most creative contribution. Prizes are generously provided by the Creativity and Cognition Studios.

April 24, 2009
Please note that the submission site will close on April 24 and we will not accept any submissions after that date.

Papers must be submitted via the electronic submission system.
Papers must be anonymous and should be a maximum of 10 pages in ACM SIGCHI two-column conference format.

15 April 2009

Hella Jongerius :: a continuing inspiration

Designer Hella Jongerius (1963) has become known for the special way she fuses industry and craft, high and low tech, tradition and the contemporary.

After graduating Eindhoven Design Academy in 1993 she started her own design company, Jongeriuslab, through which she produces her own projects and projects for clients such as Maharam (New York), Royal Tichelaar Makkum (The Netherlands), Vitra (Basel) and IKEA (Sweden).

Her work has been shown at museums and galleries such as the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (New York), MoMA (New York), the Design Museum (London), Galerie KREO (Paris) and Moss gallery (New York).

26 March 2009

NEW MSc Craft & Creative Business Degree Launched!

A new postgraduate degree at the University of Dundee - MSc Craft and Creative Business - will take its first students in September 2009.

This exciting new course is the only generic, multidisciplinary postgraduate crafts programme in the UK dedicated to developing and integrating contemporary craft practice and crafts business. It answers the sector’s need for craftspeople to hold specific business knowledge that enables them to become internationally established. This course addresses entrepreneurialism and business strategy for crafts practitioners.

It is a one-year full time programme taught by leading experts at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Duncan of Jordanstone is one of the few art & design Colleges in the UK that is part of a world-class university “where researchers routinely push back the boundaries of knowledge and teachers inspire their charges”. (Sunday Times, 2008)

For more information, visit the course webpage.

V&A and Duncan of Jordanstone College student success

3rd Year textile design student, Kirsty Fenton has won the 'Hidden Histories, Untold Stories' quilt project organised by the major AHRC funded 'Past, Present and Future Craft Practice' research project and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The prize is an exciting and rare opportunity to make her quilt for inclusion within the V&A 2010 exhibition, in the thematic display 'Making a Living' where she will be exhibiting alongside international artists such as Grayson Perry, Viktor & Rolf and Tracey Emin. As lead judge and curator of the V&A 2010 exhibition, Sue Prichard said, 'Kirsty's work combines an uncomfortable truth regarding child labour but does so in a way which is thoughtful, evocative and also beautifully constructed and made'.

Principle design lecturer for the textile project, Josie Steed offered her congratulations to all the students taking part in the competition who responded to the brief with enthusiasm and intelligence.

20 March - 4 July, 2010
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

For further information please visit: http://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/future_exhibs/Quilts/index.html

24 March 2009

Little Stories

    Interactive Jeweller, Sarah Kettley has been attached to the AHRC 'Past, Present and Future Craft Practice' project since January 2009 through the pilot Scottish Arts Council Crafts Development Bursary scheme. On Wednesday 1st April at Duncan of Jordanstone College in Dundee, she will reflect on her time in the Masters of Design studio with reference to the original aims of the residency, outlining the ‘Little Stories’, or strands of research, that she has been pursuing. Funding was awarded to support “a practice led investigation of craft through engagement with the emerging needs of critical and functional interaction design”, and the subsequent demonstration of craft as a discipline to other fields of creative practice.

    The Little Stories that have emerged include Early Moves, the design of attachments for body worn sensor networks for pre school children in a project investigating rich motor control development, and Migration, starting points for a lo-tech formal design method for working with state change materials. In addition, the residency has provided a valuable space for reflection on the development of a new area of practice, and Sarah will take the opportunity here to pull out some of the commonalities in her work in fashion and textiles, jewellery and interaction design, to create new directions for research and creative outputs, and to create a positive narrative of an interdisciplinary and experimental practice.

23 March 2009

Scottish Craft Bursary Opportunities

A fantastic bursary opportunity for craft practitioners supported by the Scottish Arts Council and Duncan of Jordanstone College, University of Dundee!

Following on a highly successful pilot study, up to three Craft funded placements at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD), each of 3 months duration, are being offered to creative practitioners to take place during the period 1st August – 11th December 2009. These are being offered through the Scottish Arts Council’s (SAC) Crafts Creative Development Awards which support individuals to create new work through awards of up to £10,000. The work created through the bursary scheme will be part of an exhibition at the 2010 Craft Festival. Successful awardees during the pilot study were Gillian Cooper (Textile Artist) and Sarah Kettley (Interactive Jeweller).

This is a rare opportunity for crafts practitioners to update their creative practice through having access to equipment, facilities and College research staff as appropriate. Applicants wishing to apply for one of the placements should do so by 20th April 2009, having previously discussed their proposal with relevant College staff.

For more information on this opportunity please see
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/design/craftbursaries2009.php or

Enquiries may be directed to ppfcp@dundee.ac.uk.