Creative Industries: Craft Explorations
Alison Bell (University of the West of Scotland) | Re _ connect: consequences of a re-imagining
As part of an art practice based PhD exploring the subjective experience of the ageing woman artist, a textile installation embodying a series of ‘departing selves’ was created and subsequently filmed, with the artist becoming both director and viewer. Through this re-seeing, fresh insight and new meaning was revealed, leading to a collaboration between the artist and a musician, whereby personally significant sounds collected by the artist were reinterpreted by the musician and now form an integral part of the video. This unanticipated re-imagining raises interesting questions around intentionality, authorship and cross-media collaboration.
Jane Watts (BCU) | Increasing the possibilities? – exploring the value and relevance of the labels ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ within contemporary craft practice
Shifts in the nature of labour and leisure, democratisation of technologies, and the rise of a networked society have provided new opportunities for the amateur craft-maker, irrevocably changing the commercial landscape for the professional. Could we be witnessing a ‘New Industrial Revolution’ (Anderson, C. 2012) as a consequence of changes in the way we produce, distribute and consume craft? New spaces exist for makers to develop processes and products, and to collaborate. The shift towards a ‘making-and-doing-culture’ (Gauntlett, D. 2011), and resurgence of DIY aesthetics could provide exciting opportunities to share skills, ideas and knowledge. First-hand experience as Craft Adviser at the Women’s Institute enabled me to observe ‘new wave’ entrepreneurial amateur makers who are testing the boundaries of traditional craft aesthetics. Collaborative projects brought WI members together with makers from other contexts to co-create; the collision of two worlds provoked some pertinent questions about impact, status, ethics and authorship. How and why could tensions manifest, and what could the implications be for makers and educators? This exploratory talk aims to raise some of these debates and research questions.
Alison F Bell, DA, FRSA, www.alisonbell.co.uk, is a textile artist, currently finishing a practice based PhD at the University of the West of Scotland, where she is Teaching Fellow in Digital Art and Design.
Jane Watts has a background in commercial printed textile design and has taught at various educational institutions, particularly within design and craft disciplines. Jane’s research as part MA in Creative & Media Enterprise at Warwick University, alongside a role as National Craft Adviser at the Women’s Institute provided the context for the interest in amateur creativity in contemporary craft practices. She also has interests in facilitating inter-institutional participatory projects involving collaborative making processes. Jane currently lectures on the BA Art & Design programme at Birmingham City University.
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