This seems an important event for our time:
MAKING FUTURES: THE CRAFTS IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
CONFERENCE WEBSITE AT: http://makingfutures.pcad.ac.uk
CONFIRMED KEYNOTE SPEAKER: PROFESSOR RICHARD SENNETT (USA)
‘Making Futures’ will be held on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th September 2009 within the magnificently sited Mount Edgcumbe estate on the River Tamar opposite the city of Plymouth, Devon, UK.
The CALL FOR ABSTRACTS is now open and the closing date for receipt is 1st April 2009. ‘Making Futures’ invites submissions from craft practitioners, curators, historians, theorists, campaigners, activists, and representatives from public and private institutions with an interest in the relationship between the contemporary crafts and sustainability issues.
The aims of the ‘Making Futures’ research conference are to improve understanding of the ways in which the contemporary crafts are responding to ideas and agendas connected with global environmental and sustainability issues. Also, to try to discern whether these new imperatives present opportunities for the crafts to redefine and reconstitute themselves as less marginalised, more centrally productive forces in society.
The crafts, perhaps more than many areas of creative practice, have instinctively strong affinities with concerns for environmentally responsible and sustainable development. For example, Western craft ideals (perhaps less so realities) have typically sought to mobilise aesthetic experience as a key dimension and expression of responsible living in the face of mass industrialization – through their empathy with natural materials and the natural world, and through ‘slow’ and cooperative models of living. Indeed, important initiatives in pursuit of ethical and sustainable development objectives continue to take place within craft enterprises and agencies today. But the fact remains that our understanding of the interactions between the contemporary crafts and the modern environmental and sustainability ‘movements’ remains largely uncharted, unrepresented and under-theorised.
‘Making Futures’ takes up this challenge and will explore the ways in which environmental and sustainability discourses might be leading to new formulations, or re-articulations, of craft practices, identities, positions and markets, in ways that might engage more directly with contemporary social, cultural and economic needs. Perhaps even, to recover ideological purpose.
The conference scope is international and will welcome accounts from non-western contexts, especially those experiencing rapid industrial and urban development and newly expanding consumer markets. These will be contrasted with analysis from within the so-called post-industrial ‘leisure economies’ of the West in order to generate comparative insights and heighten awareness of the trans-national nature of many of the issues. The conference is therefore interested in inputs arising from across the full spectrum of crafts practice today. This includes makers of individual works who place a premium on traditional processes, locales, skills and haptic qualities; designer-makers producing limited editions and batch-produced artifacts; and artist-craftspeople whose work might be more conceptually-based – perhaps consciously drawing upon cross-disciplinary and hybridized practices to critically reflect upon global dialogues and forms of exchange.
This inclusiveness of practice and trans-cultural perspective will in all instances be grounded in studies that evince convincing connections with ethical, environmental and sustainability concerns.
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