Old Stories, New Narratives

Old Stories, New Narratives symposium

a strand of
‘Identity, Collaboration, Sustainability:
an online, international festival of craft’

Old Stories, New Narratives presented three convened panels, on the themes of identity, collaboration and sustainability; themes that underpinned international maker residencies and collaborations and resulted in works exhibited at Meet Make Collaborate.

It was a strand of Identity, Collaboration, Sustainability: an online, international, festival of craft, which took place Monday 27 – Thursday 30 September 2021.

In each panel, makers, curators, historians and researchers considered the future of making practices and process through sharing new ideas about craft practice, research-in-progress and case studies concerning both maker-led and theoretical strategies and what these might have to offer in a global context. Papers provoked and stimulated discussion by asking an array of critical questions about the values we invest in craft and how these values represent who we are, how we are seen and what craft can change.

Use the ‘Watch’ buttons below to view recordings in our dedicated Craft Festival 2021 Vimeo channel.

Symposium Panels

Monday 27 September 2021
14:45-16:15 (BST) / 13:45-15:15 (UTC)

Female artist viewing her ceramic mural installed on a wall behind the altar of a church.

‘Identity’

Tuesday 28 September 2021
14:45-16:15 (BST) / 13:45-15:15 (UTC)

Long wrap around jacket with a single tie at the front and long sleeves made from woven cloth with a geometric pattern in blues, browns, neutral and yellow

‘Collaboration’

Wednesday 29 September 2021
14:45-16:15 (BST) / 13:45-15:15 (UTC)

Detail of beaded cape, depicting a green face with a plaque below with text 'Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?'

‘Sustainability’

The Dr Sandra Alfoldy Craft Institute Talk

Oil painting on fabric of a rural scene in which crops are being harvested and threshed for grain by humans, horses and machines

‘Unsettling Canadian Art History: Materializing Settler Colonialism’
Thursday 30 September 2021
14:45-16:15 (BST) / 13:45-15:15 (UTC)

Professor Erin Morton, Full Professor of Visual Culture, University of New Brunswick.

Introduced by Rebecca Hannon, Associate Professor, NSCAD University.

The talk remembers the work of Dr Sandra Alfoldy, a leading and award-winning educator, researcher, pioneer and authority in the field of Canadian craft history.

Monday 27 September 2021
‘Identity’

Professor Juliette MacDonald (Convenor)

Portrait of female
Professor Juliette MacDonald

Juliette MacDonald, is Professor of Craft History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh. She completed her PhD at the University of St Andrews.

She is International Dean at Shanghai International College of Fashion and Innovation, Donghua University, Shanghai, China, and Distinguished Research Fellow, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Canada. She was Principal-Investigator of the AHRC Network Researching Grant ‘Naked Craft‘, examining the postcolonial, geopolitical relationships between local identities and local modes of production across Nova Scotia, Canada and Scotland, UK.

Her current research focuses on craft, design and material culture and their relationship with creativity, place and identity. She writes on craft, heritage and design theory and practice, and is co-editor of Styling Shanghai (Christopher Breward and Juliette MacDonald, Bloomsbury, 2019). In 2020 she received the Hongqiao Friendship Award in recognition of her role as an envoy for transnational education.

‘Objectual dialogues, Narrative Designs’
Magdalena Cattan Lavin

A woman's hands knotting a string like material into a traditional bag on her lap
Maria knotting ‘chupon’ to make ‘pilwa’, a traditional bag produced by the indigenous mapuche communities for the south coast of Chile.

From an observation of ancestral artisanal practices – maintained, adapted and transformed through time – part of the Chilean contemporary design production has been nourished by a strong sense of local identity and belonging, where functional objects celebrate the “way of doing” that is particular to our cultural landscape.

In this context, the paper proposes an epistemological dialogue between six Chilean designed objects, made by local creators – artisans and designers– using native materials (copper, wood, vegetable fibres, stone and textile) aiming to discuss the validation and revitalisation of ancestral artisanal knowledge through contemporary design production, and its impact on the construction of Chilean design’s identity.

These objects are shown as current receptacles of history and tacit knowledge, whose aesthetic expression accounts for the transformations of the contexts from which they emerge. They outline new stories speaking directly or tangentially about the artisanal communities dynamics and their openness to experimentation; a story that is far from the static notion of craftsmanship as an outsider contemporary design contexts.

The dialogue between these objects is drawn from three elements that resonate connecting the ancestral with the contemporary – Territory, Technology and Aesthetics – attempting to contextualise a current understanding of local identity and its impact for the collaborative relationship between traditional makers and designers.

Female portrait
Magdalena Cattan Lavin

Magdalena Cattan Lavin is a Chilean designer and researcher, currently based in Scotland while completing her PhD at Edinburgh College of Art – the University of Edinburgh. Her thesis studies the relationship between traditional artisans and designers from a critical reflexive perspective in the Chilean Context. The research is centred in three case studies of natural fibre artisanal communities.

In Chile, she is a member of the academic staff of the Design Department at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU), Universidad de Chile and part of the research group ‘Identity and Heritage’. In this line of work, she has coordinated the project ‘Design and innovation for traditional knowledge’ financed by the outreach vice-chancellor from Universidad de Chile (2013-2014) and FAU (2015), and collaborated with the employability program from Fundación Artesanías de Chile (2015). She has presented this work at local and international conferences including in Chile, Mexico, Portugal and Argentina.

Magdalena holds an MA degree in Integrated Design from Köln International School of Design (2012) and an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Universidad de Chile (2007).

‘Entanglements: Craft Identities, Heritage and Tradition’
Susan Surette PhD

Female artist viewing her ceramic mural installed on a wall behind the altar of a church.
Susan Surette studying Exultation, Lorraine Malach. 1982, ceramic mural, l0 ft. x 30 ft., Holy Family Notre Dame Parish Church, Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada.

A particularly thorny concept in craft is “tradition,” a word often bandied about without critically engaging with its possible meanings and myriad implications. Often harnessed to political agendas, tradition can help imagine communities in ways that might entrench or disrupt colonial agendas, question or support roles defined by gender, race/culture and class, link diasporic communities, strengthen the local, and ensure or challenge professional legitimacy. Tradition underpins UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage program, one that safeguards designated and authenticated craft processes, but while it appears twelve times on their website, tradition remains undefined. The values of tradition within the craft world are inflected by national, geographical, and economic identities, the global movement of people, ideas, and goods and the notion of loss. Entangled within tradition and heritage is the fraught concept of authenticity, sought after as an identity marker of, by, and for craftspeople and their objects, but arguably limiting, if like its twin tradition, it is confined to notions of purity. Based on a case study at the Naked Craft workshop (2015) and research undertaken for Craft and Heritage: Intersections in Discourse and Practice (Bloomsbury, Nov. 2021), this paper will interrogate these entanglements within craft discourse and its institutional structures.

Female artist decorating ceramic panels in her studio
Susan Surette at work in her ceramic studio

Susan Surette is a ceramic artist and craft historian who teaches textile, ceramic, and craft histories at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. She co-edited Sloppy Craft: Postdisciplinarity and the Crafts, (2015), a special edition of the Canadian Journal of Art History about Craft (2018-2019), and Craft and Heritage: Intersections in Critical Studies and Practice (Bloomsbury, November 2021). Her research into Canadian ceramics, especially murals, and Canadian craft histories appears in exhibition catalogues and peer reviewed journals and is diffused at national and international conferences. Serving on organizational committees for Canadian craft and jurying ceramic and textile exhibitions are exciting aspects of her work. A resolute craftsperson who loves messing about, she initially worked for thirteen years in fibres before jumping into ceramics. As a member of Studio Surette, she has created ceramic murals and vessels that can be found in public, corporate and private collections. Her passion for craft can be attributed to her mother who explored various media: leather, copper, wood, textiles and even clay, imbuing her from childhood with a love for materials and processes. She is grateful for research funding from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Quebec’s Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et Culture.

‘Untangling threads: forming reparative relationships in the spaces between our ancestral stories and textile crafts’
Arielle Walker

Textile artwork blowing in the wind on the beach, with the sea, cliffs and stacks in the distance
‘first soft light of the rising sun’ (2020); foraged plant dyes (angiangi / goat’s beard lichen, dock root, gorse, harakeke, kānuka, lupin, onion skin, tanekaha bark) on handed-down silk, cotton muslin, and linen; artist’s Grandmother’s threads. 1820 x 4700mm. Photographed in Taranaki, Aotearoa / New Zealand with the assistance of Emily Parr and Makyla Curtis

Stories act as functions of weaving and are intrinsically connected to acts of making. Shared histories of craft and language link cultural memories and communities together, and are irrevocably tied to cultural identity. Through systematic colonisation and capitalist / industrial models of making, our stories and craft traditions have been altered, shifted, lost over time. Fortunately, as The Textile Reader (London: Berg, 2012) states: “Textiles remember. […] Moments of joy and tragedy are recorded onto the surface and embedded in the structure of the cloth […] because the textile is a record keeper.”; 57. Through an exploration of poetic textiles, this paper discusses how cross-disciplinary, conversational practices might form new relationships with these ancestral traditions.

This paper further considers how collaborative acts of making and storytelling can be woven into tactile, experiential encounters that enable reparative relationships to form, building on knowledge passed down through lines of our tūpuna wāhine (female ancestors). In doing so, it describes working with whakapapa (genealogy) as a tacit, palimpsestic methodology that engages the layering of histories and experiences: across oceans, across cultures, across time. By looking to the past, we can untangle the threads that bind us to our traditions; our stories, and crafts; and in the act of re-weaving, find new pathways to reciprocal belonging.

Seated female in artist workshop
Arielle Walker, photographer: Emily Parr

Arielle Walker is a New Zealand-based contemporary artist, writer, and maker of Taranaki, Ngāruahine, Ngāpuhi, and Scottish/Irish/English (Pākehā) descent.

She has exhibited widely across Aotearoa (New Zealand), including with St Paul Street Gallery, Te Tuhi, Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Masterworks, Objectspace, Corban Estate, and Malcolm Smith Gallery; and in festivals such as the inaugural Whānau Mārama exhibition, Auckland Art Festival, and the Taranaki Festival of Lights. Her writing has been published in journals and by institutions including Tupuranga Journal, Lieu Journal, Oscen, Turbine | Kapohau, Art News New Zealand, Objectspace and the New Zealand Fashion Museum.

Currently working on a practice-led PhD at AUT University, her practice seeks pathways towards reciprocal belonging through the intersections and connections between land, language, and craft, focusing on tactile storytelling and ancestral narratives. Contexts that surround this include the interconnectedness of islands, migration across the swell and pull of the ocean, stories and textile traditions passed down through generations, roots and botanical belongings.

Tuesday 28 September 2021
‘Collaboration’

Denis Longchamps (Convenor)

Male with beard, wearing glasses, shirt, tie and jacket
Denis Longchamps

Denis Longchamps is the Executive Director & Chief Curator at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario. He has been appointed as a NSCAD Research Fellow for the term July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2024, and as an Associate Member of the Gail and Stephen Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art. He was from 2013 to 2018, the Artistic Director and Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington. He received his PhD in art history in 2009 from Concordia University where he was the administrator of the Jarislowsky Institute from 2006 to 2011. Longchamps also taught art and craft history at Concordia University (Montreal), York University (Toronto) and at Dawson College (Montreal). He has contributed essays, articles and reviews to magazines and journals such as Ceramics Monthly and Ceramics Art and Perception. Recent curatorial projects include the touring exhibition Naked Craft (a collaboration between Canada & Scotland, 2015-2017), Public Art in Glass (2020), Collecting Clay and Glass (2019). He is presently working on clay and glass exhibition projects on diversity and inclusion and craftivism. He was the publisher and managing editor of Cahiers métiers d’art: Craft Journal (2006-2016). Denis Longchamps is the recipient of the 2020 John and Barbara Mather Award for Lifetime Achievement (Craft Ontario).

‘Makers’ Tale, Salisbury Arts Centre 14 September – 30 October 2021’
Loucia Manopoulou & Mirka Golden-Hann

Three men with digital sound recording equipment and balloons in a cathedral
Recordings for PLANGENCY in Salisbury Cathedral, 26 February 2020, with Dr Harry Whalley, Composer, UCA, Reader in Sound and Music.

This joint presentation between a curator and a ceramic artist, accompanied by audio-visual materials, investigates contemporary approaches to craft knowledge through the lens of collaboration. The paper considers Makers’ Tale exhibition part of the Salisbury International Arts Festival 2020 (SIAF 2020), at Salisbury Arts Centre part of Wiltshire Creative.

The main theme of SIAF 2020 is movement, inspired by the octocentenary of the relocation of Salisbury Cathedral from its original and no longer suitable site to its current iconic position. Makers’ Tale is the result of collaboration between University for the Creative Arts and Wiltshire Creative in association with Salisbury Cathedral. The Cathedral has witnessed a continuum of learning and the passing on of craft skills for the last 800 years.

The creative enquiry into the legacy and current practice of the Cathedral Works Department is a pivotal component of the project. Sennett (2008) expresses the importance of transferring the knowledge of skilled practice, while Harrod suggests that craft is dependent on knowledge that is ‘tacit, practical or embodied’ (Harrod 2018:15). The modern crossovers from the areas of music, new technologies, and interactive sound installation are used to integrate craft knowledge into an innovative, lived or embedded experience for audiences.

Female portrait
Loucia Manopoulou

Loucia Manopoulou MA, MRes is a curator and researcher who works across the fields of craft, design and contemporary art. Loucia’s research interests lie in the field of contemporary British Crafts and curatorship with particular emphasis on performance and performativity. Currently, curator at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell and PhD candidate at University for the Creative Arts, investigating curatorial practice as a mode of research.

Standing female holding a white ceramic pot which is red on the inside
Mirka Golden-Hann

Mirka Golden-Hann has a BA(Hons) Ceramics from Harrow, University of Westminster 1999 and MA Ceramics at Bath Spa University at 2009 funded by AHRC. She is a Resident Artist and Head of Visual Arts at Wiltshire Creative where she runs her own practice as well as a busy ceramic studio and is in charge of the exhibition programme.

‘Knowledge Weaving: The application of bidirectional publishing in the crafts’
Dr Kevin Murray

Group of men and women standing and seated, some waving at the camera
Dr Kevin Murray at a workshop on the promise object with Iranian jewellers in Mahe Mehr Institute, Tehran.

A new global generation of thinker-makers requires a knowledge base that is responsive to the workshop as well as the library. As part of development of a Knowledge House for Craft, a Knowledge Weaving Laboratory is establishing a process for gathering important information of enduring relevance, beginning with the argument for the value of craft. This involves use of the new series of bidirectional linking apps that enable a process of weaving references with concepts. This will hopefully reintroduce a guild-like collectively into the publication process.

Standing man holding a magazine gesturing to an audience
Dr Kevin Murray at the first launch for Garland Magazine

Kevin Murray is editor of Garland magazine, a platform for sharing the stories behind objects made by hand today. He is Secretary of World Crafts Council – Australia and board member of World Crafts Council – International. In 2000-2007 he was Director of Craft Victoria where he developed the Scarf Festival and the South Project, He has curated many exhibitions, including ‘Water Medicine: Precious Works for an Arid Continent‘; and ‘Seven Sisters: Fibre Works from the West’. His books include Craft Unbound: Make the Common Precious (Thames & Hudson, 2005) and with Damian Skinner, Place and Adornment: A History of Contemporary Jewellery in Australia and New Zealand (Bateman, 2014).

‘The impact of eco-friendly fashion design processes on hand weaving in Thailand: The Tai Lue Project’
Alison Welsh

Long wrap around jacket with a single tie at the front and long sleeves made from woven cloth with a geometric pattern in blues, browns, neutral and yellow
Jacket cut from one piece of Tai Lue woven cloth, designed by Alison Welsh

Working in collaboration with the British Council, the Tai Lue Project has developed methods of empowering female weavers in Nan Province, Thailand, to enable the women to realise the creative and business potential of their hand-loomed textiles. The project investigated methods of equipping the weavers with knowledge in eco-friendly design thinking, and new methods of integrating their cultural identity into their cloth. The investigation focused on three weaving villages, which were on the brink of abandoning their cultural heritage – they had adopted chemical dyes, and were increasing the use of synthetic yarns. A programme of intensive and extensive participatory design workshops was initiated, which ran intermittently over a three-year period. The investigation focused on methods of developing social innovation, incorporating sustainable and ethical production methods, and brought a fashion perspective to the re-vitalising of traditional craft practices.

The research revealed the need to re-think the weavers’ product promotion, to create new contemporary, commercially viable garments, and to ensure that their business model maximised the economic potential of their environmentally friendly hand-dyed fabrics. The research also identified a need to explore methods of encouraging a new generation of skilled designers, weavers and businesswomen to engage with the craft.

Watch Crafting Futures: The Tai Lue Project film.

Female with shoulder length hair, wearing glasses, a white shirt and a large necklace
Alison Welsh, photographer: Daniel Morrell

Alison Welsh is a fashion designer, educator and researcher who works with communities and museums, advocating fashion and textiles as an instrument for sustainability and social change. She has a special interest in slow fashion, in hand-made artisanal textiles and in developing methods of valuing the work of all those involved in garment production.

She worked as a trend forecaster in London for 10 years. After moving into academia she headed up the award-winning BA (Hons) Fashion course at the Manchester School of Art for twenty years, then went on to be Head of Department and Head of Fashion Research at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her fashion practice explores the use of contemporary craft within garment design, through collaborative projects in Thailand and India. Her recent projects Raising Awareness of Value (RAV): Women and Crafts in India (with Pearl Academy) and The Tai Lue Project (with Chiang Mai University) were both undertaken within the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme. Her work has been exhibited in the UK, the Netherlands, India, Japan, China, and Thailand.

Wednesday 29 September 2021
‘Sustainability’

Carol Sinclair (Convenor)

Seated female in front of a white wall with ceramic pieces on it
Carol Sinclair

Carol Sinclair is a ceramic artist with more than 30 years experience of running her own practice exploring the themes of memory and connection to one another and to the environment. Placing a maker’s perspective at the forefront of all her work, she also initiates and facilitates projects to enable skill and knowledge exchange and to celebrate and champion the role of craft in contemporary international society. Working with Scottish and global partners including the British Council, Carol has run projects that connect craft communities from around the world. Most recently this has included the development of digital tools to enable meaningful creative and professional exchange at a distance.

Sustainability and environmentally conscious ways of working sit at the core of Carol’s own practice and she is currently experimenting with a new hybrid material that combines clay with biodegradable plastic. In her role as Chair of Applied Arts Scotland, she facilitates the Closing the Loop Research Group to promote circularity in making and the sharing of good practice. She is particularly interested in the role of digital and immersive technologies to support and enhance traditional and contemporary hand making practices.

‘Paint Lake, Manitoba Canada craft beadwork artist’
Teresa Burrows

Detail of beaded cape, depicting a green face with a plaque below with text 'Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?'
‘Cease and desist the sin eater’ cape (detail), 2021, Teresa Burrows

The arctic is melting. The amazon is burning. And for a sixpence you can buy salvation from a sin eater. Will we recognize our complicity with the cease and desist world of corporate alters of greed and appropriation. 350 years after the Hudson Bay company fur trade, the beaver wants their land back!

Manitoba beavers, nearly extinct from fur trapping, were nurtured in the 1930s only to be flooded by hydro development in the 1960s. Ironically, they have relatives surviving in Argentina (after being introduced in the 1940s, to start their fur industry). Seventy-five years later, without natural predators, twenty-five beavers are now 100,000+ and are wreaking havoc with a sensitive ecosystem in Argentina / Chile. Beavers, like my practice are obsessed with deconstruction and reconstruction.

These misplaced Manitoba beavers tell us a cautionary tale about playing God with Mother Nature. I have fashioned a series that is recreated from recycled fur stretchers, beaver fur, and beadwork. My “cease and desist sin eater” cape laments their damnation and cries for adoration. My “by the skin of their teeth” will marry the beaver teeth DNA genome sequence, embracing identity in northern Manitoba with their Orkney ancestors through art and recycled, beaded point blankets.

Female artist stitching beads on to a textile artwork in her log cabin, with handmade objects hanging on the wall
Tersea Burrows

Teresa Burrows is a Canadian Craft Artist.

At times living and creating in a log cabin at Paint Lake, (northern) Manitoba Canada, has isolated Teresa from the contemporary art / fine craft scene. However her unapologetic feral lifestyle, work at the Ma Mow We Tak Friendship Centre and working as a probation officer, addictions counsellor and mother have influenced the mediums and themes used in her art.

After two back surgeries in 1996 and 800km north of the nearest urban art centre, her professional artist career has seen her work, done in paint, photography, mixed media and beadwork installations, showcased at international, national, provincial and regional exhibitions, and in glass art performances. Her art has journeyed through issues of women, of isolation, suicide, abuse, violence, sexuality, self esteem and other mental health experiences. These works are layered with personal and societal histories, mythology, folklore and fairy tales and collected pieces of northern Manitoba Canada.

She has spent over 15 years creating mixed media glass beadworks. Starting as photographic digital art templates, many obsessive hours have gone into creation. She hopes to draw the audience into the intimacy of the medium, tiny pieces of glass sewn together. She wants to showcase a mastery of colour and design that moves the work beyond a history of decoration into a contemporary vision and narrative. She likes to incorporate the beads into leathers, fur and skins with elements of bone, antler and the natural world that produces sustainable materials.

As a recipient of confidential conversations, the works often reveal as enigmatic portraits and self portraits; allowing the view but not necessarily defining it, so personal perceptions and questions can exist. Numerous long term simultaneous projects mean some are in different stages of completion or evolving with new ideas. In recent years, it is a juggling act of projects half done.

‘Virtual reality, craft and today’s challenges’
Maija Nygren

Young female child laying out colourful pieces of knitting to create a piece of clothing on a white ground
Kids making pieces in the Puzzleware project (2020), Maija Nygren, Almaborealis Ltd

With a lack of craft education in schools and the domination of fast fashion, fast interiors, fast toys and fast everything, consumers of all ages have little chance to stop and think where everyday objects come from, what they are made with and how much natural resources and human effort has gone into making them. This lack of connection to material goods can lead to rapid disposal, either because the season’s trend has moved on or perhaps the object becomes unfit for purpose due to its poor-quality materials and/or construction.

Handmade, crafted and home-made items contain stories, have built emotional connections and meaning between the user and the item. These artefacts are oftentimes kept either in use, or as keepsakes for long periods of time and disposal is actively avoided.

In this presentation I will share the practical exploration of my own craft practice through virtual reality, the impact that VR has had to my everyday practice and the realisations that have arisen through this experience.

I will share my findings on the role I believe VR could play in keeping craft skills alive, opening opportunities for first contact to craft experiences to audiences who may not have come across craft practices before. I will discuss VR’s potential as an educational tool from a climate challenge / sustainability perspective, in providing immersive experiences and connecting audiences to the source of all the stuff, we all use in everyday life.

Female artist showing a line drawing of a short sleeved shirt to a young child
Maija Nygren

Maija Nygren of Almaborealis Ltd is a craft educator and designer of meaningful objects and experiences. Maija graduated with a BA(Hons) and an MA in Knitwear from Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles where she specialised in participatory and circular economy design of kidswear. Co-creation and connection making through clothing are the focus of her designs and research, and much of her work is inspired by the early learning theories of Frobel and Montessori and classic toy designers Alma Siedhoff-Buscher and Fredun Shapur, whose works still nurtures independent, inquisitive, resilient and responsible citizens. Maija’s current work develops craft learning tools and experiences for young audiences, in both virtual and ‘real’ realities.

‘Futures of Creative Work: Sustainable Making Practices’
Dr Inge Panneels & Dr Susan Lechelt

Graphic of white symbols on a black ground with with text 'Quintuple Bottom Line: Profit, Planet, people, Purpose, Place'
Dr Inge Panneels Dr Susan Lechelt research

This paper explores how creative practices take ethical and environmentally sustainable approaches to their creative making practices. In the paper we present a number of case studies from the creative sector, and crafts in particular, which demonstrate a move towards economic models that expand on the notions of growth alone, and include social and ecological benefit (Gauntlett: 2011; Bennett: 2012; Wilson et al: 2019). The case studies, drawn from around the Creative Informatics project (Elsden and Lechelt, 2021), highlight alternative methods of distribution, access and production of creative works and enterprises. We particularly explore how digital technology and data driven innovation may help support ethical and environmentally sustainable approaches to their everyday activities. We put this in context of a circular, Doughnut Economics (Raworth: 2018), which puts both people and planet at the heart of a radical new way of thinking about the economy. We argue that the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework (2016), in turn informed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is a step towards a new politics that supports Doughnut Economics, and explore this through the Quadruple Bottom Line (QBL).

Female artist polishing the edge of a sheet of coloured glass in her studio
Dr Inge Panneels

Inge Panneels is a maker with over twenty years of practice, using glass as a main medium to respond to site. She is also a postdoctoral researcher at Edinburgh Napier University on the Creative Informatics project with an interest in how data can be harnessed to inform better environmental decision making for material based practices

Female portrait
Dr Susan Lechelt

Susan Lechelt is a postdoctoral researcher in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. Her research explores how to enable people to think critically about the technologies and data that surround them – typically by designing personally meaningful tangible interfaces and speculative interventions, aimed to spark reflection.

Thursday 30 September 2021
The Dr Sandra Alfoldy Craft Institute Talk

‘Unsettling Canadian Art History: Materializing Settler Colonialism’
Professor Erin Morton

Oil painting on fabric of a rural scene in which crops are being harvested and threshed for grain by humans, horses and machines
‘These Good Old Threshing Days’ by Jan Wyers, ca. 1955, oil on fabric, 71.1 x 99.1cm, Mackenzie Art Gallery

Examining the material legacies of Canadian art history requires grappling with the messy colonial afterlives of settler colonialism and enslavement in the northern North American context. This talk will examine the material culture legacies of two centuries of European colonial invasion and occupation beginning with the British artists who cleared land along the Wəlastəkw|Saint John river in the eighteenth century. Using a wide range of visual examples from textiles to woodcarvings to paintings by untrained documentary military artists, I show that European settler art has acted as neither a neutral nor an innocent category of cultural production, but rather as a direct vector of violent imperial expansion for French and British empires and, later, for the Canadian settler state.

Seated female holding a young child, with a seascape behind
Professor Erin Morton

Erin Morton is a white settler scholar living in Ekwpahak|Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, where she is Full Professor of Visual Culture at the University of New Brunswick. She has published two books with McGill-Queen’s University Press, Negotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada (2014) and For Folk’s Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia (2016). Her most recent book, Unsettling Canadian Art History (also with McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022), brings together fifteen scholars of art and culture to address visual and material culture histories of settler colonialism, enslavement, and racialized diasporas in the contested white settler state of Canada.

Her most recent work examines histories of whiteness, feminism, kinship, sexuality, and state making under settler colonialism from the early modern period to the present. Two recent articles on this research include “White Settler Death Drives: Settler Statecraft, White Possession, and Multiple Colonialisms under Treaty 6,” Cultural Studies 33, no. 3 (2019): 437-459; and (co-authored with Travis Wysote) “‘The Depth of the Plough’: White Settler Tautologies and Pioneer Lies,” Settler Colonial Studies 9, no. 4 (2019): 479-504. She has also examined these concepts and histories in relation to contemporary popular culture, most recently in “Of Folksongs and Feral Children: Taylor Swift’s White Settler Womanhood,” Heliotrope (October 14, 2020).

Rebecca Hannon

Female portrait
Rebecca Hannon

Rebecca Hannon serves as associate professor in the Craft Division, as well as co-directing the Dr. Sandra Alfoldy Craft Institute at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. Cultural histories gleaned through place, travel, and the people she meets shape her work. Hannon conducted research in India, San Francisco and Amsterdam over the past years and presented outcomes at SOFA Chicago and the Canadian Craft Biennial. Recent exhibitions include Ornamentum Gallery (New York) and Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h (Montreal) as well as inclusion in Museum of Art & Design (NYC), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal surveys.

A multi-year research project called “Contemporary Camouflage” investigates warning coloration and mimicry in nature and adornment. Jewellery pieces from this series often incorporate innovative linking systems and colorways. Traditional craft practice as well as innovative digital forms of fabrication are important to the artist and she has been exploring the possibilities of sheet porcelain and laminate materials for 15+ years.

“I work in series and find each new grouping a challenge to create tension between narrative, and the right medium to evoke meaning. Materials are endless; one must search and then concentrate to find the message.”

For the symposium, we are delighted to be working with our Scottish partner, Professor Juliette MacDonald, Professor of Craft History and Theory at Edinburgh College of Art and Distinguished Research Fellow at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design.