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Making Futures Conference

Date posted: 11/11/2010

Plymouth College of Art announces:
Making Futures: The Crafts as Change-Maker in Sustainably Aware Cultures
Dartington Hall, Dartington Estate, Devon, UK.
15 - 16 September 2011

call for abstracts, deadline: 1 May 2011

Making Futures invites submissions from craft practitioners, curators, historians, theorists, campaigners, activists, and representatives from public and private agencies with an interest in the relationship between the contemporary crafts and sustainability issues.
The purpose of Making Futures is to improve understanding of the ways in which the contemporary crafts are practiced in relation to significant and new developing agendas relating to global environmental and sustainability issues.
The conference explores the idea that these emerging agendas interrupt and restage the possibilities of craft in fundamental ways that are important to makers, their audiences, and to society more generally; that these agendas present opportunities to redefine and reconstitute the crafts as less marginalised, more centrally productive forces in society, through new formulations and/or re-articulations of practices, identities, positions and markets.
Making Futures is therefore about agency, change and the search for new grounds and understandings. As was made evident through the first conference in 2009, a lively and significant sustainability and ethical practice debate is taking place within craft practitioner circles, supported by a wide range of practice-based initiatives which are striving to re-articulate and re-formulate craft practices, identities and audiences. These efforts, de-facto, represent a revived level of micro-political engagement that modestly, but fundamentally, operates as a change-maker; literally making the future, and in terms that are potentially charged with global significance.
In this respect Making Futures not only explores crafts shifting practices and meanings in the context of environmental sustainability, but the ways in which craft, itself, becomes a methodological frame through which to think through a wider set of socio-economic and cultural factors.
Making Futures invites submissions from across the full spectrum of crafts practice. The scope is international and they welcome accounts from non-western contexts, especially those experiencing rapid industrial and urban development and newly expanding consumer markets. In terms of presentation formats they will accept appropriate practice-led case studies and historical and theoretical papers.
Proposals might address processes of making, technological, aesthetic, critical-theoretical, economic and political, and/or pedagogic perspectives. In addition, they invite explorations of two new significant themes that emerged as concerns during the first conference:
Craft as Social Process will investigate craft not simply as a skilled set of practices deployed to create artefacts, but as an agent in social sustainability and a construct forged iteratively (or interactively) between sets of practices, materials and communities or social groups.
Craft in an Expanded Field will explore how areas of ‘craft’ beyond the Studio Crafts and Applied Arts might present, or narrate, the idea of craft to the world; how they might challenge, extend, or be brought into productive association with, the Studio Crafts and Applied Arts, while also addressing our broader sustainability and/or ethical practice concerns.
For full details: