Collective Craft in Global Contexts

Valéria Fülöp-Pochon, Postgraduate Researcher in History of Art, Faculty of Arts, University of Bristol,

Courtney Schum, Postgraduate Researcher in History of Art Faculty of Arts, University of Bristol,, @courtschum

This session seeks to investigate modes of community art production by reviewing the role of folk art and folklore, craft and applied art in diverse social, historical, geographical or political contexts with the focus on the 20th and 21st centuries. Cultural producers globally, working in traditional craft, design and applied art techniques through textile, clay, wood, glass, metal, paint, print and other media, have produced utilitarian and decorative objects for the benefit of their communities. From small everyday objects to large architectural spaces, made for domestic or public use, art-making has been essential in serving people’s physical, aesthetic, spiritual or ideological needs. Traditional folk art and its techniques have often been shaped or revived for social or political purposes. Rather than reflecting the ideals of institutions, collective art embodies the knowledge of the community and locality.

We invite proposals from academics, curators and artists that address collective craft making with the focus on folk art, folklore, craft, design and the applied arts, discussing a range of topics from social art practices, cross-cultural, transnational or transhistorical engagement; intergenerational practices, preserving cultural memory and heritage; collective art expressing ethnic or national identity; community folk-art serving social or political purposes. Understanding participation as an intrinsic media, we intend to leave the interpretation of ‘collectivity’ open. The session will explore how participatory communities organise themselves in multiple political and social contexts, from indigenous, socialist, to neo-liberal capitalist societies.

Information about the speakers and papers on this panel will be posted shortly. 



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