Emerging and early-career scholars, museum and heritage professionals, craft practitioners, and those working outside the traditional spaces and structures of academia are particularly encouraged to participate.
All presentations will be held online via Zoom and contributions are welcome from anywhere in the world.
This seminar series invites new considerations of craft in an expanded historical and methodological field. Recent art-historical scholarship on craft tends to emphasize the mechanisms and markets of contemporary art, or positions craft as a phenomenon arising specifically through the dialectics of industrial modernity. But this is not the only way we can define and frame craft. Even during the rise of the mass-produced modern world, craft remained integrated in industrial capitalism, not as its “other” but part of its development and operation. Nor has modernity been the only driver of change: craft’s rich pre- and early-modern transformations deserve explicit attention as well. Furthermore, craft has an ongoing present beyond the specific frame of Western affluence; in the global South and in marginalized communities within the global North, craft’s enduring importance as a cultural technology and an economic engine can remain somewhat elusive when we look primarily through the conceptual prism of art history.
Researchers from a wide variety of fields have recognized craft’s central role—both in historical research and contemporary practice—in discourses of decoloniality. Rethinking craft in terms of these long and tangled histories can elicit new questions, challenges, and connections. The Craft History Workshop aims to enrich the historical understanding of craft as more than a byproduct of a hand-versus-machine dichotomy; rather, craft is a complex mesh woven between knowledge, skill, and materiality across the many contexts of human making.