Exhibiting Craft: Histories, contexts, practices

Claire Jones, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, University of Birmingham, c.jones.4@bham.ac.uk

Inês Jorge, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, University of Birmingham, ixp983@student.bham.ac.uk

Craft has mainly been defined in relation – and in opposition – to fine art, design and industry; practices of making; and national, disciplinary and material boundaries. The emerging field of exhibition histories offers a significant framework for understanding how craft has been shaped by different contexts and methods of display. The wide scope of spaces, agents, strategies and practices involved in craft exhibitions, suggests that these can be powerful tools for asserting and questioning the creative, political, economic, institutional and social role of craft, and for engaging with various publics.

This session will explore craft from the perspective of exhibition and display histories. We invite proposals from practitioners, curators and academics, among others, that address the ways in which craft has been exhibited across a range of geographical areas and historical periods, and the ways in which those displays have shaped and (re)defined the meaning(s) of craft. Topics might include exhibits within and beyond institutional spaces such as domestic, outdoor and alternative venues; the roles of makers, curators, institutional staff and audiences; physical interactions with craft; craft-making as public display/performance; engagement with specific communities; questions of ethnicity, nationalism, sexuality and gender; and exhibitions that consider the interdisciplinary, local and/or global character of craft; all with a focus on how the exhibition of craft has fostered perceptions of craft.

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