EMAL Session at the Biennial International Conference for the Craft Sciences

EMAL arranged a session called “Embodied making and Learning” at the Biccs Conference in Mariestad on September 20-22, 2023. This second edition of the conference was truly international with 103 contributing researchers from 15 countries in 4 continents.

Embodied Making and Learning session description:

Craft practices are present in all sections of society and in multiple forms and levels. Doing something well, considering the environment, others’ well-being and the common good, is empowering and a source of joy and can become a livelihood. Learning to do something well takes time and patience, requires thought and concentration, and grows endurance and persistence. However, craft learning seldom happens in a vacuum but requires a community of practice in which skills and ways of making and being are communicated bodily through show and tell, mimicking and embodiment of a craft culture. The session comprises research on craft learning situations at different levels of training and educational contexts, both in formal and informal learning situations, inside or outside of academia and in any cultural or professional context. The special focus is craft learning studies that consider embodied learning through human–material dialogues and learning through making.

The session included the following contributions and authors, all of which can be read in the special issue that is the conference proceedings published in FormAkademisk Journal: https://journals.oslomet.no/index.php/formakademisk/issue/view/501

EMAL Session, chaired by EMAL members Camilla Groth, Kirstine Riis and Anne-Louise Bang:

  • Stitching Together (in) Anthropology Class: On the Use of Craft Practices in Higher Education Humanities, by Lydia Maria Arantes
  • Collaborative Making: Storytelling, Saving Skills and Preserving Memories, by Charlotte Mary Goldthorpe
  • What I learned by doing craft when I got terminal cancer: On woodcarving and psychophysical wellbeing from an insider perspective, by Marte S. Gulliksen
  • From an Embodied Understanding to Ethical Considerations during Creative Practice, by Priska Falin, Petra Falin & Maarit Mäkelä
  • Embodied learning made visible through line-drawing: Examples from sloyd education, by Elisabet Jagell
  • Negotiation of Forces in Performative Weaving (performance article, with a remaining final review after the on-site performance), by Rosanna Vibe
  • Skills, craft and poiesis-intensive innovation, by Cristina Grasseni
  • Queering Craft in Santa Clara del Cobre: Coppersmithing as a Practice of Care, by Michele A. Feder-Nadoff
  • Human-Material Dialogues Through the Use of Robotics: Embodied Craft Learning in an Architectural Educational Context Exploring Patterns in Clay, by Flemming Tvede Hansen
  • Hartland Hanga: Capturing creative communication of tacit knowledge in printmaking, by Wuon-Gean Ho

The conference encourages multimodal formats of research output, such as video articles, performance talks and exhibition talks; thus one of our session contributors made a performance talk;

Textile artist Rosanna Vibe weaving in the air while telling the audience what she does and why. The talk is video documented and the video will be linked to her paper in the special issue so that readers can engage with the practice through moving images and hearing the practitioner-researchers’ voice.

The conference also engaged two keynote speakers; Maikel Kuijpers who is Assistant Professor of European prehistory at Leiden University, with a Ph.D. in archaeology from Cambridge University, he is pecializing in the Bronze Age. His works concerns the formulation of knowledge over time, cognitive archaeology, craftsmanship, and skill.

Dr. Nithikul Nimkulrat is a textile artist and researcher who intertwines academic research with textile practice, focusing on experiential knowledge in craft processes in the design context. Nithikul is an associate professor at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) in Canada and was the program chair of the Material Art & Design program (2020–2023).

Nimkulrat presenting her keynote at the Biccs 2023. Her theme strongly relates to issues dealt with in the EMAL research group such as arts crafts and design and the embodied aspect related to these.

Both Keynotes and much more material can be seen at the Biccs website and repository: https://biccs.dh.gu.se/2023

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