Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red
Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red

Virtual Symposium
July 22 - 24, 2021, 12pm - 6pm ET

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Research takes care. It requires work, and builds connections best when shared.  

Research can take a variety of forms: writing, working in archives, dialogue, making things, and examining things that have been made. We believe research, when expansive, culturally sensitive, and collaborative, is a process for tending to craft.

The format for this gathering was a research experiment, and proposed a key question: 

What work can we do together that we could not do alone?

Program Schedule

Thursday, July 22

Friday, July 23

  • Tending to Craft: Unsettling Methodologies for Craft Research and Creation

    Led by Julie Hollenbach, NSCAD University

    This workshop centres the idea of tending to craft through a methodology that prioritizes care and responsibility. It introduces a critical settler methodology that assesses the whiteness entrenched in western craft histories, and its impact on contemporary craft culture and discourse. The participatory space fosters conversation and resource sharing about making decolonial and anti-racist work personal: moving it out of abstraction in theory and putting it into action in making, researching, writing, and curation.

  • Birds of a Feather Sessions

    During the symposium, Birds of a Feather sessions were organized around topics suggested by you and fellow attendees with the aim of sparking new possibilities for connection, expanding the conversation, and learning with each other. 

    Topics discussed on Friday, July 23rd include:

    Room 1: What is at stake in representations of craft studio spaces? (Heather Powers “Sensing the Studio” Q+A)

    Room 2: How do you cultivate meaningful connections, community and a general feeling of togetherness in craft-based workshops?

    Room 3: How can craft thinking help address systemic/structural changes needed for climate justice?

    Room 4: What is queer craft? What is the future of queer craft?

    Room 5: What is the value of re-making historical objects? What is meant when the phrase "revive lost techniques" is used?

    Room 6: In what ways can object or material-based craft practices shape & influence practices of movement building/organizing/activism?

    Room 7: Discussion: Everyone is an archivist & Archival Silence (related to "Everyone is an Archivist" but also its own nuanced conversation about intentional / unintentional / de jure / de facto omissions)

    Room 8: Collecting craft and how we can reimagine the future of collections

    Room 9: How can craft research be more inclusive of artists of color

    Room 10: Discussion: Traditional Maritime Craft in contemporary textiles

    Room 11: How can we navigate the divide between tacit/haptic knowledge of making and the written form upheld by academia? What is the value of haptic knowledge in craft?

    Room 12: How has craft created rare, even radical, social spaces and communities? How are these traditions being activated and adapted in the present day?

    Room 13: When do the boundaries between craft and art exist? When do they not? When are they useful or not?

    Room 14: How can craft practices, objects & histories be tools for inclusivity and systemic change?

    Room 15: How can we rethink craft in museums and exhibitions: language, labels, taxonomies (or not), narrative and display opportunities, etc ?

    Room 16: Discussion: Mental health and using craft as a therapeutic tool.

    Room 17: How we engage in research on craftwork that was not documented (either there is no evidence for the craftwork, but we know it occured or there is evidence of the craftwork but not of the crafter(s).)

  • Lightning Round Session 1

    Lydia See, Engaging Collections: Absences, Silences, Omissions

    B Pearsall, Quilting Terra Nullius

    Faythe Levine, If You Love Me, Don’t Feed Me Junk

    Lo Smith, You Deserve More Than a Dysphoria Hoodie: DIY Queer Aesthetics

    Anna Mudde, Tending to Craft as Care

    Kelley Totten, I Give a Folk

Saturday, July 24

Featured programs with:

Sarah Darro Headshot

Sarah Darro

Dave Ellum Headshot

Dave Ellum

Andres Payan Estrada Headshot

Andres Payan Estrada

Mellanee Goodman Headshot

Mellanee Goodman

Headshot of Julie Hollenbach

Julie Hollenbach

Headshot of Lisa Jarrett

Lisa Jarrett

Emily Johnson Headshot

Emily Johnson

matt lambert headshot

matt lambert

JeeYeun Lee Headshot

JeeYeun Lee

Hinda Mandell Headshot

Hinda Mandell

Amy Meissner Headshot

Amy Meissner

Tiffany Momon Headshot

Tiffany Momon

Heather Powers Headshot

Heather K. Powers

Anthony Sonnenberg Headshot

Anthony Sonnenberg

Namita Gupta Wiggers Headshot

Namita Gupta Wiggers

Emily Winter Headshot

Emily Winter

How to Submit a Proposal for the Symposium

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Birds of a Feather

Want to propose sessions about your interests? During the symposium, Birds of a Feather sessions will be organized around topics suggested by you and fellow attendees with the aim of sparking new possibilities for connection, expanding the conversation, and learning with each other.

As you get inspired by the conference programming, you can continue to submit suggestions for Birds of a Feather topics.


Lighting Round

In a lightning round format, 12 participants will be selected to share 5-minute presentations. Optional Q+A can occur in the following Birds of a Feather sessions. Presenters will be announced prior to the conference.


Participants will be notified by July 12 if their project has been selected.

craft ways

Through a series of sessions designed around listening, making, and discussing, this gathering was a place to share research tools, work-in-progress, and to think critically with others.

Over the course of three days, we built, connected, experimented, and questioned how research tends to the study of craft. Participants engaged and reflected both on and off-line. Session formats varied from presentations followed by small, hosted group discussions to collective making workshops; from individual off-line experiences to short, fast-paced introductions to people and projects. Participants shaped the conversation, too, through breakout sessions on topics of their choosing.

Craft Ways 2021: Tending to Craft aimed to disrupt hierarchies and change craft histories. By shifting research towards collaboration and collectivity, we can learned from —  and with —  each other. 

We envisioned this gathering as a springboard to explore the possibilities of collaborative research — with outcomes unknown.

About the Partnership

Craft Ways 2021 was co-presented by the Center for Craft and the MA in Critical Craft Studies program at Warren Wilson College. As program partners, this gathering exemplified the type of generative collaboration that builds intergenerational networks to recognize and support future craft practice, research, and scholarship.

The Center for Craft is the leading national nonprofit working to advance the understanding of craft. Located in Asheville, NC, the Center for Craft offers quality arts programming and exhibitions free to the public, in addition to a nationally recognized grant program that serves artists, curators, and scholars throughout the United States.

Warren Wilson College, a private four-year liberal arts college in the Swannanoa Valley, North Carolina, provides a distinctive undergraduate and graduate education that combines academics, work, and service. Warren Wilson College’s Masters in Critical Craft Studies is the first and only low-residency graduate program in craft history and theory.

Special thanks go to the Windgate Foundation for their support in making this event possible.

We thank our Organizing Group team for their dedication to caring for this symposium, including: Juliana Rowen Barton, Lola Clairmont, Lexie Harvey, Heather Powers, Jessie Shires, Namita Gupta Wiggers, Marilyn Zapf, and Berit Lavender.

Additional thanks to the Working Group whose vision informed the fabric of this gathering, including: Julie Hollenbach, Lisa Jarrett, PJ Gubatina Policarpio, Jen Delos Reyes, and Emily Zilber.  




















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