ROLODEX. Craft a Conversation
Jun 4, 2021
Aug 20, 2021
FRONT & CENTER
Front & center
ROLODEX. Craft a Conversation is a growing index of self-identified Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) working in craft today. Initiated by Warren Wilson College’s MA in Critical Craft Studies during April 2021 in response to a nearly 70% increase in violence against AAPI communities, this project is centered on people, their descriptions of themselves, and their connections to craft - rather than on the objects they create.
Why focus on Asian American and Pacific Islanders working through craft? According to the Pew Research Center, Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing groups in the US since 2000. Despite nearly 23 million Asian Americans in the US population, a recent study by Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH) found that 58% of people could not name a prominent Asian American.
The term “Asian American and Pacific Islander” is in question today. Drawing inspiration from the Black Power Movement, students at the University of California, Berkeley are credited with unifying pan-Asian groups under the term “Asian American” in the 1960s. This grouping deliberately rejected the outdated, geographically-based, and problematic term “Oriental.” In the 1980s, the U.S. Census expanded the category, combining Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Today, this governmentally-determined grouping feels too broad to many, as it includes more than 20 countries and thousands of Pacific Islands, each with unique histories, cultures, languages, and craft histories.
This project is a directory, an exhibition, and a tool:
How does research catalyze community, action, and visibility?
What conversations come next?
Two hundred people responded to the initial call and ROLODEX will continue to gather listings from the AAPI community until August 31, 2021. People built and continue to build this directory. Connecting is up to you. Access, use, and add to the directory by following this link: https://www.macraftstudieswwc.com/aapi.The project is online indefinitely and on view at the Center for Craft from June 4th to August 20th, 2021.
Meet the artists
about the artists
Namita Gupta Wiggers
Since its inception in 1964, the North Carolina Arts Council has imagined and executed an innovative vision for arts development that touches every corner of our state — all 100 counties — from the mountains to the coast.
UNC Asheville transforms lives through leadership and education. The designated liberal arts and sciences institution for the UNC System and one of the nation’s top 10 public liberal arts universities, UNC Asheville enrolls 3,600 students and offers more than 30 undergraduate majors and a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree. UNC Asheville also encourages students to take part in a nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program and participate in interdisciplinary learning. From internships and hands-on projects, to study abroad and community engagement, students experience an education that extends beyond campus into the vibrant City of Asheville, the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and the world.
A liberal arts college grounded in social responsibility, where hard work and community are more than just words.