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Collaboration Through Craft

The publication ‘Collaboration through Craft’ investigates the current theoretical debates about the collaborative/social power of craft (e.g. Gauntlett 2008; Sennett 2008; Adamson 2008.).

The book emerged from the international cross-institutional and cross material project ‘Pairings’ (2009) conceived and initiated by Kettle at MMU, and the eponymous conference, which constituted fundamental research on the impact on craft of collaboration. (‘Pairings’ resulted in a six venue UK tour, culminating at Contemporary Applied Arts London 2013, and was the sole exhibition of the Stroud International Textile Festival 2012. Individual initiatives and linked projects included over 40 participants, and an international conference hosted by Manchester School of Art.)

‘Collaboration through Craft’ establishes the theoretical framework for innovation in cross material practice. The projects report on and analyze the collaborative turn in craft and its impact on questions of identities, materials, processes, expertise and pedagogies. Organised into four cognate sections, the research addresses the elisions and frictions of the collaborative process; new technological potentials of fertilizations between craft and industry/science; the implication of collaborations for issues such as authority and ownership; dispersed models of creativity; and the impact of crafted collaborations on institutions. The collection argues for craft as a field of knowledge and a socio-cultural concept poised between models of expertise, possessive individualism and collaborative labour. It posits that the language of material can be interrogated through exchange.

The publication is endorsed as ‘ground breaking’ by Dr Matthew Partington V&A, and ‘turning the belief in single-handed creation on its head’ Prof Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen.
This research has led to the ‘Making It’ project, conceived and co-curated by Kettle, and the publication ‘Making Stories’, an interactive e-book. Consequently Kettle has been invited to consult on craft strategy for Arts Council of Great Britain SE.