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Workshop Participant/s - Rachel Kelly

Crafts Research Group

The Crafts Research Group is focused on the production and dissemination of high quality research in the contemporary crafts at Manchester School of Art. The group promotes the development of research activity in the history, theory and practice of craft, encourages collaboration, and supports a growing practiceasresearch culture within the discipline.

Acting as a focus of creative production, constructive exchange and critical reflection, the Crafts Research Group encourages and supports the activities of researchers, makers and theorists across a wide range of contemporary making practices. Through projects such as 'Pairings', the group actively promotes interaction between subject areas (from both inside and outside of recognized craft boundaries) and between scholarship and studio practice.

Research activity within the group is focused on enquiry into the historical, cultural, social and economic significance of the hand-made and the archived object, the sustainability of crafts practice, and the critical dialogue between contemporary digital technology and traditional analog processes. Creative collaboration between individuals, HE institutions and with external and international project partners is central to the group's philosophy. The group is committed to an engagement with crafts in a multi-cultural context.

The group comprises designated research staff, including research fellows in ceramics, textiles and digital crafts, research-active teaching staff (drawn primarily, though not exclusively, from the Department of Design) and allied MIRIAD research students. Group members' research outputs cover a broad spectrum, from the production of individual artefacts and exhibitions to curatorship, critical writing and the publication of books and journal articles.

Research Areas

The group has recognized strengths in the material areas of ceramics (REF 2014) and textiles, and an established and growing engagement with contemporary digital processes in these and other areas.

Particular areas of research interest include:

  • Embodiment; materiality and memory.
  • The past in dialogue with the present.
  • Collections, archives and their cultural value.
  • Sustainable and cross-cultural crafts practices.
  • Art and war/Craft and conflict.
  • Social and public engagement.
  • Digital practice as a making tool.
  • Hybrid analog/digital practice.
  • Visual narrative/lyricality/storytelling.

Recent Projects

A textiles, glass and film collaboration, shown at Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.

A touring exhibition; ceramics, photography film and installation, in response to Staffordshire Museums' WW1 collections.

A solo exhibition at the International Quilt Study Centre, Nebraska, USA.

The Colloquium 'The Erotic Cloth' considered the ways in which the qualities of cloth to seduce, conceal and reveal have been investigated and exploited in art.

A collaborative community project with the British Ceramics Biennial and European partners, exploring ceramics as a messenger of social change.

A participatory event at Pallant House Gallery. Curated by Alice Kettle as part of Craft Strategy SE, the event brought curators together at a performative meal to develop initiatives which crossed boundaries of use and function.


Exhibitions & Publications


Kettle, AM., 2020. Slipware, Crafts Study Centre, Farnham.

Superslowway, 2019. British Textile Biennal, Gawthorpe Hall, Padiham, Lancs, 3/10/2019 - 3/11/2019.

Morfill, S., Giles, S., 2019. Found Gestures (Chicago), Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, 14/4/2019 - 11/5/2019.

Morfill, S., Giles, S., 2019. Found Gestures (London), Five Years, London.

Walsh, J., 2019. The Secret History of Magazine Design: Cover Version, Science and Industry Museum, Manchester, 11/10/2019.

Aubrey, K., 2019. Undisciplinarity, Teaching and Learning in Action, 1/2019.


Kelly, R., 2020. 'CORDILLERA: A Weave Learning Tool Kit',

New persectives: Glass optic lensesNew persectives: Glass optic lensesNew persectives: Glass optic lensesGlass opticsNew Perspectives: Optic Glass Lens, PhotographyNew Perspectives: Sunset: Optic Glass Lens, Photography

Ian, S., Prof Richard, VN., Aubrey, K., 2020. 'Sensing the coast: exploring permanence, physicality and perspective', Atelier d'arts Film Fest (European Film Festival for Fine Crafts) and Real to Reel, the UK Film Festival of Crafts,.

O'Neill, C-J., 2019. 'Clay Networks: connecting to others through making, mapping and combination', Stoke-On-Trent and Cardiff.

Morfill, S., Giles, S., 2019. 'Found Gestures', Hyde Park Art Centre, Chicago, US, and Five Years, London, UK.

Kettle, A., 2019. 'Stitch A Tree, Karachi', Alliance Francaise de Karachi, Pakistan.

Book Chapters

Morfill, SE., 2020. 'Artistic Research in Performance through Collaboration'. In Blain, M., Minors, HJ. (eds.) Artistic Research in Performance through Collaboration, Springer International Publishing.

Kelly, R., 2019. '978-1-86220-369-3'. In Design Research For Change 2019, Lancaster University.


reating Sustainable Textile Futures for Women: Digitizing Cordillera Weaving Tradition. Film.Creating a Sustainable Textile Future for Women: Digitising Cordillera weaving Tradition (CSTFW) Project

Kelly, R., Kettle, A., Stephens, M., 2019. 'Creating sustainable textile futures for women: Digitizing Cordillera weaving tradition (CSTFW) project Evaluation Report March 2019', Manchester Metropolitan University.

Kelly, R., Stephens, M., 2019. 'The Digitization of Cordillera Weaving: Designing a New Oral Tradition. Anthropological Analysis, Mathematical Symmetry and Technical Characterization of Cordillera Textiles'.

Journal Articles

Kettle, A., 2020. 'Publication Review', Craft Research, 11 (1), pp. 143-147.

Dixon, S., 2019. 'Ceramics, narrative and commemoration', Craft Research, 10 (1), pp. 121-131.

Kelly, R., 2019. 'Creating paradise through a palimpsest of hybrid textile education-based research', Textile: the journal of cloth and culture.

Kettle, A., 2019. 'Textile and Place', TEXTILE, 17 (4), pp. 332-339.

Kelly, R., Fruebing, S., 2019. 'Whose futures need crafting? A collaborative evaluation of the British Council/Crafts Council Crafting Futures 5k grant scheme.', Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education.

Non-Peer Reviewed Articles

Kettle, A., 2019. 'Anni Albers', The Journal of Modern Craft, 12 (1), pp. 67-71.

Conference Papers

Morfill, S., Cavic, A., Michailidis, T., 2019. 'I am not listening: the poem object as hybrid publication', 9th International Digital Storytelling Conference 2020, Loughborough University.

Kelly, R., Stephens, M., 2019. 'The Digitization of Cordillera Weaving: Designing a New Oral Tradition', IASDR 2019, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2/9/2019 - 5/9/2019.

Kelly, R., 2019. 'The Voices of the Cordillera- Digitising an Oral Tradition.', Design for Change Symposium, Design Museum, London, 11/12/2019 - 12/12/2019.

Other Outputs

Morfill, S., Giles, S., Moskalewicz, M., Dickinson, B., 2019. 'Found Gestures: Susan Giles & Sally Morfill'.

Kettle, A., 2019. 'Horizontal Crossings'.