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Norwegian Crafts - Crafting Utopia and Dystopia: Future of Crafts in Museums

I will be a resident at Norwegian Crafts during Fall 2017 (Sept and Oct), where I will work on curatorial, editorial, and programmatic projects. The residency concludes with this seminar: Crafting Utopia and Dystopia: Future of Crafts in Museums.

How can museums be significant institutions for craft exhibitions, for facilitating public encounters with craft, and for producing and mediating knowledge – not only today, but also in the future? And how can we as artists, curators and critics contribute to that process?

Namita Wiggers   IÅshild AdsenIKim Paton   I  Shannon Stratton   I   
Edith Lundebrekke   I   Anne Szefer Karlsen   I    Love Jönsson    I    Scrotum Clamp    I    Lars Sture 

Contemporary craft and material-based art practices seem to be everywhere these days; in everyday life, in luxury goods, in design and fashion, and in various exhibitions – from artist-run spaces to contemporary art fairs and biennials. Makers are experiencing a new interest in craft skills and the qualities of handmade objects. Craftsmanship and materiality are being reinvestigated both ethically and aesthetically from within the field and beyond.

Despite the growing popularity of contemporary craft, its future in museums seems to be challenged.  

One concern is funding. Over the past few years, many craft museums have experienced severe budget cuts and have been forced to reduce their activity dramatically. In some cases they have been forced to close, and their collections have been dispersed or transferred to other institutions.

The restructuring of public museums has resulted in many craft museums being absorbed into larger consolidated institutions. The risk is that this could diminish specialist academic expertise on craft, or that it will no longer be treated as a field of investigation.

Another concern is linguistic in nature; some museums have stopped using ‘craft’ or ‘applied art’ in their names. With the erasure of these words from museums names, are we seeing a shift in focus and/or activity?

In this seminar, we challenge the speakers to speculate on the future, to describe the dream situation for crafts in the future of museums.

The seminar is being developed in close collaboration with Namita Wiggers, who will be moderating the seminar, the Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts and the National Museum for Decorative Arts and Design in Trondheim (Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum).