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Craft Cultures Research Cluster

Handmade by Machines: Seized by the Means of Production 

The School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University will be hosting the 2019 Handmade by Design one-day symposium 20 November 2019 and an accompanying exhibition 11 November - 6 December 2019.

“It is a world completely rotten with wealth, power, senility, indifference, puritanism and mental hygiene, poverty and waste, technological futility and aimless violence, and yet I cannot help but feel it has about it something of the dawning of the universe.” – Jean Baudrillard, America, 1981

Has the relationship of technology to craft practice been altered in a digital age? What is the nature of this change and what are the opportunities which are dawning?

The Opportunity  

An open call to artists and designer makers to apply to submit work as part of an exhibition to be held at the School of Jewellery's Vittoria Street Gallery.

We are looking for objects, jewellery, clothing, or craft artefacts which demonstrate innovative approaches to incorporating digital technology into the hand-making process, creative practice or final outcomes. 

This exhibition will take two strands: 

  1. Main Exhibition- a primary strand showing work which addresses the themes of the symposium, surveying the current landscape on the interface between digital and manual craft and showing the breadth of approaches taken by contemporary makers. 
  1. A student exhibition- a secondary strand that will focus on work by students across UK HE and FE institutions learning to use this technology as "digital natives".

It is intended that a natural dialogue will open up between the two.  

This is an opportunity for artists and makers who are working with digital processes to contribute work to an exciting exhibition which will initiate conversations, dialogues and collaborations. We encourage artists and makers at any stage in their careers to apply. 

The exhibition opening event will give selected makers the opportunity to give a short talk about their work.

If you a maker, designer or thinker investigating the role of digital technology in the production and distribution of craft please complete the application form.

Download application form

About the Symposium 

A symposium will be held on Wednesday 20 November that seeks to highlight and provoke discussion/debate on the implications/influence of technology in creative craft practice.

Hand Made by Machines seeks to collate the most recent and cutting-edge thinking about the impact that digital technology has had on the craft world with a special focus on the way in which the technology has been seized by makers as a means of production, and the impact that this has had on what the term "hand-made" actually means. As the title of the symposium suggests, we recognise the tension between the late-capitalist and Marxist-Utopian politics inherent in this technology and are especially interested in hearing from makers and/or philosophers who are working in this area.  

The symposium will be the inaugural event of the new Birmingham City University research cluster, Craft Cultures and an online publication of the proceedings is planned to follow.

As part of the symposium, there will be the opportunity to explore the current technology available in the School of Jewellery Technology Hub.   

Exhibition Dates: 

Monday 11 November to Friday 6 Dec 

Symposium | Wednesday 20 November 

Private view celebration | Wednesday 20 November from 6.00-8.00pm 

Vittoria Street Gallery | http://blogs.bcu.ac.uk/vittoriastreetgallery/ 

Enquiries

Please send enquiries to JewelleryProgrammeAdmin@bcu.ac.uk