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What unites the craft sciences?

Conference contribution
Authors Tina Westerlund
Camilla Groth
Gunnar Almevik
Published in Craft Conference; Studying Traditional Crafts: Goals and Methods in Higher Education, Viljandi, Estonia, November 12–14, 2019
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Conservation
Language en
Subject categories Other Humanities


Craft-persons use sensory assessments in their procedures and in their choices of methods, thus personal and situated experiences are significant in the knowledge development within a craft practice. However, such experiential knowledge is hard to verbalise and this raises problems when the knowledge is to be analysed and communicated. Knowledge development and knowledge communication has a central position in academia, but when it comes to research in practice-based domains, we may sense a gap. In this presentation we will show different approaches to research in the field of craft. We invited a group of practitioner-researchers to present their methods of inquiry in their own craft in an anthology, and together they explore what unites them as craft researchers. These craft researchers represent very different craft contexts such as carpentry, ceramics, culinary crafts, gardening, boatbuilding, blacksmithing, weaving, textile conservation, building conservation, traditional painting and furniture design and they all have personal experience as practitioners in their fields. We will present and discuss some of the cases while highlighting the importance of research through practice and the need to develop a common discipline of research practices for the ‘craft sciences’. Through this project we also found that it is of importance to let practitioner-researchers publish in a way that justifies their research. Through audio-visual media it is possible to come closer to the actions and movements of a practice, showing a more dynamic and multimodal view of the studied features than the mere text based academic article may facilitate. We thus claim that by publishing practitioner-researchers work in net-based publications that allow for multimedia content we may expose the breadth of topics, source material, methods, perspectives and results and what unites the research. We hope to present this collection of examples as an inspiration for researchers and practitioners to explore and develop further.

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