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Paul Harper
Practice and Reflection

Other form of assessable output

Practice and Reflection symposium
Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen Gallery
Painswick, Gloucestershire

September 19, 2003

organisation and chair of symposium

A symposium convened in response to a perceived sense of alienation from critical discourse amongst practitioners. The intention was to create an opportunity for makers to engage with current debate in the crafts and to explore ways in which theory could be challenged or authenticated by the experience of practitioners. There was also an intention to encourage a confident, critical community of practitioners, who were not associated with the academic community, who would contribute to the growing critical discourse about craft.

I initiated, organized and introduced the event. The agenda addressed the role of theory and it’s value for practice; ways in which practice might be made accessible to researchers.

Introduction: Theorizing the Particular

I have argued that there is a need for an expanded scholarly discourse about craft practice, which is currently addressing a narrow understanding of craft-work and of craft-works. Contribution by a broad range of practitioners would greatly enrich understanding of the field. Following this introduction the speakers at all the events were exclusively practitioners. Speakers included Chris Smith (London Metropolitan University), Edmund de Waal (University of Westminster) and Matthew Partington (University of the West of England).

The event tested the appetite amongst makers for a critical forum and its success has led to an on-going series of symposia. The seventh symposium will take place in March 2008 and will look at the role of artist as curator.

There is an ambition to work towards a publication of makers' writing. To this end the series has included a practical writing workshop led by Edmund de Waal.

The series relates to my enquiry into the role and nature of craft in contemporary culture, and was instrumental in developing my doctoral research proposal.

Practice and Reflection was funded by Arts Council England.

Practice and Reflection - press information

Practice and Reflection - rationale

Symposium Report on alias arts website

related outcomes:
Paul Harper: Process Works
Helen Carnac: Process Works

back to Paul Harper home page

London Metropolitan University