Guest Speakers
Index of Papers
ChallengingCraft Introduction


View conference introduction by Professor Mike Press  
Craft practice is undergoing a revolution. Hybrid practices are blurring creative boundaries – not just between art, craft and design – but between craft, performance and film. New technologies enable makers to integrate digital and hand processes. Against the backdrop of globalisation and increased homogenisation of consumer goods craft plays a defining role in articulating cultural identity. The new craft is challenging popular and professional definitions of practice, and creating new values and relevance for craft knowledge.

How do we make sense of these changes? How is the nature of craft practice changing? What is the changing role of the maker in our culture? How is craft education contributing to this process? What is the new politics and practice of craft in the 21st century?

Challenging Craft comprised a three day conference hosted and administered by Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Keynote speaker Gijs Bakker and invited speakers from creative, academic and curatorial perspectives, present a breadth of experience and practice, framing the event with a rich insight into their thinking and contribution to craft.

The CD provides the presentations of both the invited speakers and the refereed papers conference contributions.

I would like to thank Gijs Bakker, Jane Harris, Paul Atkinson, Kenji Toki, Mah Rana, Jayne Wallace  and Grace Cochrane for their much appreciated contributions.

I greatly appreciate and owe a great deal to the conference committee and the international panel of referees for their guidance and rigour in assessing the papers for this publication.

The committee comprises:

Prof Mike Press, Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen
David McFadden, Chief Curator, Museum of Arts + Design, New York
Prof Stanley Lechtzin, Temple University, Tyler School of Art, USA
Grace Cochrane, Senior Curator, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Prof Jeremy Myerson, Co Director, Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, RCA London
Kevin Murray, Director, Craft Victoria, Australia
Helen Bennett, Head of Crafts, Scottish Arts Council
Malcolm McCulloch, Taubman College of Architecture and Planning
Paul Greenhalgh, President, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, Canada
Prof Pradeep Yammiyavar, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India
Prof Olle Anderson, Designer, past Chairman of Säterglantan craft school Sweden.
Jane Harris, Central Saint Martins, UK

The event could not have taken place without the support of sponsors: Scottish Arts Council, Glenfiddich Distillary, Arts Professional Magazine and The Robert Gordon University.

Finally I wish to acknowledge the vital contribution made by staff at Gray’s School of Art, Anne Taylor for her excellent untiring administrative support, Lesley Duthie and especially to John Welsh for his distinctive design work on the conference website and this publication.

Gordon Burnett,


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To view Professor Press' presentation, QuickTime must be installed in your computer.
Click here for the free internet download.
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