Crafting Utopia and Dystopia: Future of Crafts in Museums

Photo from Heidi Bjørgan's exhibition at Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum
27 October 2017
Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim

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?

Contributors: Åshild Adsen (NO)   I   Kim Paton (NZ)   I   Shannon Stratton (USA)   I   Edith Lundebrekke (NO)   I   Petter Snare    I    Anne Szefer Karlsen (NO)   I    Love Jönsson (SE)   I   Scrotum Clamp (GB/NO)    I    Lars Sture (NO)

Moderator: Namita Wiggers (USA)

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.

Preliminary schedule

9.30   Coffee and registration

10.00 Welcome by Hege Henriksen, director of Norwegian Crafts

10.15 Introduction by Namita Wiggers, Critical Craft Forum  

10.35 Åshild Adsen, director of Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum
          Museums, facilitators of meetings between the hand and the mind

11.05 Coffe break

11.15 Edith Lundebrekke, artist
          Title to be announced

11.30 Petter Snare, director of KODE Art Museum
          Title to be announced

11.45 Lunch

13.00 Scrotum Clamp, punk band and jewellery artists
          The space between the notes

13.30 Kim Paton, director of Object Space
          Occupying the margin

14.00 Coffee break

14.15 Panel discussion – Anne Szeffer Karlsen, Love Jönsson, Shannon Stratton

15.00 Sum up by Lars Sture, Exhibition Programmes, Norwegian Crafts

15.30 See the annual exhibition of Norwegian contemporary Craft 2017

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).

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