Nordic Platform for Critical Craft Theory

Suvi Saloniemi, Irija Øwre and Love Jönsson in the exhibition "Pia Antonsen Rognes: Seeing through the camouflage of my pale skin, my soft words" at Galleri Format Oslo
Nordic Platform for Critical Craft Theory is a network for knowledge-exchange and expertise on contemporary crafts in the Nordic region

The network had its inaugural meeting at Norwegian Crafts' offices in Oslo on 20 February. 
Suvi Saloniemi
, chief curator at the Design museum in Helsinki, Finland, Love Jönsson, director of RIAN designmuseum in Falkenberg, Sweden, and André Gali, head of critical theory and publications at Norwegian Crafts attended.

Love Jönsson, director of RIAN designmuseum, André Gali from Norwegian Crafts, and Suvi Saloniemi, chief curator at the Design museum in Helsinki
Suvi Saloniemi, Kjersti Solbakken and Love Jönsson in the exhibition "Everyone Says Hello" at Kunstnerforbundet

«The goal is to exchange knowledge about contemporary crafts in the Nordic region and to strengthen and reshape the critical conversation within the Nordic countries. »

There is an increased interest craft and craft-based knowledge such as materiality and skills in the visual art world today, and with this we experience an increase in the discussions and reflections around craft both within and outside the craft field. Also, the population in the Nordic region is growing increasingly diverse, leading to a potent, vibrant and diversified culture. What constitutes as Nordic crafts today is much more complex than just 20 years ago, when minimalist aesthetics and natural materials still were the dominant visual language in contemporary crafts.

In order to meet this increased interest in various material-based art practices, contemporary crafts and design, as well as to address these complex cultural conversations we are experiencing (where different cultural and aesthetical languages intersect), there is a need to join forces within the theory development on contemporary crafts. The goal is to exchange knowledge about contemporary crafts in the Nordic region and to strengthen and reshape the critical conversation within the Nordic countries. It is of particular interest to acknowledge and respond to a more diverse contemporaneity; to modify and reframe the Nordic and international perception of what constitutes as Nordic and to include aesthetical traditions such as duodji and non-Nordic/ non-Western crafts that challenge and broadens the concept of a shared Nordic aesthetics, politics and heritage.

A network consisting of experts within craft theory in the Nordic region will contribute to strengthen the critical and analytical language on contemporary crafts, with an ambition to attract a broader understanding of crafts as a diversified aesthetical field. Nordic platform for Critical Craft Theory is planning a program that can include seminars and workshops forming the foundations of papers on contemporary Nordic crafts, benefiting a wide range of curators/ critics and professionals within the art field and beyond.

As critical crafts theoreticians working in a more diversified field, we believe that in order to understand the aesthetical and political force of crafts today and in the future, we need to remap, update and reinvent critical language. The network will focus on the following:

• to meet and exchange reflections on critical thinking through workshops

• to address contemporary crafts from new perspectives, including postcolonial, queer and feminist perspectives as well as current philosophical positions on the object world, materiality, ecology and more

• to arrange a one-day event open to the public in shape of a seminar, workshop or similar

Nordic Platform for Critical Craft Theory was initiated by Norwegian Crafts and is generously supported by Nordic Culture Point.