Crafting Utopia and Dystopia: Future of Craft in Museums

Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum - National Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Trondheim, Norway
27 October 2017
10 am - 3 pm
250 NOK
The registration is now closed

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?

  • Heidi Bjørgan’s exhibition A Story of an Affair at Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, 2016 (Photo: Thor Brødreskift)
    Heidi Bjørgan’s exhibition A Story of an Affair at Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, 2016 (Photo: Thor Brødreskift)

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.

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).

Preliminary schedule:

  • 9.30Coffee and registration
  • 10.00 Welcome by Hege Henriksen, director of Norwegian Crafts
  • 10.15 Introduction by Namita Wiggers, Critical Craft Forum and Warren Wilson College 
  • 10.35 Facilitators of meetings between the
    hand and the mind. Åshild Adsen, director of Nordenfjeldske 
  • 11.05Coffe break
  • 11.15Title to be announced. Edith Lundebrekke, artist. 
  • 11.30 Title to be announced. Petter Snare, director of KODE Art Museum.
  • 11.45 Lunch
  • 13.00The space between the notes. Scrotum Clamp, punk band and jewellery artists. 
  • 13.30 Occupying the margin.Kim Paton, director of Object Space. 
  • 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
  • 15.30 See the annual exhibition of Norwegian contemporary Craft

The registration is now closed.