Research

Craft plus Activism Equals Craftivism
Today as a new cultural phenomenon we see a subculture of activists who gather in cities doing craft.  In order to expose the values these groups ascribe to the craft process and the object the progressive activists create, we need to listen to the narratives these people tell about doing craft. This can be done from two points of view: Cultural and Educational Studies, exemplified by discussing sociocultural versus discourse theory and situated learning versus situated knowledge. The theories will be used to open up the informal space in which the process of learning the craft and creating the artefacts takes place. The main focus will be placed on the narratives as told by the activists within the subcultures.

The researcher mingles with the subcultures virtually or in real life and collects the stories that are being told. The method is the ethnographic interview followed by discourse analysis of the stories. These stories being told from person to person is the new way to brand doing craft. It might add new ways to the understanding of craft to define the process from a craftivists` point of view.

According to Judith Butler’s performance theory, gender performance and other behaviours are defined by culture. Likewise, doing craft is culturally defined and the aim of this research is to look for values that are involved performing craft within sub-cultures and activism.

The space in which craft is performed outside the workshop or the classroom can be anywhere in the public space: The underground, the café and the market place.  In this paper the different agents within the performance space are: The producer, the object, the audience and the facilitator. The outcome will be focused on gender, learning and identity.

Finally the aim of this paper is to present new values and new thinking that might add useful knowledge to the craft field and show an otherwise overlooked philosophical and cultural potential within the art form. Analysing the narratives about the performance might show a new approach perceiving craft.

In short: How can craftivism inspire craft?