Forthcoming symposium: ‘Placing cultural work: (new) intersections of location, craft, and creativity’

Time, date, location

The Open University, Hawley Crescent, Camden Campus, London, NW1

Friday November 15, 2013



Mark Banks (The Open University) and Susan Luckman (University of South Australia)


The awareness of place is central to the creative practice of artistic, creative and cultural industry workers, providing a profound practical, affective and emotive link between their lives and their work. Thus in spite of tendencies towards globalisation and digitalisation, it is essential that thinking about cultural work continues to attend to the affordances of place as an important part of the ‘soft infrastructure’ enabling creativity to happen for many cultural workers.

Related to place, the durable significance – even renaissance – of craft labour and community production remains a prominent feature of cultural work and economy. Debates over craft – as practice, politics and industrial sector – have become more vocal in recent years given the apparent rise of craft as ‘creative industry’, plus emerging alternative and specialist forms of cultural production, DIY and amateur networks, and maker communities. What is the status and meaning of craft production at this current moment?

This one-day symposium invites social scientists and industry experts to consider the relationships between place, relations of craft, as well as small-scale local, community and ‘boutique’ cultural production. It asks; how does place facilitate or hinder these kinds of cultural work; how do the local and the global come together in the practices of those cultural workers physically working from home, but networking and distributing online? Finally, what are the hidden, untapped, unvalued places and politics of community production and cultural work, and how could we – or even should we – nurture and protect them?


Daniel Allington (The Open University)

‘“Lots of rats and broken windows and oil on the floor”: bohemian nostalgia and the conflicted “regeneration” of Hackney Wick’

Julia Bennett (Crafts Council) & Julie Brown (Leeds University)

‘What does local mean in the context of craft? Research and policy perspectives’

Ruth Bridgstock (Queensland University of Technology)

‘Creative career pathways, places and portfolios: Tracing the experiences of Australian cultural production graduates’

Robert Hollands (Newcastle University)

‘Place, Creativity, and the Arts: A Case Study of the Newcastle-based Amber Collective’

Marjana Johansson (Essex University)

‘Experiential co-creation in the context of the “boutique” festival’

Susan Luckman (University of South Australia)

‘Craft Workers Being At Work, At Home: Representing Labour, Home and Family on the Etsy Shopfront’

Nicola Thomas (Exeter University)

‘“Wandering into the realms of geography and craftsmanship”: exploring the spatial politics of craft practice, connections and livelihoods’

Stephanie Taylor (The Open University)

‘Connection and avoidance: the creative potentials of place’


This is a free event, and lunch, tea, and coffee are provided. However, places are limited and you must register to attend. To reserve your place please email Karen Ho at cresc-ou-events at providing your name and organisation/affiliation. See for more details.