Craft: Making New Forms in a Broken World.

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Robin Holt


Copenhagen Business School


DKK 1,213,442




Monograph Fellowships


In an increasingly precarious world characterized by fragile relationships between people, and between people and things, craft work appears to offer a refuge. Making things according to long standing traditions, making them well, and encouraging users to learn just why this is important, creates a community of trade that is both environmentally and socially sustainable. Throughout the book I consider why it matters, like never before, to engage in, and with, craft practice. I study not just the objects being made and used in craft practice, but the organization of relationships and the technologies mediating these. Just as much as a pot or chair, organization can be formed and used well, or badly. The question I answer is how.


I study the nature of organizational form and how it emerges from craft-based production and consumption techniques. In doing so, I bring together studies in economics and entrepreneurship, aesthetics and philosophy, strategy and ethics, and media and technology. My study is both empirical and theoretical. I have conducted interviews and engaged in participant and non-participant observation, undertaken archive work and used sound and image based recording of data. Theoretically, my approach has been inter-disciplinary, the aim being to occupy the fault line that lies between wanting to explain the world, and to change it.


From Denmark and the other Nordic countries I concentrate on the emergence of craft-based modernism enjoined to a collective sense of social resilience and responsibility. From the UK I look historically to the Arts and Crafts movement, and the studio pottery movement, as well as to current examples of entrepreneurial autonomy and craft activism. From Japan I examine the grounding presence of tradition, family and the intimacy between repetition and innovation which manifests itself in curious forms of conservative radicalism. After undertaking extensive empirical studies in these three areas, I have not only been humbled by the energy and expertise of many human beings, but come to realize what binds them is far stronger than what divides them.

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