Resources & Links

communitiesbannerI include here as introductory collections the work of two sets of researchers from the Connected Communities strand, Lindsey Horner and Alice Mah & Graham Crow, who have each compiled a marvellous annotated bibliography – Horner’s about co-construction and Mah & Crow’s about “Conceptualisations and meanings of “community“: the theory and operationalisation of a contested concept“.  I append each one under Documents, under Resources & Links in the menu bar – find them using the drop down menu.

Mah & Crow (whose banner sits at the top of the page as well) say: “we explore theoretical, empirical and methodological developments in researching communities across four interrelated and overlapping themes: connection, difference, boundaries and development…(we)…draw some general conclusions about the current state of community research in terms of theory and method, and a brief assessment of prospects for the coming period. This is done in the form of identifying ten key propositions.”   Short bibliography here and you can download the discussion documents etc here

Horner says:  “Through an overview of emerging discourses, research communities and networks which forefront a participatory and collaborative research ethic it sets out to sketch the landscape of current co-constructed research; including the new communities of practice that are emerging and the different ‘communities’ or stakeholders who are involved. The review asks: what are the underpinning theoretical models employed by co-constructing research? How is knowledge conceptualised? And what types of validity are being invoked?”

They are excellent resources for anyone wanting a much deeper understanding of the contested areas within which this project sits.  We have found ourselves debating many of the points made in different ways in the resources making up the bibliographies as we went through the project.

The following are arranged within main strands as they seemed to suggest themselves through the life of the project.  As with many bibliographies, this is a starting point; and you are very welcome to suggest any further resources by contacting us.

Methodology

Amateur practices

Voluntary Arts, our partner, is (as you might expect) chiefly concerned with arts work done from a voluntary perspective.  “Did you know that the word ‘amateur’ means ‘for the love of it’? People take part in cultural activity for all sorts of reasons but we don’t often talk about how taking part makes us FEEL – See more at: http://www.voluntaryarts.org/fortheloveofit“.  Their site is full of interesting information and advice about getting involved in the Arts – for the love of it.

Bealtaine, our partner, has published a really interesting evaluation of their work.

Fiona Hackney is our Principal Investigator and has been interested in women and amateur practice for some time.  In this area she has written ‘Quiet Activism and the New Amateur: The Power of Home and Hobby Crafts’ Design and Culture, Vol. 5: 2 pp. 169-194 (2013), and a monograph on popular women’s magazines: Women’s Magazines and the Feminine Imagination: Opening Up a New World for Women in Interwar Britain, currently in preparation for I. B. Tauris (2014).  There is a really nice article (Hackney, Fiona (2007) ‘”They Opened Up a Whole New World” Narrative, Text and Image in British Women’s Magazines in the 1930s’, Working Papers on Design 2 Retrieved 29th August 2014 from <http://www.herts.ac.uk/artdes1/research/papers/wpdesign/wpdvol2/vol2.html&gt; ISSN 1470-5516) about how, rather than being oppressive, women’s magazines were something that opened women’s imaginations and experiences to something beyond their ordinary daily sphere, something that this project has in many ways tried to replicate.

Oral history/ethnography/film

Sarah Pink is the author of a number of seminal texts on visual ethnography, an area that underpins a great deal of the methodology on which this project is based.  These include:

  • Pink, S. (2006) The Future of Visual Anthropology: engaging the senses, London: Routledge.
  • Pink, S. (2007) Doing Visual Ethnography: images, media and representation in research. Revised and expanded 2nd edition. London: Sage.
  • Pink, S. (2007) (ed) Visual Interventions: Applied Visual Anthropology, Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Pink, S. (2009) Doing Sensory Ethnography, London: Sage

Hester Parr is experimenting with creative forms of scholarship and via film-making, creative writing, and ‘storying’ missing journeys performatively. She is interested in working via different forms of creativity in order to help different kinds of effects and affect via academic and public audiencing.

Bryony Stokes, our filmmaker in Cornwall,  loves the power film has to speak to all groups within and across societies, and uses her technical and story-telling skills to inspire positive change in people’s lives.

Relational work

craft + design enquiry; issue 4, 2012 is an issue devoted to Relational Craft and Design and is edited by Peter McNeil and Rosemary Hawker:  http://press.anu.edu.au?p=202481 

Kevin Murray writes often about the principles and issues behind trying to see craft as a relational (rather than aesthetic) practice, most often in craftunbound, which is well worth a look.

Ethnography (and performance theory)

Craft

Makers

Alice Kettle makes big things out of tiny stitches.  My favourite at the moment is the realisation of the sails for Collective Spirit, the boat made of a community’s donated objects, a fantastic project in its own right.

Travis Meinhof‘s work in interactive textiles can be described with these helpful words/phrases: political economy, labor/leisure dialectic, sensuous meditative process, harnessing productive conviviality, blankets…He writes, “Textiles have always been a catalysts for industrial and political change, weaving as a political action has three major advantages: it has a powerful visual and emotional impact, it directly realizes the self-reliance and generosity promoted by our movement, and it has a sensuous, meditative satisfaction that makes it easy to promote”…my favourite part of his website is his description of the path he takes:  offering weaving—>offering wovens—>offering offering.

Tom of Holland prefers his mending to be visible and decorative as well as functional.  The blog covers knitting (and tea) as well as mending – it’s beautiful.

Jamie Chalmers AKA Mr X-Stitch is a wonderful advocate for craft; the blog is always interesting and never dull – a bit like Jamie.

Shane Waltener has been involved in sections of the CARE project, helping the second phase off the starting blocks, asking serious questions, and coming to Cardiff with us to run a workshop and sit and stitch.  His blog is always interesting – he has a daily and a weekly blog!

Jo McIntosh ran a rag rugging workshop for the Poly group in Falmouth, and does many many crafty things with all kinds of people in the area.

Sue Bamford has a fabulous project from the Eden Centre in Cornwall and does other amazing things as well – she is well worth checking out.

Christiane Berghoff worked on the CARE project in various guises and is involved in many crafty projects mainly around sustainability.

Irene Griffin is Technical Instructor for mixed media on the Textile Design programme at Falmouth University and worked on the CARE project there.  She has a strong interest in sustainable practice.

Lian Bell co-ordinated the project in Dublin; she is a designer and event co-ordinator.

In Dublin and Birmingham we had the very talented (in terms of art and leading groups – all the participants mentioned how well they thought they had been led by these artists) Natalie Cole and Liz Nilsson.

Writers

Kevin Murray, mentioned above, has a book on craft which is really interesting.  Craft Unbound: Make the Common Precious; Thames & Hudson Australia, 2005.  “The history of craft is a battle. The exclusivity of elite craftmanship is pitted against the camaraderie of honest work. Whilst the design elites appear to dominate museums there is a new generation of makers in the wings. These new practitioners defend the rights of everyone to enjoy the sense of preciousness.”

Organisations

David Shah talks about the future of textile design in Europe.  Some interesting points of view in what is essentially a promo…

Community/ies

Community engagement

Alison Gilchrist has written two seminal books on community development and engagement:                                                                                                                               Gilchrist, A. (2009) The well-connected community: a networking approach to community development (2nd edition), Bristol: The Policy Press  This is a seminal work on networks and community.   Social capital is associated with health, lower levels of crime, doing well at school, and developing a sense of belonging or social cohesion.  It’s an important resource for our project.                                                                                                                       Gilchrist A. and Taylor, M. (2011) A short guide to community development,  Bristol: The Policy Press    This book, clearly and accessibly written, includes important discussions of theoretical and ethical issues involved in the field of community development.   Henry Hemming has written a book in which he posits the idea that a growing number of Britons now experience a sense of community not in their neighbourhoods or in the groups (e.g. ethnic or religious) into which they were born, but in the associations they belong to.  Hemming, H. (2011) Together: How Small Groups Achieve Big Things,  London:  John Murray

Richard Sennett has written two books of great interest and relevance to this project.  These are the first two in a proposed trilogy.  The first, The Craftsman, was a study of what craft is, and why it is good/necessary for individuals and societies.  In this book he took a very broad view of what might be called craft, but his analysis of its benefits was excellent:  Sennett, R. (2008) The Craftsman London: Allen Lane/Penguin Press                                   In the second, the recently-published Together, he looks at the idea of co-operation (real and “fake”) and again, how necessary it is.  Sennett, R.  (2012) Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation  New Haven: Yale University Press

The Open University have developed a reflection toolkit to help people through a step-by-step process of self-reflection.

Communities

Many of us have learnt to make, mend and master from our elders. The Amazings are here to keep this tradition going.  Preserving knowledge. Celebrating handmade. Encouraging generations to collaborate. Sharing stories. We don’t have one purpose. Our craft classes are a means to many ends. Ready to join in?

Heritage

Increasingly as the project carried on we found ourselves looking at ideas of Heritage as our groups used historical inspirations for their design work.  Some of the resources we used (and may use again in follow up work) are here:

Intersections

Mila Burcikova writes about the intersection of all of the above in “Common Couture: Sewing an Apron is of Lived Experience”.  In making everyday or ‘common couture’, Burcikova is particularly interested in the performance/role of sewing an apron to nurture and articulate lived experience within a social setting. In this respect Burcikova and Swindells collage pre-worn garments (pre-loved) with new cloth to provide points of conversion that bring together different entities; urbane, civility, social, cosmopolitanism and folk. Appropriately designed as an over-garment the apron is a symbol of interconnectedness, possessing a sense of flow between daily life and work, fluidity between work-wear to evening-wear, fluidity between men‘s wear and women‘s wear and ultimately between art, craft and society. Designing and making an apron therefore is to encounter a set of complex and contradictory forces in fashion, work-craft and society.

Soundslides are short documentary films that are inspired by an artisan – someone who has a passion for making or doing something.  These are beautiful…

Fixperts is an open knowledge sharing platform in which three elements are combined:  someone who has something to be fixed, someone who documents the process of developing the fix, and a fix-designer.

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