Recent Opportunities

view-of-Edinburgh-from-castle

CFP: Making Futures: Crafting a Sustainable Modernity - Towards a Maker Aesthetics of Production and Consumption

Making Futures will be held on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd September 2017, at the magnificently sited Mount Edgcumbe House on the River Tamar opposite the City of Plymouth, Devon, UK.

Making Futures is a research platform exploring contemporary craft and maker movements as ‘change agents’ in 21st century society. Convinced of the transformative potential of small-scale making and its capacity to contribute to new progressive futures, Making Futures seeks to situate these material cultures at the centre of the critical issue facing global consumer society: how we move beyond the reductive instrumentalism of ‘homo economicus’ and modes of mass consumption that are destructive of human and non-human natures. As such our purpose is to examine and promote the possibilities for maker economies built around contemporary craft, neo-artisanal design-to-make and related creative micro-entrepreneurs and movements. We believe that these activities have the potential to consolidate into nascent post-industrial maker ecologies that, while not replacing global consumer manufacturing, can nonetheless contribute substantially to progressive economic and social change at local and regional levels, and beyond.

Crafting a sustainable Modernity - towards a maker aesthetics of production and consumption.

We start with recognition of the seemingly intractable crises (social, economic and environmental) of late Modernity. But our concern is to explore this problématique through the optic of contemporary craft and neo-artisanal maker movements, and what might be seen as a new emerging ‘aesthetics’ of production and consumption. Therefore, rather than seeing these emergencies as grounds for a sweeping dismissal of the modern project and all its presuppositions, we take our cue from recent commentators who have called for a re-framing of Modernity - one that seeks to re-imagine, and reinvest in its socially progressive elements.

However, we also take our cue from the Making Futures community itself and the examples it produces of how we might re-frame, re-imagine and reinvest in the socially progressive possibilities of craft and makers. As this community consistently demonstrates through examples of material thinking-in-action, contemporary craft and maker cultures, so often viewed as inferior and marginal to the political economies of modern life, should be recognised as important components of emerging visions of a progressive future worth striving for.

In addressing these concerns, Making Futures moves between the individual and the social, the personal and the collective, and explores how they can come together in global examples of emerging post-Fordist maker economies. (For example, in the last edition we looked closely at the north Californian ‘Fibreshed’ movement). In this 2017 edition we will turn to explore a European model based on the Berlin ‘alternative culture’ of auteur makers - their appreciation for materials and strong commitment to city and neighbourhood, their concern for environmental factors, re-cycling and up-cycling, and overall scepticism towards the regimes of fast fashion, luxury fashion and big brands.

Building upon many of the themes running through its four previous editions Making Futures: Crafting a sustainable Modernity will explore what it means ‘to make’ and its future significations - personally, socially, its possible impact on sustainable agendas, its relation to new technologies, its possible subversion of mass consumption and potential contribution to the emergence of new political economies capable of valuing our needs for social well being and resilient communities that incorporate concerns for human non-human natures alike.
Driehaus_SH_Horizontal_RGB_275_100
SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
312.573.1365
Copyright - (c) 2012