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Artisans and activists in the world of handmade crafts

Bake-off and sewing bee enthusiasts have fuelled a revival of traditional crafts, but a week of events at our University will explore whether they could also be part of a cultural revolution.

A celebration of the world of the handmade, from sewing to craft beer, will explore its relevance to sustainability, micro-economies and social activism from 8-11 November.

‘CAMEo Craft Cultures: Exploring the contemporary significance of craft’ is co-organized by Dr Jennifer Smith Maguire and Dr Jessica Bain, for the CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies and with additional support from the British Academy and Hawke EU Centre for Mobilities, Migration and Cultural Transformations.

Events will include a workshop ‘Making a Living from Craft’ by local textile artist Ruth Singer on 8 November which will explore aspects of employability in the creative sector, and a one-day symposium on ‘Contemporary Crafts and Textiles Research’ on 9 November.

The keynote speech at the symposium will be given by Kate Fletcher, Susan Luckman and Nicola Thomas and will explore ordinary practices and use of craft, implications for sustainability in the fashion sector, examinations of craft work and craft micro-economies.

A talk and workshop by Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective will follow on 10 November, in which she will present the use of craft as a tool for activism and social justice that she calls “gentle protest”. The week draws to a close, naturally, with drinks, or rather, a one day interdisciplinary symposium on the meaning of ‘craft and the artisanal’ for craft drinks including but not limited to natural wine, craft beer, traditional cider and small batch spirits.

CAMEo, the Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies at the University of Leicester, was launched in 2016 to provide new understandings of the cultural industries, the ‘creative economy’, the arts and media, cultural policy, consumer culture dynamics, and the mediation and representation of cultural and economic life. CAMEo is an interdisciplinary platform for academic research as well as for collaborations with culture and media practitioners. Together with a wide range of partners they explore the diverse and complex ways in which cultural and media economies are being defined, valued, enacted, experienced and represented.

Anyone interested in the cultural and media economies is welcome to join CAMEo’s conversations. Visit their website on www.le.ac.uk/cameo or get in touch via cameo@le.ac.uk

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