Contemporary Craft as Activism in Visual Arts Education

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Location

Miami University, Oxford,OH

Peer Review



Description of Event:
This event was put on by the assistant professor of art education, Stephanie Danker (our professor!). Most of the people that were in attendance of the lecture were art students, professors and community members of Miami University. This was a lecture style, where she had a PowerPoint that she used in order to share information with the audience. She spoke mostly about the contemporary movements in crafts, such as handwork. She touched greatly on feminism and the different “waves” that it has. The firs thing that she spoke about in her lecture, was the “4 important aspects of crafts”, which included act or activity of making, skilled knowledge, craftpersonshift (which is a general and neutral term for craftmanshift) and apprenticeship. During the length of the presentation, she did a good job of incorporating different artists and bringing in real examples and movements they have participated in.
Response/Analysis of Event:
During the lecture, I experienced a lecture with a topic that the lecturer felt very strongly about. This fact made it very enjoyable to sit through, the fact that the topic was so important to her. Overall, I think the main point of the lecture was to introduce the topic of art and how it applies to women (especially throughout generations). The main thing that I got out of the lecture, was the fact that even though times are changing and technology is certainly improving, crafts need to stay in our culture as a way of meditation, relaxation, socializing and a way to keep family values and traditions. Finally, she concluded with the reasons on why we should reclaim crafts: sustainability, entrepreneurship, activism, leisure and relaxation, creating community and saving money.
Connections to Art:
This lecture clearly revolved around art. I think this topic could definitely be passed on to future students to stress the importance of keeping art current and in use. It is important to reiterate the fact to students that crafts are away for people to spread cultures, traditions, use as a form meditation and relaxation. Even though I did not attend the workshop section of this speaker, I think that the techniques learned (text and textiles to practice sashiko and kanth) could be taught to the students. It could be used in the classroom to introduce the idea of sustainability.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoined the lecture. It was a great way to learn about modern craft and the way it pertains to today’s culture and education. The thing I most enjoyed learning about was all of the different movements and event that’s have been put on in order to explain these topics. I also enjoyed the idea that people have been making their own products and clothing in order to demonstrate rebelling against mass producing and the simple idea of just decorating with their own crafts. I really enjoyed the quote towards the end by Rochelle Smith that stated “Making things by hand serves as a compliment, or antidote, to being in cyberspace”.


Art Education

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