West Dean College to host one-day conference titled Tradition/Innovation: Craft and Future Intangible Cultural Heritage

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation near Chichester, West Sussex are very pleased to announce that its one-day conference titled Tradition/Innovation: Craft and future intangible cultural heritage on Thursday 30 March 2023 which is being held in in association with The Crafts Study Centre and University for the Creative Arts (UCA) is now sold out.

The conference, which co-incides with the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Heritage, brings together well-respected and key individuals in the professional craft and education sector to discuss and develop new ways of thinking about traditional craft skills and knowledge within the framework of how we live now and will live in the future.

As Francine Norris, Principal and Deputy Chief Executive, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation explains: “UNESCO states that Intangible Cultural Heritage is: 'Traditional, contemporary and living'. Intangible Cultural Heritage tells us who we were, and grounds us in who we are. This conference will examine the 'contemporary and living' to create pathways to the future with a focus on the live connectivity between Intangible Cultural Heritage and contemporary craft practice.”

Professor Lesley Millar, Interim Director Crafts Study Centre UCA, added: “Neil MacGregor, in his series ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’, described recent research, which reveals that the area of the brain activated by working with the hands, making something, overlaps with the area of the brain used to formulate language. He said: “It seems if you can shape a stone, you can shape a sentence.”

She continues: “If we agree that what we make is the means through which the past communicates with the present, and by which future generations will be able to connect aesthetically to their past, then it is imperative that we think carefully about what we will communicate to the future.”

While earlier this month the point was emphasised by Chloe, aged 23, who commented: "What educators don't seem to realise that what my generation, generation Z, want to learn is how to use our hands, how to understand the power of touch when making something. This is what we want, what we want to pass on..."

Speakers have been drawn from an international community of contemporary makers, curators, writers, historians, academics, and funders - all of whom recognize the centrality of craft in human growth and development. Chaired by Professor Lesley Millar (Interim Director Crafts Study Centre UCA) and Francine Norris (Principal and Deputy Chief Executive at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation) and session chairs include Dr Stephen Knott, Editor - Journal of Modern Craft, Senior Lecturer, Kingston University and Dierdre Figueiredo, Director at Craftspace.

Speakers and presenters will include Stephanie Moore (Executive Director at Center For Craft, North Carolina, USA); Dame Magdalene Odundo OBE (Internationally renowned ceramicist and Chancellor of the University for the Creative Arts); Dr Gus Casely-Hayford (Director at Victoria and Albert Museum East); Schnuppe von Gwimmer (International craft curator, writer, consultant and founder of 'craft2eu'); Tomohiro Daicho (Curator Ceramics at Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto Japan); Professor Geoffrey Crossick (Distinguished Professor of the Humanities University of London; Retired Chair Crafts Council England); Dr Viv Golding (Professor Emerita, University of Leicester, School of Museum Studies; retired President ICOM ICME; retired board member of the International Journal of Intangible Heritage); Dima Srouji (Jameel Fellow V&A 2022, Leads City Design Studio RCA); Daniel Carpenter (Executive Director at Heritage Crafts); Dr Linda Brassington (Textile artist; UNESCO Adviser on Blue Cloth and ICH) and Dr David Gates (Furniture maker and Gold Award winner at the Cheongju Bienalle 2015, and a winner of the Jerwood Contemporary Makers 2010).

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has an international reputation for excellence and is a full partner of the University of Sussex. Students benefit from access to visiting artists, makers, and writers as part of the year-long Artists-in-Residence programme, as well as the chance to view or work with material from the College’s amazing Collection and Archive. For Conservation, Craft and Fine Art study opportunities see www.westdean.ac.uk.

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Notes to Editors:

  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the ‘the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century’.
  • The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.
  • KLC Ltd joined The Edward James Foundation in July 2021, allowing West Dean College of Arts and Conservation and KLC School of Design to combine operation. The move brings together two of the most prestigious and well-established providers of specialist creative education in the UK.
  • More details on the University for the Creative Arts can be found at www.uca.ac.uk

For all media enquiries please contact Rachel Aked

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 07790 732448

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ