P068
The Future of Craft: Apprenticeship, Transmission and Heritage

Convenors:
Ferdinand de Jong (University of East Anglia)
Format:
Panels
Location:
British Museum - Studio
Start time:
3 June, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

In the study of craft, the assumption has been that skill is transmitted through apprenticeship. However, apprenticeship has changed since industrialisation and so has craft as mode of production. How has the recent "heritagisation" of craft affected the process of transmission of skill?

Long abstract:

In the study of the material culture of modernity, the consumption of mass-produced consumer goods has received abundant attention for its role in assembling the modern. This need not surprise us, as industrialisation has been important in defining our conception of modernity. Binary definitions of modernity have always valued craft as "authentic" tradition, confined to the past, facing a future of extinction. But over the last few decades, the humanities have scrutinised the binary classifications of modernity and craft has emerged as a mode of production with a future. As a result of a revaluation of skill, craft is now reclassified as part of our Intangible Cultural Heritage. This new classification of craft problematizes the old understanding of craft as a mode of production relegated to the past as national governments and international NGOs have devised policies for the preservation of craft knowledge and skills. How are the processes of apprenticeship and the transmission of skill affected by these programmes? The panel investigates how the transmission of craft through apprenticeship has been affected by its increased "heritagisation". The panel encourages submission of papers that question the extent to which craft can be reproduced through institutions of learning associated with modernity, but also aims to include papers that revalue apprenticeship as an aspect of the knowledge transmission and skills required for the preservation of cultural heritage. The question is how the framing of skill as heritage affects the process of transmission.