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Crafting Connections: Exploring the Impact of Crafthub Project Across Europe

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Article by Materahub

The roots of the Crafthub project trace back to its initiation in 2016 by artist and researcher Shelley Doolan, at Wales University. Finally funded in 2020, the Crafthub project has emerged as a dynamic force, bringing together artisans, researchers, and enthusiasts from across Europe to delve into the transformative power of craft in society. This project also has gained recognition on an international scale. Notably, the project was announced as a National Winner in the European Enterprise Promotion Awards 2023 in Ireland, showcasing its impact and relevance.

In the blink of an eye and four years flew by fast, the recent Crafthub Closing Conference held on the 26th and 27th of October at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway, marked a significant milestone in the journey of this project. Titled Transformation: Effect and Affect of Craft in Society, the conference not only showcased the rich diversity of perspectives but also emphasised the essential role of craft in fostering creativity, a skill crucial for innovation in the 21st century.

The conference, which featured more than 100 participants, took place at two campuses, offering a unique blend of on-site and online experiences. The themes of the conference – Exploring craft heritage, Aesthetics of materiality and Technology and craft – provided a framework for presenters from all over Europe to share insights into the multifaceted roles of craft and making disciplines in contemporary society.

In parallel with the conference, the Crafthub exhibition, titled Transform, played a pivotal role in complementing the themes of the conference. Opening at the University Campus Gallery, the exhibition provided a tangible expression of the core ideas of the Crafthub project. The exhibition methodology of the artistic curator Rita Orlando, featuring live demonstrations and visual displays, added a dynamic dimension to understanding the content of professions in the arts. The OsloMet Exhibition Arena project, with its emphasis on promoting artistic research, served as a strategic platform for showcasing the aesthetic competence in art, design, and drama.

As the Craft Hub project continues to evolve, the recent Public Vote during the Craft International Exhibition has added another layer of excitement. With over 100 craft practitioners contributing to the exhibition across various European cities, the public had the opportunity to cast their votes for their favourite showcase pieces. The winners, Ioannis Argyriadis,  Angela Ramundo, Zefi Tiftiktsoglou and  Konstantina Soura, represent the cream of craftsmanship from across the continent.

The Crafthub project stands as a testament to the enduring power of craft in shaping societies, fostering creativity and connecting people across borders. The project leaves its mark on the European landscape, and it serves as a beacon for the importance of preserving and promoting traditional crafts while embracing innovation and sustainability in the modern age. The Crafthub project is not just an exploration of craft; it is a celebration of the intricate tapestry that results from the interweaving threads of tradition, creativity and contemporary practices.

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