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[Re-]Thinking Curating Design and Craft: Place and Practice

Welcome to a conversation about contemporary curatorial practice operating in relation to design and craft!

This is the first of a series of events that, with invited Swedish and international curators and other cultural producers, presents and discusses various aspects of curating in relation to these fields. Through a series of examples, approaches, contexts, methods, effects and results are discussed to highlight different perspectives and experiences.

Participants: Onkar Kular and Christina Zetterlund, introduction and moderation by Magnus Ericson.

Textile object lying on moss in nature

Photo: Ida Isak Westerberg

Process, Sompasenvuoma 1 & 2, 2021

Design and craft practices are in transition and today often operate in an expanded context where the creation of objects also includes a commitment to social, political and historical issues. These are dynamic practices that involve many different individuals and social groups, that act outside the traditional institutional frameworks and often in relation to specific places and contexts.

In this seminar, we consider how the curation of design and craft can work in relation to practice and place. How can curators work with a place and practices that take place in different ways? How can curation create relevance and act responsible in relation to the context and the site? How can curatorial practices work beyond the institutional and the exhibition format? What role can curating have as part of craft and design practice and in relation to learning and knowledge production and what forms can it take?

Two invited curators present a series of examples to highlight and discuss these questions. Designer, curator and educator, Onkar Kular presents the format Public Design Broadcast which examines how the musical cultures of Reggae, Dub, Techno, Jungle, and Grime have designed artefacts, shaped spaces, and remapped cities from the underground up. Through a combination of oral histories, counter-mapping, and public programming, Public Design Broadcast is a practice of uncovering, recentering and broadcasting the role bass cultures have played in creating space for living with and through difference. Christina Zetterlund, who is curator, craft and design historian and educator, will present two examples: Luleå Biennale 2022 – Craft & Art and the project (RE)learning the Archive. She foreground a curatorial practice that takes its starting point in a place and the diversity of practices, people and stories that exist there, instead of starting from traditional perspectives shaped in the institutions of Western modernity.

Onkar Kular is Professor of Design at HDK Valand, Academy of Art & Design at the University of Gothenburg. His research is disseminated internationally through exhibitions, education, and publications. He has guest-curated exhibitions for The Citizens Archive of Pakistan, Karachi, and the Crafts Council, UK. He was Stanley Picker Fellow 2016, artistic director of Gothenburg Design Festival, Open Week 2017, and co-artistic director of Luleå Art Biennial 2022.

Christina Zetterlund is craft and design historian with an interest in history writing practices where craft and design become a lens for analysing social situations. She is active as associate professor at the Department of Design, Linneaus University as well as an independent curator. She has been curating the re-search project (Re-)learning the archive at Designarkivet Pukeberg and currently the exhibition Här omkring, presented at Designarkivet in Pukeberg and at Form Design Center, Malmö.

[Re-]Thinking Curating Design and Craft is a series of conversations presented by IASPIS, developed and implemented as a collaboration between Christina Zetterlund who is curator and lecturer in design at Linnaeus University and Magnus Ericson who is Head of Applied Arts at IASPIS.