Reworking Arts and Crafts

Reworking Arts and Crafts

The unit will explore public engagement through the act of building and making.

The unit will explore public engagement through the act of building and making. The unit’s focus is the initiation of group self-building projects for the course’s summer workshop in 2017. We will engage with a site, local organisations and stakeholders, and collaborate with them to develop the project, with a view to realising and implementing it for general public use.

The Arts and Crafts movement was a social reform act, which responded to the political and economic conditions of the Victorian era. The choice of architectural style and language, materials and the building scale of its proponents were a response to the social conditions of the time. In the age of globalisation, climate change and advancement of digital technology, perhaps it is relevant to revisit the movement now, in order to understand how it intended to change society, how it is still relevant to our lives today, and speculate how we can rethink it for future.

Grizedale Arts is a charitable arts organisation with a philosophy that ‘emphasises a use value for art; promoting the potential for art and artists to experiment and affect change in practical and efective roles, as a central tenet of wider culture and society’*. The institution is based in Lawson Park, located in John Ruskin’s homelands at Brantwood, overlooking Coniston Water in Lake District. The unit will work closely with the organisation in the context of Ruskin and its Arts and Crafts traditions.

Alongside initiating a group self-building project the students will individually research Arts and Crafts buildings, towns and gardens. The unit will continue working with Lethaby Gallery at CSM, the school’s in-house archive resource centre for the Arts and Crafts movement.

*quotes taken from Grizedale Arts website

The above describes an introductory project carried out in 4th year by CSM students. Tutor-initiated investigations allow them to develop individual approaches going into their 5th year.