Crafting Sustainability Conference
Saturday, March 14 – Sunday, March 15, 2015
OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto

Crafting Sustainability is a two-day conference that brings together makers, researchers, educators, and students to interrogate the pairing of craft and sustainable practice. Co-organized by Craft Ontario and the Material Art and Design Department (MAAD) at OCAD University, the conference offers a platform for assessing the role of craft in fostering new paradigms for production and consumption in the 21st century.

Idea exchange and debate will be framed by questions that address what it means to be a responsible maker in a contemporary context. If sustainability is grounded in the principles of ecological responsibility, social equity, and economic viability, what models exist for craft adopting these principles to advance the health of communities? Do the embodied processes of craft production hold clues for new modes of knowledge and appreciation? Where do the challenges lie in translating craft methodologies to late-capitalist consumer culture?

Come out and join the discussion! Twenty guest speakers will cover a range of topics, including explo­rations of disposable culture, conversations about what makes a viable craft practice, customizable 3D printed prosthetics, video game programming in Inuktitut, and ‘craftwashing’ strategies. To find out more and to register:

CRAFTONTARIO.COM/CRAFTING-SUSTAINABILITY

Questions? You can get in touch at Craft Ontario via 416-925-4222 or gallery@craftontario.com. To register for the conference in person, please visit us at the Craft Ontario Gallery at 990 Queen Street West, Toronto ON, M6J 1H1.

Program

SATURDAY, MARCH 14

9:00 – 10:00
Registration and Refreshments
10:00 – 10:15
Welcome, with Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD University President
10:15 – 11:30
FIGURING A WAY, with Judith Leemann, Keynote Speaker
11:30 – 12:45
THE SUSTAINABLE PRACTICE, with Robert Mitchell, Ryan Taylor, Dr. Alia Weston and moderated by Ken Vickerson

12:45 – 2:00
Lunch – please see the REGISTRATION information page for ordering a brown bag lunch

2:00 – 3:15
SPEAKER, Matt Ratto
3:15 – 3:20
Closing Comments, with Emma Quin, Craft Ontario Executive Director
4:00 and on
Offsite programming – please see the EVENTS page and explore your options! Make sure to register ahead of time to secure a spot in your desired event.

SUNDAY, MARCH 15

9:00 – 10:00
Registration and Refreshments
10:00 – 10:15
Welcome, with Ken Vickerson, Chair of the Material Art & Design program at OCAD University
10:15 – 11:30
EMERGING SUSTAINABLY: CRAFT GRADUATE PANEL, with Simon Ford, Jen Kneulman, Marcelina Salazar, Shawna Tabacznik, Silvia Taylor and moderated by Dorie Millerson
11:30 – 12:45
SPEAKER, Rachel Miller

12:45 – 2:00
Lunch – please see the REGISTRATION information page for ordering a brown bag lunch

2:00 – 3:15
INUIT COMMUNITIES PANEL, with Blandina Makkik, Ryan Oliver, Koomuatuk Sapa Curley and moderated by Anna Hudson
3:15 – 3:30
Break and Refreshments
3:30 – 4:45
FROM CRAFTIVISM TO CRAFTWASHING, a conversation with Anthea Black and Nicole Burisch and moderated by Lynne Heller
4:45 – 5:00
Closing Comments, with Emma Quin, Craft Ontario Executive Director

While the term sustainability invites us to re-conceive of how objects are produced and interacted with, its sweeping and appealing connotations have made it a buzzword across industries. Increasingly, the word has been co-opted to further an economic agenda rather than an ecological or social one. Small-scale businesses and mega-corporations alike make claims to sustainable practice, demanding a considered critical look at how the term is used and misused.

In this context, craft has an important role to play in offering alternative business models, modes of knowledge production, communal identity, and an attentive means of interacting with the material world. Craft reasserts the enduring object, replacing that which is ephemeral and disposable. It allows individuals and communities to reclaim acts of making, and challenges the conspicuous paradigm of consumer culture.

How can craft engage with sustainability in a meaningful way? What models exist for craft enhancing social, ecological, and economic health within communities? What are the ways in which we might assess a sustainably designed object or an object designed to sustain? Do the embodied processes of craft production hold clues for new modes of knowledge and appreciation?

This two-day symposium invites makers, designers, educators, students, and academics to explore issues of craft and sustainability. Local and international presenters will address the links between contemporary craft and sustainable practice in order to interrogate dominant economic systems, and point the way to a renewed consideration of the role of craft as an economic, social, and cultural driver, carrying both local and global influence.

Generous support for the Crafting Sustainability conference is provided by the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council. Crafting Sustainability is sponsored by Harbourfront Centre, Sheridan Craft & Design Program, Haliburton School of The Arts: Fleming College, and is taking place as part of Craft Year 2015.