Open Section — call for papers
From issue #6 (2014), craft + design enquiry will include an Open Section. Contributors to the Open Section may submit papers exploring any aspect of contemporary craft and design. All papers in the Open Section are peer reviewed and selected for publication in accordance with established craft + design enquiry procedures. The submission process is outlined above.
Themed Section — call for papers
Landscape, Place and Identity in Craft and Design
Guest edited by Kay Lawrence AM
craft + design enquiry welcomes Kay Lawrence as the Guest editor of issue #7 (2015). Kay provides this outline and invites submissions on the theme — Landscape, Place and Identity:
The words used to describe the physical environment and our relationship to it, are always nuanced. The concept of ‘place’ refers to a particular portion of space that may or may not be occupied by people, while also encompassing the idea of dwelling, of living in a particular place. The word ‘landscape’, on the other hand, suggests a slightly different relationship of humankind to the environment. Derived from the 16th century Dutch word ‘landschap’,[i] signifying a unit of human occupation, that is, places shaped by human intervention and use, the contemporary meaning of landscape, ‘natural or imaginary scenery as seen in a broad view’, conceives this relationship in terms of human vision, of looking at a landscape rather than dwelling in a place. These words posit different relationships to the environment; landscapes encompassed by the gaze or places known through the intimacy of bodily sensation. Both words are culturally inflected. Our understanding of both landscapes and places is shaped by sensory experience as well as by memory and myth, and are thus bound up with complex questions about human identity.
If we accept that ‘identity’ is not a given, but constructed in response to an intricate array of social, cultural, economic and physical forces, then how we think of ourselves as individuals, communities or even nations, will be shaped in part by the places and landscapes where we live, and mediated through language. ‘Language’ here is interpreted broadly to refer to the codified systems of representation used in the practices of craft and design as well as written and oral language.
Craft and design practice, even when speculative, is engaged with the physical world, as practitioners work with its visual, material, spatial and temporal qualities to create objects and environments. Recently Glenn Adamson advocated the usefulness of considering craft as process as well as product. Craft is ‘an approach, an attitude or an action … a way of doing things’.[ii] So craft and design in this context can also be considered as processes underpinned by particular ways of thinking and making.
This issue of craft + design enquiry invites papers that explore and reflect upon these ideas about landscape, place and identity in relation to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous craft and design practice in Australia and globally. Or, to put it another way, writers might wish to consider how craft and design practitioners have employed the visual, material, spatial and temporal processes of their disciplines to interrogate questions of identity in relation to concepts of place and landscape.
These questions are further elaborated below.
The Western landscape tradition is predominantly graphic and, although craft can be pictorial (like woven tapestry), craft also affords meaning through the actual materials used. How does craft reflect or interrogate ideas of landscape (or place) through the use of its physical substance; plant, sand, clay, timber and rock?
Representations of landscape can take on ideological ramifications in the formation of identity. In white Australia, for example, the land has been variously constructed in the popular imagination as beneficent or lacking, dangerous and hostile, sometimes with gendered connotations as a nurturing or devouring mother. The concept of ‘wilderness’ has also been used to construct an understanding of the natural environment as untouched by people, separating humankind from the natural world and effacing the long history of Australia as a peopled land cared for and shaped by its Indigenous inhabitants. Writers might wish to consider how such tropes of landscape or place have been employed in craft and design to formulate or question concepts of identity, whether individual, community or national.
In Australia, the term ‘country’, with its many associated meanings that pertain to territory, nationhood and the rural, has taken on additional meaning to signify ‘traditional, Indigenous land and sea with its embedded cultural values relating to the dreamtime’.[iii] The anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose tells of Indigenous elder, Daly Pulkara from the Victoria River district in far north Australia, speaking sadly and heavily of ‘wild’ country; country that bears the devastation of misuse and neglect of the introduced pastoral industry. He compares ‘wild’ to ‘quiet’ country ‘in which all the care of generations of people is evident to those who know how to see it’.[iv] While craft practices have historically been used to express human connection to place through use of traditional processes and local materials, writers might also wish to consider how the idea of human obligation to place, implicit in Indigenous use of the word ‘country’, is being addressed in contemporary craft and design.
craft + design enquiry #7, invites papers reflecting upon these questions from practitioners, researchers and scholars across the broad field of contemporary craft and design practice and theory.
Kay Lawrence AM is a visual artist and writer and Adjunct Professor in the School of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia. She has an internationally recognised textiles practice with work held in many public collections including the National Gallery of Australia. Through her art-making she critically engages with matters of personal and community identity in relation to place, exploring ideas of loss and connection through a practice centred on hand-making and grounded in the materiality and meanings of textiles. She has completed a number of significant commissions for public spaces, and was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1989 for her work designing and coordinating the making of The Parliament House Embroidery. Her scholarly writing on contemporary textiles practice has been published by Berg Publishers, Cambridge Scholars Publishing and Melbourne University Press.
Contributors to the Themed Section of c+de#7 should follow the Steps to submitting a paper for c+de#7. Submissions close on 30 June 2014.
[i] S. Schama, 1995, Landscape and Memory, New York: Alfred A Knopf, p. 10.
[ii] G. Adamson, 2007, Thinking Through Craft, Oxford: Berg, p. 4.
[iii] Bill Arthur & Frances Morphy (eds), 2005, Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia, Macquarie University: Macquarie Library Ltd, p. 262.