Craft and Labour – A Seminar with Jessica Hemmings

Friday, February 10, 2017
11:30 AM to 1:30 PM

Room 210
Frederic Lasserre Building
6333 Memorial Road, UBC

Familiar criticisms are easy to level against today’s culture of overproduction: low quality goods manufactured in unacceptable working conditions have driven down quality in favour of volume. Far harder to come by are clear solutions. Consumer apathy, the disparities of global economics and rapidly disappearing knowledge pose formidable barriers to change. But there are examples of designers and artists succeeding in their rejection of our present models of production. This lecture considers practitioners such as Liza Lou, Studio Formafantasma, Meekyoung Shin, Theaster Gates and Hechizoo Studio – who each critique current models of production and investigate inspiring alternatives. Time, as the Swedish artist Emelie Röndahl explains, is often their greatest investment capital.

Seminar discussion will focus on Liza Lou’s Durban Diaries, an autobiographical text in which the American artist records her experience setting up a studio in South Africa which aspires to function as a cooperative.

Jessica Hemmings writes about textiles. She earned a BFA in Textile Design at the Rhode Island School of Design and a MA in Comparative Literature (Africa/Asia) at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Her PhD, awarded by the University of Edinburgh in 2006, is published under the title Yvonne Vera: The Voice of Cloth (kalliope paperbacks, 2008). Her edited volumes include In the Loop: Knitting Now (Black Dog, 2010) and The Textile Reader (Berg, 2012). Also in 2012, she published Warp & Weft with Bloomsbury. Her latest editorial and curatorial project, Cultural Threads, is a book about postcolonial thinking and contemporary textile practice (Bloomsbury, 2015) accompanied by a travelling exhibition Migrations. From 2012 to 2016 Jessica was Professor of Visual Culture and Head of the School of Visual Culture at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin. She is currently Professor of Crafts & Vice-Prefekt of Research at the Academy of Design & Crafts (HDK), University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Event is free and open to the public.

A selection from Liza Lou’s Durban Diaries is available as a PDF. Please contact: Tai Smith for a copy.