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Research-based education in crafts

Conference contribution
Authors Gunnar Almevik
Published in Craft Conference; Studying Traditional Crafts: Goals and Methods in Higher Education, Viljandi, Estonia, November 12–14, 2019
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Conservation
Language en
Keywords Traditional craft, higher education, academisation, research-based education
Subject categories Cultural Studies, Educational Sciences


Today there exist several fields of study in higher education strongly anchored in a craft. We find crafts in various faculties and disciplines, and also in novel combinations and hybridised with traditional academic fields. This is one bright side of academisation. Another reality, enhanced by the Bologna process to harmonise higher education in Europe, is the emphasis on scholar competences and research to ensure students post-graduate careers. This face of academisation may be perceived as a threat to the integrity of the crafts. The craft teacher may despair; will there be sufficient capacity for skills acquisition and hands on training? There exist a conflict between the craft vocation and a possible craft discipline. In a worst case scenario, academisation forces craft educations into a dichotomic divide of ‘theoretical’ and ‘practical’ courses, where the academic content is perceived as something apart from the craft subject. This presentation will argue for an integrated approach to theory and practice in craft education, where the craft is used systematically as a way to conduct research. Theory is not excluded for lectures and study of literature. Students in crafts have to learn how to identify, use and develop theories from within the practice, by exploring systematic ways to learn from practice. Teaching research methods conducted through craft practice will disclose the fact that skill is a core question of rigour in the craft sciences.

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