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Donald William Ellis, Dip.T. (Art), B.Ed., M.Ed.

A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

School of Education, Division of Education, Arts and Social Science University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia June, 2004

Table of Contents

Table of Contents…………………………………………………........i List of Figures………………………………………………………....iv List of Plates…………………………………………………………..iv List of Tables…………………………………………………………..v Abstract……………………………………………………………… Candidates Declaration………………………………………...........viii Acknowledgements……………………………………………………ix INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………..1 WHAT TO EXPECT………………………………………………….4

SECTION 1: Self, motivations and others……………………………9
CHAPTER 1: Self, the meandering pathway - the researcher’s journey………………………………………………………………….10 CHAPTER 2: Motivations - why this thesis……………………………..20 CHAPTER 3: Other(s) hands and other(s) objectscraftspeople, critics, theorists, commentators, educationists, writers, and industrialists et al have their say........................................24 CHAPTER 4: The jewellers hand/the jewellery object……………….55

SECTION 2: Theories, methodologies, maps and guides……………60
CHAPTER 5: Theories, methodologies, methods – the experts with their data working tool boxes…………………………61 CHAPTER 6: Maps and guides – an assemblage of sites, problems, arguments, questions, resources and methods…………………………………………………………………73


SECTION 3: The research venture – assembling and
operating on three sites of craft representation……………………….82 CHAPTER 7: Craft sites of representation, a craft organisation, an academic jewellery workshop and an exhibition……………………………………………………………….83 Project 1: Craftsouth – a case study of a craft organisation…………….86 Part1: The evolving organisation, an analysis of a selection of Craftsouth’s President’s and Executive Director’s Reports 1980 – 2000……………………………………………………………..89 Part 2: What’s in a name? Positioning Craftsouth: an analysis of craft organisation titles and introductory statements…………………105 Part 3: The Public texts: an analysis of Craftsouth’s publicly disseminated texts……………………………………………115 Part 4: The accreditation document: Craftsouth’s selection criteria…..125 Part 5: The masterpiece: the medieval guilds, Craftsouth and objects of management…………………………………………………126 The evolving thesis: reflections so far…………………………………136 Project 2: The academic jewellery workshop………………………....138 The Workshop Makes Objects: a socio/technical narrative set in an academic jewellery workshop……………………………………154 The Workshop Research: the overall approach……………………….193 Application 1: Institutional paperwork and workshop objects………...197 Part 1: Before the course: institutional paperwork and student objects……………………………………………………198 Part 2: About the course: student response to the institutional paperwork questionnaire……………………………..201 Part 3: During the course: student journals……………………………205 Part 4: After the course: the 250 word essay…………………………..207 Application 2: Workshop assessment: assessment paperwork, workshop objects and the examination…………………..209 Part 1: Analysis of institutional assessment paperwork………………..210

Part 2: Assessment theatre: performing assessment…………………....212

Part 3: Individual reviews: (student, teacher, object)…………………….216 The rewritten texts: institutional assessment paperwork and student reviews………………………………………...221 Project 3: Triptych: the jewellery exhibition…………………………..225 Introduction: Craft and the exhibition Triptych………………………..225 Methodology: ANT as a translator of interests…………………………….227 Problematisation: The exhibition: what? where? whom?.......................230 Interressment: The exhibition: in whose interest…………………………234 Enrolment: The exhibition: making a team…………………………….236 Mobilisation: Putting differences aside: the exhibition as a network….245

SECTION 4: Reflections: with professionalism,
institutionalisation and marketing in mind……………………………….251 CHAPTER 8: Revisiting the sites of representation, the Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object and the Masterpiece……………252 Revisiting the sites of representation……………………….……………..252 The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object: targets of research/tools for research…………………………………...263 The Masterpiece: a fluid tool of management………………………….265 Appraising ANT: the pros and cons……………………………………266 Adding to the literature pool…………………………………………...267 Summary……………………………………………………………….269 Postscript……………………………………………………………….269



List of Figures Figure 1 Evolutionary diagram…………………………….104 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Die diagram………………………………………144 Saw blade/die thickness diagram………………...145 Socio/technical relations diagram………………..175

List of Plates Plate 1 Plate 2 Plate 3 Plate 4 Plate 5 Plate 6 Labelling………………………………………….240 Jewellery in boxes………………………………...242 Jewellery sample 1………………………………..244 Jewellery sample 2………………………………..244 Jewellery sample 3………………………………..244 Triptych opening………………………………….249


List of Tables

Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5 Table 6 Table 7 Table 8 Table 9

Title Analysis…………………………………………….109 Introductory statement analysis………………………….111 Craftsouth title analysis…………………………………..112 Craftsouth introductory statement analysis………………113 Craftsouth title and introductory statement analysis……..113 Humans of Craftsouth……………………………………118 Objects of Craftsouth…………………………………….119 Actions of Craftsouth…………………………………….122 Teacher's word use……………………………………….166

Table 10 Interaction of, and relations between, the four institutional texts…………………………………………200 Table 11 Student response and institutional texts………………….203 Table 12 Student comments on continuous paper work and researcher observations of journal entries…………...206 Table 13 The relationship between institutional texts and student essays………………………………………….....208 Table 14 Humans, non-humans and actions in institutional assessment texts…………………………………………..211 Table 15 Student main concerns……………………………………214 Table 16 Student concerns and teacher comment…………………..215 Table 17 Shared key words, teacher + student……………………...217 Table 18 Student only key words…………………………………...217 Table 19 Teacher only key words…………………………………..217 Table 20 Shared key words + student key words…………………..218 Table 21 Shared key words + teacher key words…………………..219


Abstract Craft's role in its traditional sites is changing. Its management in the form of professionalism, intellectualism and marketing is now in the hands of authorities whose interests challenge grass roots craft leading to its apparent invisibility in these sites. Nevertheless, without the overt representation of the skilled hand and material object, craft sites lose contact with their core operations, practices and ancestry. This loss of semiotic and material connection allows interests that should be subservient to craft to obscure the primary roles hands and objects play in the visual arts and material culture. With this in mind texts and practices from three sites - a professional craft association, an academic workshop and an exhibition are explored for their representations of craft.

Actor-network theory (ANT), the tool employed to excavate craft in these sites, seeks all the seemingly unconnected actors and their relations when things are made. By disputing the distinction between humans and non-humans, ANT permits insights easily overlooked when human action is considered in isolation. Networks of humans, non-humans and their actions are sought in the three sites of study.

In the craft organisation, the hand and the object, although submerged, are found to underscore its current operations and practices. The hand and the object remain as assumed entities to link the organisation’s past and present operations and practices. In the teaching institution, the hand and the object are appropriated to fulfil other interests such as the academic requirements of a university and the "creative" mandate of an art school. In the exhibition, the hand and the object are appropriated to market the arts institutions sponsoring the exhibition as attractive to students, funding bodies and the public.

Although craft remained in the operations and practices in the sites of representation, it was separated from its traditions and reconfigured as a malleable device to generate, but not necessarily appear in, the construction and display of concerns such as professionalism, cultural capital and the market. It is argued that the status of craft as represented in these sites is exemplified by the appropriation of the hand and the object for purposes that simultaneously depend on and subvert their presence in these sites.

The outcomes of the research, summed up by the finding the Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object, suggest strategies for the reformation of practices and education in craft organisations, university workshops and exhibitions by highlighting and reminding them that craft is the basis for both their present and future existence. However the findings are not confined to the three sites in the study, other sites in education, industry, the arts and academia will benefit from the research.

The thesis also tests, and expands the applications of Actor-network theory as a conceptual tool in sites not necessarily related to its roots in science.


Candidate's Declaration
Thesis/Project Title: The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object: craft in three sites of representation

Candidates name:

Donald William Ellis

I declare that this thesis is the result of my own research, that it does not incorporate without acknowledgment any material submitted for a degree or diploma in any University and that it does not contain any materials previously published, written or produced by another person except where due reference is made in the text.

Signed ___Don Ellis_____________________________ Date ___17/11/04______________________________



I would like to thank my supervisors: Pat Thomson whose knowledge of the discipline of thesis writing and firm hand eventually got me started, Vicki Crowley, for her insights into the management of a seemingly unwieldily beast and her unfailing encouragement, and Marie Brennan, who found time in an overwhelming workload of organising and running a huge department in the midst of change to show how a thesis should be finished and prepared for examination.

I am grateful for the unfettered freedom offered by Andrew, Rik and the students of Jewellery Production Techniques during my stay in the jewellery workshop.

I would also like to thank the staff and fellow post graduates in Education C building for the enjoyable social and intellectual environment they proffered, the good memories will linger for a long time.

Finally special thanks to my dear friend Margie for riding the highs and lows of thesis writing with me over the last four years, I hope it was not quite as bad as we thought it might be.





This thesis is inspired and maintained by three things, reflections on a lifetime as a maker, the perceived loss of primary human contact with everyday objects and, significantly, the dilemma of the art/craft debate.

Craft's alliance with the visual arts is problematic and strained. Although craft is considered a strand of the visual arts its role is ascribed merely as a dispensable vehicle for making ideas visible while its objects are categorised as utilitarian and thus disqualified as mediators of aesthetic or intellectual interest. These contentions ignore two matters which warrant a research project. The first is the notion that the making process in all visual art, the craft, is far from just a means to an end: craft inevitably adds intellectual, sensory and utilitarian ingredients to the process which remain embodied in the finished artwork (Higby, 1999). The second is that the material object does not evaporate when the making is over - it too lingers as both testimony to the making and as an object for contemplation independent of the artist's intention and her/his claim for its dissolution. Art objects cannot be made without craft and craft cannot be deleted from the finished artwork.

Hence it is argued that if craft adds to and remains in visual art objects, it must also be available for contemplation independent of the artist’s intention. If craft and the material object is available for contemplation independent of the artist’s intention, why not works which communicate predominantly from the craft process and the craftsperson's intention.










theory/methodology/method is employed because it refutes the notion that craft processes can be eliminated or rendered insignificant when things are made. In fact ANT seeks out and validates all the seemingly unconnected actors and their relations and connects them as a network. A network is a chain of indispensable actors who transform an idea into an object to become the network - the network is an entity, the network is craft.

The word network indicates that resources are concentrated in a few places - the knots and the nodes - which are connected with one another



- the links and the mesh: these connections transform the scattered resources into a net that may seem to extend everywhere (Latour, 1999, p. 180). By disputing the distinction between humans and non-humans when networks are constructed or analysed, ANT allows insights which are overlooked when human input is disconnected from other actors in the network. According to ANT, craft is a symmetrical network of humans and non-humans in environments of work and consumption. Thus the socio/technical symmetry of ANT is ideal to explore craft in the visual arts, or anywhere else for that matter, because craft is a socio/technical pursuit, it employs technique to manifest human passions and desires. It is not easy to keep secrets from ANT, it pursues all actors in a network, including those in what Latour (1999, p.2) calls a black box. ANT opens black boxes and reveals the taken for granted, seemingly indisputable facts beyond reach, but indispensable to the network.

ANT is activated in this context by critical and interpretative discourse analysis, historical references, "thick description" (Geertz, 1973, p.3) and the sociology of translation.

If, as argued, craft both remains in visual art and functions as a discrete entity, it should also remain and function in organisations, institutions and events which claim to represent it in spite of "new" social, technological and economic forces colliding with its traditional roles and leading to its apparent invisibility. The sites must maintain a connection with craft and contact with their ancestry even when the overt representation of the hand and object has disappeared from view. A loss of semiotic connection such as this allows interests which should be subservient to craft to obscure the primary roles hands and objects play in craft sites. This unease lurks behind a thesis which seeks craft in sites that claim to represent it. The tactic is not to look directly at practitioners, users or teachers but rather in sites which influence and interact with their practices. In order to consider these questions, texts and practices from three sites - a professional craft organisation, an academic workshop and a craft exhibition - are explored for their representation of craft. Latour referred to such sites as "centres of calculation".




Any site where inscriptions are combined and make possible a type of calculation. It can be a laboratory, a statistical institution, the files of a geographer, a data bank, and so forth. This expression locates in specific sites an ability to calculate that is too often placed in the mind (Latour, 2000, p.304). Although the standing of craft in the visual arts triggered the research, it is apparent that the importance of craft in other spheres can be affected by the changing interests of "centres of calculation". The “centres of calculation” selected for research, although connected with the visual arts, can be generalised as examples of where, and how, craft can be explored in other sites of material culture. Thus the research encompasses social, cultural, industrial and economic realms beyond the esotery of craft in the visual arts.

Simmering under the surface of this seemingly dispassionate approach to research is a political disquiet fuelled by the disparity between the working class tradesperson and the art/craft craftsperson. Paradoxically when craft was essential to industry and the home it was assigned a lowly socio/cultural status but when apparently irrelevant in these spheres it is taught in universities, linked with “high” culture, supported by the state and corporations and makes some craft workers media stars. Nevertheless the essential craft of the past and its contemporary counterpart share a common feature, in both contexts they exist because they are made by networks of actors relevant at the time of construction. If the networks are valid for the time and place craft lives on.

The impetus, concerns, interests and knowledge behind the thesis and the search for strategies to satisfy them are predicated on the passions, joys, tensions, disruptions, barriers and meetings experienced as a craft practitioner and teacher. Experiences and contacts during an engineering apprenticeship, working as physics laboratory technician, practising as a jeweller and teaching in a workshop are particularly important to both the provocation and survival of the thesis.




WHAT TO EXPECT But how can the impetus, concerns, interests and knowledge be organised into a homogenous and coherent study. First a team of thesis makers needs to be assembled, humans and non-humans, with the right experience, knowledge and skills to make a thesis about craft. The team is made up of a researcher with a craft back ground and the desire to write about it, others with diverse knowledge(s) and interest(s) in the field, their partner technologies and experts with the tools to divulge craft’s secrets. Later sites have to be found and motivations and guides acted upon in the search for craft in sites of representation.

The thesis is set out in four sections and eight chapters.

SECTION 1, personifies the researcher with a craft back ground and the desire to write a thesis, and introduces others with interests and connections in the craft field.

Chapter1 traces a meandering pathway as a metaphor, to sort out the craft history of the researcher as subject, maker and teacher in search of opportunities to practice, teach and avoid a career. This experiential knowledge of craft inspired the thesis, maintained its momentum and added to its research toolbox. But the journey was not taken alone; each stopover on the pathway, saturated in its own cultural, social, technical and economic particulars, contributed conceptually to the journey and added to the motivation to write a thesis on a nebulous entity called craft.

Chapter 2 outlines the concerns which stimulated the researcher’s desire to write a thesis on such a touchy subject as craft. In this chapter questions are posed and arguments presented to defend craft’s indispensability in the visual arts, as a basis for understanding craft everywhere and as the impetus for writing a thesis. The thesis is grounded in a recurring encounter in the meandering journey, the status of craft in the visual arts, the art/craft debate. Although the art/craft debate keeps the fires burning and is an opportunity to acknowledge the presence and importance of craft it is a touchstone rather than a blueprint.

Chapter 3 is a literature review organised around four concepts: the making and using body, academic craft education in/and the visual arts, craft’s public performance and craft writing.



Chapter 4, uses the embodied jewellers hand and jewellery object to write an experiential rendition of the body makes and the body uses, academic craft in/and the visual arts and craft’s public performance.

SECTION 2, considers the theories, methodologies, methods, maps and guides used as analytical tools and thesis directives. Theories, methodologies and methods are the experts and the maps and guides are the sites, problems, arguments, questions, resources and methods used to scrutinise craft in sites of representation.

Chapter 5 describes and validates actor-network theory (ANT), the main theory/methodology/method used in the thesis. It discusses ANT’s ancestry in the philosophy of science, its link with the researcher’s experience in a university physics laboratory and its applicability to a study of craft. Other

theories/methodologies/methods which resonate with ANT are also discussed in this chapter. Experts such as these are needed to peg out common ground for the diverse interests and concerns the thesis brings together.

In Chapter 6, the assemblage of sites, problems, arguments, questions, resources and methods used to map and guide this thesis are outlined and discussed for the way they organise and direct the thesis. The maps and guides are in the form of site selections, problems, arguments, questions, resources and methods.

SECTION 3, assembles, discusses and analyses the research subjects, the craft sites of representation. The three sites are a craft organisation, (Craftsouth) an academic workshop, (jewellery studio in a university), and, Triptych, (a craft exhibition).

In Chapter 7, three projects contextualise, describe and analyse the practices and operations at each of the craft sites of representation. Each project is tailored to suit the nature of the site and the mode of data collection.

Project 1, a craft organisation, Craftsouth, explored using publicly disseminated texts is broken into five parts. Together they construct a multi-faceted depiction of Craftsouth including its development over time, its international context, its relations with its members and the community, its member selection criteria and its



fit with organisations of the past. Its development is explored with an analysis of a selection of President’s and Executive Director’s reports, its international context by comparing its title and statement of intent with craft organisations in other countries, its relations with its members and the community by analysing its publicly disseminated texts, its member selection criteria through an analysis of its accreditation document and its relations with its antecedents by a comparative study of Medieval guilds.

Craftsouth is selected because it represents craftspeople members on several levels of accreditation and craft in the wider community.

The Evolving Thesis is a bridging statement which reflects on the outcomes of the Craftsouth research and its possible effect on the research to follow. Two outcomes found during the organisation research were 1) the hand and the object are useful but oft obscured tools to seek and explore craft sites of representation and 2) the function of objects is not limited to their shape and form as material entities.

Project 2 is set in a university jewellery workshop. The notion that institutional texts are rewritten when students make workshop objects is explored in two applications. Application one, in four parts, analyses student responses to institutional texts and application two, in three parts, analyses institutional assessment criteria and student response during assessment. To ground the formal research applications in the world of the workshop an ongoing socio/technical narrative on workshop life is written around them by casting the workshop as a living organism. The results of the analyses are considered by the degree the assessment criteria is “rewritten” when students make objects for themselves and institutional assessment.

Project 3, is a one part analysis of the researcher’s personal experience of team exhibition making. Memories and a collection of meeting agendas, minutes and newspaper and magazine cuttings were used to recount a jewellery exhibition, Triptych, as a formal research project.

The exhibition was a joint production between three separate institutional jewellery courses and their sponsor, the Helpmann Academy, an umbrella organisation set up



to bring them together for this event. The development of the exhibition is followed as the institutions, the organisation and their human representatives juggle self interest and the common goal of promoting state institutional jewellery education. To help understand how both separate and shared concerns are brought together, ANT’s translating interests is mobilised as a mediating tool.

SECTION 4, reflects on the research projects, their outcomes and the new knowledge about craft and its sites of representation they generate. The section also reflects on both the suitability of Actor-network theory as a

theory/methodology/method in the context of the research and contemplates on the broader applications of the study.

Chapter 8 Revisits the sites of representation, explores the notion of The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object and the Masterpiece, appraises ANT as a research tool and speculates on its addition to craft literature.

First, the now opened sites of craft representation, Craftsouth, the academic jewellery workshop and the exhibition Triptych, are revisited and reflected on for their contribution to organisation and craft knowledge.

The first, Craftsouth, found craft and its affiliates, the hand and the object, to remain as submerged entities which led to the notion of the “Masterpiece” as the basis for a comparative study of Craftsouth and medieval guilds.

In the second site of craft representation, the academic jewellery workshop, it was found that workshops have ambivalent relations with institutional texts; workshops and their human inhabitants have interests and desires which do not always adhere to institutional requirements.

At the third site of representation, the exhibition Triptych, it was found that exhibitions are more than venues for the display of objects; they have inbuilt and imposed trajectories which both defy and manifest the varied interests and concerns of their makers. The material identity of craft objects is usurped both by the exhibition itself and the objectives of the exhibition makers.




A significant research finding summarised in the thesis title as The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object was found beneath layers of contextual interests, meanings and socio/political/economic concerns. This important finding, a consequence of the research, is also a useful approach to other projects where ideas are mediated into objects. Importantly it acts as a hedge against a universal definition of a nebulous and contentious entity such as craft.

Another significant outcome, the Masterpiece, was found as a fluid tool of management rather than a discrete material object. This notion of the Masterpiece was an ideal tool to study assessment, testing and accreditation procedures. The Masterpiece is not merely a material entity but a fluid construct used for the manifestation of local interests.

ANT is reflected on for its applicability for the task of exploring craft in sites of representation and its ability to expose the making process when ideas are mediated into objects.

Finally the research is considered as a contributor to craft and the ANT literature pool and summarised as making a link between the contemporary issues in craft sites of representation and the traditions of making and using objects. The thesis was encapsulated as a challenge, to the researcher, to craft, to the sites of representation and to Actor-network theory.

The next phase is the researcher’s journey traced as a meandering pathway and negotiated through the researcher’s experiences as a craftsperson, student and teacher and his confrontations with the diverse worlds of craft.




SECTION 1: Self, motivations and others
The researcher’s identity as a maker and teacher, portrayed as a meandering pathway, his motivations to write a thesis argued within the art/craft debate and interactions with influential fellow travellers such as other makers, theorists, critics, writers and philosophers provide the background for the thesis. Together they set its boundaries and contribute to its atmosphere.




CHAPTER 1: Self, the meandering pathway – the researcher’s journey

Summary The chapter examines experiences which both instigated and directed the thesis. These experiences asserted the inevitability of a study of craft to a degree that any other topic was out of the question.

This meandering pathway which led to a thesis imbued craft with a moral and class dimension in a working class home and during trade training, marginalised it in the science laboratory workshop, and swamped it with aesthetics and “meaning” in the visual arts. However these experiences led to satisfying experiences as craftsperson, teacher and student.

The meandering pathway is neither straight nor stable, not made by deliberate decisions but directed by opportunities and diverted by obstacles as they arise. The course is set by early experiences in the home and continues as one opportunity to "hand make" leads to another, sign-posting all other pathways as dead ends.

At Home with the Makers: The Growing Craftsman Summary Growing up in a working class home is examined for the way it shaped attitudes to hand making and as an initiation into working class culture.

I was raised in a family of makers. My mother, a tailor by trade, incessantly made clothes for her family and friends and my father, a plumber, was a passionate sheet metal worker. During my childhood I did a bit of both. Later the memories of working these materials were recalled in jewellery objects which I made.

There were always things to be made, kites when there was wind, model aeroplanes when the thermals appeared and vehicles, weapons, and machines the year round. These were all crafted with care but used with abandon; the notion of in the making was set at an early age. A "natural" consequence of a childhood of making was an apprenticeship in a mechanical trade.




Learning the Trade: The Apprentice Summary Trade training is explored in terms of the social, political, class and gender positions it engendered. Acquiring hand skills and mastering tools and machinery during trade training is enmeshed in concepts of work, notions of masculinity, class stratification and workplace culture. Learning a trade was bilateral, it made a skilled tradesperson and a working class male.

The country town in which I lived absorbed school leavers into the workforce according to their educational level and social contacts. In my case three years of high school and a neighbour with a supervisory position in a power station were the right mix for an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner - a felicitous outcome, as fitting and turning in the 1950s was a craft based activity; objects were still made with, and fitted by, the skilled hand.

I transferred to the city to finish the apprenticeship in the company's workshop school. It was an intense learning environment where skill and precision were combined with speed. Significantly this furnished a skill base I later drew upon as a metal craftsman and jeweller.

The apprentice school was a simulated workplace where hand and machine skills and tool making connected the skills of the tradesperson with the notion of work. It was a workshop programme that integrated trade skills and workshop behaviour and discipline prior to working with the men on the shop floor. Many of the skills no longer used in industry were taught as valuable exercises to hone hand-eye coordination, to connect the apprentice with the roots of the trade but more importantly, to cultivate attitudes to work. The idea that work can be tedious, arduous and mindless but had to be done was an important part of trade training. “To file pieces of metal day in and day out as engineering apprentices had to do……” (Dormer, 1994 pp. 40-41).

Craft in the apprentice school assimilated the skills of the trade and attitudes appropriate for the work place. But trade training was more than this; it was preparation for working class life.




In the 1950s learning a trade for young males was a rite of passage. Intending apprentices left high school early, usually between years eight and ten, to continue their education in the workplace and mature as men in the care of a benevolent employer.

The responsibility for the care of the apprentice was bound in a formal contract between employer, apprentice and parents. Ostensibly the employer's mandate was to teach the trade but their obligation went beyond the development of skills and knowledge; it was assumed that males between the age of fifteen and twenty needed supervision, discipline and a moral dimension in their lives. In fact there is provision in the indenture document to dismiss the apprentice on moral and behavioural grounds but not on his inability to learn the trade. Point four of The Indenture of Apprenticeship states:

In case the apprentice be at any time during the said term wilfully disobedient to the commands of the employer or be habitually slothful or negligent or otherwise grossly misbehave himself the employer may discharge the apprentice from his service. (Apprentices Act, 1950)

Similarly the apprentice in medieval times swore on oath “to be industrious and obedient, and to work for no other master” (Renard, 1918 p. 11). The moral dimension was environmentally constructed; that is, workshop etiquette and the divinity of trade skills were means as well as ends, in a sense, mediators for concepts of work and notions of masculinity in a working class culture. They were enforced and reinforced by initiation rites, violence, cajolery, exclusion and arbitrary disciplines such as never being allowed to sit, lean or chat during working hours and long, mindless repetitive tasks such as filing and sawing. Dormer's description of the rigour of the traditional British apprenticeship also applied to apprentice training in Australia in the 1950s:

Many people would like to acquire skills, but the long and arduous years of apprenticeship are a deterrent. To file pieces of metal day in and day out as engineering apprentices had to do, or to devote several hours a day to practising the movements of classical dance, may be compared to equestrian dressage. Both self-control and, to some extent, physical and intellectual subjection are needed (Dormer, 1994: pp. 4041).




Although attitudes to skills and workshop practices were important - such as pride in the quality of the finished work, speed, the care of tools and deference to those more highly skilled, it was the umbrella notion of work itself that constructed a moral perspective. Although working hard was a highly valued attribute, and working with the body (especially with the hands) the epitome of the measurement of work, outworking others and being over worked by the boss was not condoned. The presumption was that there must always be work because without work life is without discipline. Australian apprenticeships, based on British models with their roots in Victorian times acceded to the intrinsic value of work. A quote attributed to the Victorian Christian Socialist Charles Kingsley summed this up succinctly:

Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred other virtues which the idle never know (Kingsley, 1991, p. 86) Peter Dormer (1994, p.41), commenting on the working life of knife and cutlery makers in the 1960s, also expressed this relation between work and trade skills in industrial England when he wrote:

They knew how to do their work but it remained a discipline that they forced out of themselves every day.The men 'policed' themselves constantly. This is far from machine-like, it is not 'merely mechanical. Influenced by both its roots in British work place culture and transported by a wave of post-war migrant tradesmen, the relations between work and skills in Australian industry had a decidedly British flavour.

The culture of apprentice training in the 1950s mirrored working class life in general: craft was the basis for industrial production, the main source of household income and the means of enhancing the material resources in the home. Hand skills and hand made objects were more than cultural, sensory and marketing signifiers. These experiences and conditions not only seeded a lifelong desire to craft but they also kept the idiosyncratic world of contemporary art/craft in check by not letting it forget its roots in past industrial and domestic spheres.




In the evening and at weekends to complement the rigor of the workshop, I started to read and draw; pursuits which led to part time art studies in drawing and painting at an art school hence establishing a life time pattern of part time study. Art school was a sanctuary and an alternative to a future in industry; although at the time I did not realise that my industrial and working class background could never be jettisoned, I would always protect and defend them. Art school opened up an alternative but discordant social world: managing discordant social worlds also remained as a lifetime pattern.

Nevertheless I still needed a day job so I applied for and was accepted for a position in the physics department workshop in a university as an engineering technician. An engineering tradesperson could choose from a range of work options at a time when hand and machine skills were the basis for employment. However there was little variation in the type of work offered as the lowly status of the tradesperson limited involvement in anything but the sale of skills and knowledge of the trade. When tradespeople changed jobs it was often to relieve boredom by changing work environments, pursuing better work conditions and meeting new co-workers. Dormer (1994, pp. 14-15) tagged this as the “dumb artisan”, the worker who obligingly applied his/her skills and experience to tasks set by others.

The Physics Workshop: The physics laboratory technician Summary First hand experiences as an engineering tradesperson in a science laboratory are explored as a basis for the argument that the indispensability of laboratory craft to science can validate craft’s indispensability to art.

The job as an engineering technician in a university physics department was ideal for a craftsperson. Working in a pristine workshop, not tethered to particular machines or tasks, the complete production of the object was entirely in the craftsperson’s hands. Each object was unique and required precise calibration. Often kinetic, some sat within the ambit of the modernist notion of machine sculpture. This workplace was an organic site, driven by the fluctuating fortunes of research staff and students.




Prior to computer modeling, hypotheses were tested with objects: objects were made to prove or reject a hypothesis. Research was dependent on the construction of objects in order to "advance"; a hypothesis was tested by exposing it to objects it, in a sense, designed and the role of the craftsperson was to develop objects which gradually closed in on a hypothesis.

There is a downside for a manual worker in a university workshop: complete engagement with the object is frustrated by the division between academics and craftspeople, in spite of their tacit agreement that craft makes research possible. Although the researcher and the craftsperson worked together to make science, an invisible line drawn between the intellectual and manual worker kept them apart: the first taste of social/educational/cultural divisions marked out on shared ground by unequal power bases and incommensurate objectives.

However scientists knew how important craft was to research. They not only carefully selected technicians from the trades to craft their experiments they could not resist the desire to be involved themselves. Although their clumsy attempts were often misguided and disastrous, their conception of craft as fundamental to science was, at least, reassuring for the technicians. Latour (1999, p.156) observed that they “are like helpless nestlings while the adults are busy building the nests and feeding them”.

The craftspeople, although marginalised were acknowledged by the scientists as important: science and scientists demanded first hand contact with the craft they knew to be indispensable. Latour (2000, p.191) wrote:

“Technical skill” and “technical personnel” apply to those with a unique ability, a knack, a gift, and also the ability to make themselves indispensable, to occupy privileged though inferior positions which might be called, borrowing a military term, obligatory passage points. So technical people, objects, or skills are at once inferior (since the main task will eventually be resumed), indispensable (since the goal is unreachable without them), and, in a way capricious, mysterious, uncertain (since they depend on some highly specialised and sketchily circumscribed knack). If laboratory research is a craft based practice and advanced through the production of objects can this be the basis for a dismantling the art/craft dichotomy?



Laboratory experiences positioned craft as an indispensable mediator in the production of science, a position which could be applied the art/craft debate. Craft, as an indispensable element which remains embodied in the outcomes of science research must also remain as an indispensable element embodied in the art object rather than craft and art occupying separate territories. The two positions, that of the artist who abandons the craft which makes art and the craftsperson who claims the craft that makes the object, share common ground because both are dependent on craft for function, meaning and aesthetics. The problem is not the differences but rather the socio/cultural forces which initiate and maintain the differences.

Reflections on laboratory workshop experiences in the early 1960s made possible a challenge to the accepted status of the craftsperson. Rather than an insignificant underling in the research process, their role in the laboratory was that of an indispensable mediator without which research could not be carried out. Thus a significant shift in the understanding of the status of craft is proposed. The indispensable role of the craftsperson in the laboratory questions the inferior positions they were said to hold.

Teaching and Studying: The Teacher and Student Summary Experiences as a high school art teacher are explored for the impact they had on later opportunities to study, practice and teach.

I left the physics workshop to become a high school art teacher thanks to the 1960s teacher shortage. My teaching methodology was based on the dissatisfaction I felt with my own short high school experience which, incidentally, did not include art in the curriculum. In retrospect this may have been a good thing. I at least thought I knew how not to treat teenagers and art was a passion unspoiled by past learning experiences. In a short five-year career as a high school teacher I think I was successful. A mentor at that time said that "direct entrants" made the best and the worst teachers. I think I was the former; I seemed to instinctively know how to teach. I was fortunate enough to be posted to a boy’s technical high school in a large team of art teachers, in effect, a mini art school. Although I had completed a substantial part of an art school diploma and exhibited a little, I had no teaching experience or qualifications. But teaching qualifications were necessary if I was to



stay in the job and qualifications meant a teachers college course and my first taste of academic work since my truncated high school years. A lifetime love of learning and teaching had their roots in my teachers college days. I continued at art school in the evening and attended teachers college in non-teaching periods and at late afternoon lectures. My first taste of academic work since high school was totally invigorating; I loved it and did well in spite of an extremely heavy workload. I continued to paint and exhibit and had my first one-person show during this time. The reviews were positive and I now had a social world where issues of art and culture could be discussed. Becoming a teacher also meant shifting my art school study programme from visual art to art teaching which included a course called Craft. One of the craft options was jewellery making using simple tools, found materials and base metals to make objects for the body. Past skills and pleasures of working with metal and mechanics were revived by this turn of events. Initially I used found objects and later adapted my engineering hand skills to traditional jewellery making techniques. The Jeweller: Making jewellery/teaching jewellery making Summary Experiences as a jeweller and teacher are explored as a direct influence on the instigation, and shape of, the thesis.

Why Jewellery My jewellery education was enhanced by access to a state funded craft collective consisting of an administrative centre, gallery and training workshops set up in a disused factory in the city, with overseas master craftspeople as workshop heads. I was offered and accepted a place in the jewellery workshop as a trainee under the tutelage of a master jeweller. This was to be a seminal experience in my career as a jeweller and craftsperson. I now had access to good jewellery tools and equipment and a master jeweller who brought the traditions, standards and theories of European jewellery making to the city.

Nevertheless jewellery making was not a conscious career choice. Rather it was a "natural" outcome of training and working in a metal trade, experience as a laboratory technician and education and practice in the visual arts. It brought with it both benefits and misgivings. The benefits include the role jewellery plays in



human communication, its use as a mediator in social ritual, the pleasure of mastering its intricate techniques and processes, its potency as a personal signifier and its value as an educational tool. The misgivings include its use as an insidious marker of social and economic stratification, as packaging for "valuable" investment commodities, and the ecological and human outcomes of extracting many of its raw materials from the earth.

A jeweller has two options for professional practice, the commercial trade or the visual arts. Choosing the visual arts brought two sets of values into conflict, the socio/cultural elitism of the visual arts and the working class values of trade training. The disparity between these ideals isolated the craftsperson in a ghetto where they have to pander to the trade with their skills and convince the art world of their disinterest in them.

Practising, Lecturing and Studying: The Craft Professional Summary The accumulation of lifelong experiences finally makes the craft professional. It is now possible to alternate between, and combine the roles of practitioner, lecturer and student.

Other than secondary art teaching, craft camp and summer school tutoring, “serious" teaching began with a position as a visual art lecturer in an art/craft programme. This launched a career as a teacher of adults; the pleasure experienced during this period remained throughout a long career as teacher. Teaching became a part of private practice and scholarship, a classic trilogy for a craft jeweller.

During this period I discovered how to teach jewellery making in a workshop. I assimilated theory and practice by bringing to the teaching workshop ideas which theorised the act of making and used it as a basis for curriculum construction. This was in part stimulated by an interest in trade/craft while working with a colleague from the manufacturing industry. By combining his knowledge and approach with the spirit and risk of “art/craft” we constructed a curriculum based on the nature of workshop life. Together we built a workshop and a programme from the ground up, shaping a learning environment which produced graduates who were successful in both fields.



My interest in the interface between education and craft theory from a workshop perspective rekindled a desire to return to study. As a result I formally pursued my interest in craft theory and education which grew into full time work on a doctoral thesis.

Although lifelong attitudes toward object making were formed in a domestic environment and as an engineering apprentice, the research is predicated on experiences as a physics laboratory technician, art/craft jeweller and workshop teacher. Particularly influential was a career as a jeweller and workshop teacher which began in the earthy soil of the 1960s and blossomed during the relatively benign developments in technology, theory and education into the late 1980s. Cracks opened up and shook the foundations of the romantic world of the craftsperson during the 1990s with the advent of computer technology, the commodification of education and the reconceptualisation of the visual arts.

Prior to these experiences the primacy of craft, internalised during a childhood where hand making objects not only constituted a living and added significantly to the character and aesthetics of domestic life but also evoked memories of past times and events. Importantly the socio/economic status implicit in this lifeworld fostered a political position that to this day remains as a nagging tension between working class ideologies, the elitism of the art/craft world and the isolation of academia. However a return to the days of an idyllic childhood and the primacy of the hand made object in domestic, industrial, and cultural realms is not imminent: those times have long passed.

The messages evoked by tracing the meandering pathway are encapsulated in the art/craft debate, the motivations behind the thesis. The art/craft impasse came to view with the growth of the researcher as a craft professional which exposed disjunctions and barriers between what is considered art and what is not. Art defined itself as a platform for meaning and aesthetics, relegating the notion of human skill and innate material qualities to the margins and excluding craft from the category of art. Craft wanted to be in there as an equal, arguing that human skill and material qualities can also produce and disseminate meaning and aesthetics. This, it is argued, is the core of art/craft debate, the status of craft in the art object. The following chapter explores this argument as the motivation for the thesis.

CHAPTER 2: Motivations – why this thesis

Summary This chapter expands on the impetus for the thesis, the status of craft in the visual arts. The art/craft debate presents an opportunity to encapsulate the motivation for the research and recognise the importance of craft generally. Four questions are posed to assist in understanding craft in art and from these an argument which “logically” forms craft both as a discrete entity and indispensable mediator in art.

This image is included in the print thesis available from the University of South Australia Library.

“Signs to ignore” Cartoon in a university newspaper (UniSANews April 2003)

The search for a place for craft and art to share as equals is the stimulus for the research and the driving force which keeps it going. The following semantic argument pitched prior to the empirical study supports the researcher's belief in the efficacy of craft as both an indispensable macro mediator and a discrete entity. Support or refutation of the belief will, of course, finally depend on the reading of the research conclusions.

The binary, art/craft, is usually expressed hierarchically with art on the left and craft on the right. In this chapter it is capitalised and the order reversed to Craft/Art. Capitals are used to denote Craft (or Art) as a discrete entity and noncapitals when it is used as a macro mediator.



Although craft is generalisable across a wide range of human activities, a discussion about its relationship with Craft/Art is useful if the perception of its status and role in the visual arts is to be explored. An exploration of craft in Craft/Art is premised on three assumptions - it locates craft in the visual arts, it asserts the importance of craft in cultural, social, industrial, economic and domestic fields and it is an exploration which supports the rationale of the thesis.

But can, in fact, the Craft/Art debate be used in this way, or is it based on a set of socio/cultural beliefs beyond the realm of "rational" argument? In an attempt to extract the argument from the socio/cultural mire four questions are posed, analysed and used to argue a case for Craft and craft.

Questions can perform a language game; alter a single significant word and meanings change direction. For instance the meanings of the following four questions are altered in ANT terms by a change of mediator represented by four words “enlisted, enrolled, significant and indispensable”. The questions are:

1. Is craft enlisted in the process of making Craft/Art? If so, where and how is it enlisted in the process of making Craft/Art? How can an analysis of craft in sites of representation be used to affirm a role for Craft in Craft/Art?

2. Is craft enrolled in the process of making Craft/Art? If so, where and how is it enrolled in the process of making Craft/Art? How can an analysis of craft in sites of representation be used to affirm a role for Craft in Craft/Art?

3. Is craft significant in the process of making Craft/Art? If so, where and how is it significant in the process of making Craft/Art? How can an analysis of craft in sites of representation be used to affirm a role for Craft in Craft/Art?

4. Is craft indispensable in the process of making Craft/Art? If so, where and how is it indispensable in the process of making




Craft/Art? How can an analysis of craft in sites of representation be used to affirm a role for Craft in Craft/Art?

The four questions are posed as possible starting points for the search for craft in art, the original motivation for the research. Each word, enlisted, enrolled, significant and indispensable, alters the question and the nexus between craft and art. Although each word connects craft to art only indispensable forms an immutable bond.

The word enlisted suggests that craft can be brought in if necessary; craft would be useful but optional and voluntary in the process of making Craft/Art. Enrolled suggests craft can be an advantage to Craft/Art, optional although under some coercion. The word significant suggests craft has a place in the process of making Craft/Art but not essential or compulsory whilst indispensable suggests that craft is essential and neither optional nor voluntary. While the words enlisted, enrolled and significant connect craft to Craft/Art the tenuousness of the relationships preclude them from the following argument. Thus it is the question “Is craft indispensable to the process of making Craft/Art?” which deserves a more detailed discussion in a story titled “Finding the Craft in Art”.

Finding the Craft in Art The simple title Finding the Craft in Art highlights one of those enigmas that beset much contemporary nomenclature for both craft and art. Before craft can be found in art a workable definition for craft and art must be agreed upon. Something can only be found if it can be recognised and recognition can only be legitimated if the definition is agreed upon by a critical mass. If a “universal” definition for craft or art is contested territory how can the quest Finding the Craft in Art be warranted?

The only recourse is to admit is that it cannot. A watertight definition that would satisfy all stakeholders is highly improbable. Nevertheless others must have or imply a definition because the use and manifestation of the names in both informal and formal settings is widespread and, to an extent, is the basis for dispensing resources, power, privilege and status. Art schools and Craft organisations are examples where the terms are used. Art schools and Craft organisations are active producers of objects and practices that go out into the world to represent a notion of



Craft and Art. Before the research begins the notion of the indispensable craft in art is explored in words as a quasi-algebraic story titled The Story of big “C” and little “c”.

Craft could be seen to occupy two positions represented by big “C” and little “c”: big “C” represents craft as Craft, as a discrete form of Art, and thus a discrete entity and little “c” craft represents craft as an indispensable mediator in all practices and events where ideas are made into objects.

If big “C” craft as a discrete form is represented by the indispensable little “c” craft, and little “c” craft represents craft as an indispensable mediator (in a theatre, laboratory, workshop, studio etc.) in all practices and events that are produced by little “c” craft big “C” Craft is validated by the role little “c” craft plays in all these practices and events.

If it is established that little “c” craft is indispensable in all practices and events its indispensability must also apply to Art.

If its indispensability applies to Art, indispensability is a justification for proposing big “C” craft, like Art, as a discrete entity for contemplation.

Thus the evidence for big "C" craft as a discrete form is sought in two realms, within the claims of the autonomy of big "C' and outside big "C" where little "c", as an indispensable mediator, influences the form of all (including Art) objects.

The contribution little "c" makes to the form of big "C" is sufficient to create a discrete entity and a field of study, practice and education in its own right. Nevertheless the search is unsubstantiated empirically and must continue, but with help from outside the esoteric world and apriori assumptions of the researcher.

The meandering pathway was not taken alone nor were the motivations self constructed: others met along the way invite relationships, form pacts and cause disruptions although their differing views do not prevent them from sharing a concern for craft. Said called this a "filial relationship" (Rowley, 1992, p.167).




CHAPTER 3: Other(s’) hands and other(s’) objects – craftspeople, critics, theorists, commentators, educationalists, writers and industrialists, et al have their say.

Summary The literature review frames the research interests of the study. It explores a number of sites inhabited by craft and listens to practitioners, critics, theorists, commentators, educationalists, writers, industrialists, et al as they have their say. The hand and the object although nested in these texts relies on written language as a representing agent inevitably separating them from the material world in which they belong and supplanting them as resources for theories, ideologies and opinions.

Where now for craft: Johnson (1997, p.292) introduces the discussion with questions which both highlight the craft dilemma and underpin the argument for this review.

At the close of the twentieth century, the crafts are surviving when, apparently, they ought not to be. What does it mean, at this time, to have the desire to make? What is implied by the desire to acquire or to view the handmade object? Where do we locate the handmade within what Baudrillard calls the hyper-reality of mass electronic culture? For the crafts to survive “when, apparently, they ought not to be” new partners had to be found to keep them going in a continually moving socio/technical environment. The review argues that the four partners are 1) the making and using body 2) academic craft education in/and the visual arts 3) craft's public performance and 4) craft writing.

The first partner is craft organisation which supports the making and using body by presenting the traditions of craft in a post industrial environment for a contemporary audience. The second is academia and the visual arts where craft education in/and the visual arts is repackaged as an intellectual and aesthetic entity. The third partner is an amalgam of the various ways craft performs in the public domain. Finally in a communication saturated environment (and in this thesis) craft is often produced, constituted and critiqued as written text.




Craft and the body deals with two issues: craft practice (the body makes) and craft function (the body uses). The opportunities to craft objects in contemporary society are placed in the light of the theorised social body and how it appropriates craft. Academic craft education in/and the visual arts explores craft education and training and its shift from industry to university, its link with the visual arts and its demise in secondary schools. Craft’s public performance looks at ways craft is employed in contemporary society from three standpoints: in material culture as a social/cultural/economic signifier, at work as a design and research tool and at leisure for pleasure and to personalise living environments. Finally in a language mediated society it is argued that the craft of writing and writing on craft both informs others about the state of craft and influences those who “make” craft. These concerns and interests frame the thesis.

Exploring the world of craft inevitably snares more than the above concerns and interests; everything from the reproduction of archaic skills, the integration of new technologies and influential socio/cultural formations are picked up along the way. This is partly brought about by craft having its roots in the past and current practices in the present. But moving across time and place is inevitable; the desire to make now is enhanced by both traditional craft knowledge and new technological, socio/cultural and economic formations.

Although the need to simultaneously modify and adapt to new environments and satisfy lingering desires is manifested in, and confounded by, new states they eventually become the norm in turn to be confounded ad infinitum by following states leaving the question of what is craft open for revision in perpetuity, especially the nexus between the maker and the user. Fry (1992, pp.256-257) sees this mutable nexus as an outcome of a general process of dematerialisation

The specification of post industrial culture is immaterial" as "its aim is to accelerate the demise of the material relations of production and consumption. He sees dematerialisation gradually weakening the connection between maker and user as it "moves much nearer to taking on a far greater life and logic of its own". Although makers and users of craft objects are decreasing in number: only a few specialists are needed in both mass and niche manufacturing and craft "one offs"



are too expensive and arcane for the mass market, the desire to make and use lingers.

The desire to make and use is further upset on a macro scale as new technologies, socio/cultural formations and economies oversee the shift from an industrial to a post-industrial era. Craft, stripped of its primary role in industry and the home is usurped by the state and in institutions, organisations and corporations where it is now merely a cultural novelty and marketing ploy. Human desire has been transplanted in the computerised minds of robots.

The diminishing opportunities for craft in industry, the home and community can also be traced through the history of industrialisation, the mutability of worker's organisations and the movement from industrialisation to post-industrialisation. In this context subsistence craft was superseded by the establishment of small factories and guilds, which led to large-scale industrialisation and formal trades and unions, later to be replaced by automation and multi-national corporations. Automation and multi-national corporations heralded the end of traditional trade training, a process which began, according to Williams (1981, p.113), with the industrial revolution.

Apprenticeship, as a form of professional initiation and training, began to diminish in the transition that occurred between the traditional and the newly rising industrial society. The industrial revolution altered attitudes toward training. Machines were creating a large need for unskilled workers, and there was a diminished interest in apprenticeship training. Craft not only supported a working, domestic and community life but it also helped meet the desire to control, shape and individualise living environments. The aesthetic, sensual and corporeal satisfaction that individuals, families and communities found in the production and use of hand made objects was gradually taken over by professional designers and robotic production.

But the desire to make withers slowly. Direct human involvement in the designing and making process, frustrated by macro forces can, in fact, promote hand making by consumers. They attempt to reclaim and control the conditions of, and individualise their environments by modifying and personalising consumer objects



allowing the consumer, in a sense, a space to "(re)make" left vacant by consumerism.

Although corporations and robotic production have neither eradicated the crafts or the desire to make, they are marooned, searching for a place in a society where commodification, consumerism and economics are now the benchmarks of value.

The above issues are covered in Johnson’s questions on craft survival and expanded on in the Making and Using Body. Her questions "what does it mean, at this time, to have the desire to make?" and "what is implied by the desire to acquire or view the handmade object?” starts the ball rolling.

The Making and Using Body The body and the hand are central to craft: without the body and the hand, imaginary or corporeal, craft would not exist. The body and hand are there for objects both in the "magical" process of making and the "spiritual" act of using. A study of craft is also a study of the body and the hand as they are configured and reconfigured by regular conscious or un-conscious acts and representations of making and using.Thus craft has two important allies, human desire and the human body. The current awareness and interest in them is stimulated by, among other things, feminism and the resurgence of the mind/body debate. The body is thus revealed as an available site for inscription and craft objects as available body inscribers. Unlike visual art objects they are not autonomous; they want to work with their human hosts as the body is inscribed for its everyday dramatic and relations with the world. Mood, occasion, surveillance, body image, etc. are dramatic relations in which the craft object has a place. The body's performance as Gaten's (1996, p.35) sees it, is an "imagery body as other": This body image is a double of sorts which allows us to imagine and in our present situations - to be in a sense our own 'other' - but it is also involved in what allows us to project ourselves into future situations and back to past situations. We can be objects, for ourselves and to ourselves: recipients of our own sadism/masochism; esteem/disdain: punishment/reward; love/hate. Our body image is a body double that can be as 'other' to us as any genuine 'other' can be.




Grosz (1994, p.142), located this contention in cultural terms when she wrote of body inscriptions as a means of fulfilling cultural requirements thus: Not only does what the body takes into itself (diet in the first instance) effect a "surface inscription" of the body; the body is also incised by various forms of adornment. Through exercise and habitual patterns of movement, through negotiating its environment whether this be rural or urban, and through clothing and makeup, the body is more or less marked, constituted as an appropriate or, as the case may be, an inappropriate body, for its cultural requirements. As the craft object shares the body and body space and as we all have a body with which to work the processes of inscription could be seen as both empowering and democratising. Gatens (1996, p.viii) expanded on this notion of the body as an imaginary construct: I am not concerned with physiological, anatomical, or biological understandings of the human body but rather with what will be called imaginary bodies. An imaginary body is not simply a product of subjective imagination, fantasy or folklore. The term 'imaginary' will be used in a loose but nevertheless technical, sense to refer to those images, symbols, metaphors and representations that help construct various forms of subjectivity. The unique craft object is a means available to the individual to make their body in a unique form. "Inscriptions on the subject’s body coagulate corporeal signifiers into signs, producing all the effects of meaning, representation, depth, within or subtending our social order." (Grosz, 1994, p.141)

Furthermore if expanding the notion of making the body by inscription to include not only what is on or in the body but what the body interacts with, craft is everywhere. According to Hacking (1998, p.239), Foucault proclaimed that "Couldn't everyone's life become a work of art"? However, couldn't everyone's life also become a work of craft?

Nevertheless there is always a risk of inscribing the body and the space it occupies according to contexts, motives and interests of others. Sawchuk (1987, pp.62-63) warned of fashion (if we take fashion as a compliant behaviour) when she claimed that, "Fashionable behaviour is never simply a question of creativity or selfexpression; it is also the mark of colonization". Nevertheless, the "made" body



ultimately shows to the world a fusion of human and object. The unique craft object is one player in the drama which expands the possibilities for everyday corporeal inscription in which we can see "the subject and object becoming and fusing through making". (Fry, 1992, p.263)

If the craft object is a mediator which inscribes the body for the world to see, then transforming raw materials into craft objects by the body of the maker inscribes the body of the maker. The maker is made (and remade) by the processes of transforming raw materials from formlessness to form, from form to function, from visual neutrality to "beauty" and from socially inert to socially active. The maker inscribes the materials with his/her body to inscribe the body of the user with the craft object. Dissanayake (1995, pp.41-42) sees this exchange as a joyful experience for both maker and user.

Bachelard (1994, p.xxxvii-xxxviii) looks beyond the material form, function, site and the space occupied by objects to their psychological and philosophical significance. He confers on them poetic connotations. They could, for instance, produce such things as comfort, intimacy, fear, desire or peace. No less, objects from and on the body can inscribe it with significance by their capacity to translate the prosaic into the poetic.

Nevertheless the body, important as it is in material culture, is tended by the hand. The hand not only organises and grooms the body but it also makes objects for the body.

Where would we be without our hands? Our lives are so full of commonplace experience in which the hands are so skilfully and silently involved that we rarely consider how dependent upon them we actually are (Wilson, 1999, p. 3). Hands manage the pleasure of making objects. They not only work but they know, they send out and receive knowledge, they define space and organise the objects which occupy it. “Thus far we have concentrated on the features of hand that act on the world. Hands, clearly, have an important role also in receiving the world” (Murray, 1992, p.3). Objects made by the hand for the body signify both unification and separation; the hand unifies objects with the body of the maker and separates



objects from the maker’s body for unification with user’s bodies. The hand intellectualises the body by bringing together the other senses for object making. The hand is also used as a symbol of social and economic discrepancies, between the menial and the intellectual and between labour and capital (Morris, 1888). Hands are divine instruments; they facilitate prayer and channel spirits. It is claimed that “there are more than 500 references to hands in the bible” (Johnson, 2000, p. 1). They refer not only to the hands in prayer but also hands as signs and symbols of embodiment and disembodiment. Hands are a means of responding to the tactility of the world, hands make objects – objects without the imprint of hands are alien to human use. Paz made the connection between hand and object thus:

Since it is a thing made by human hands, the craft object preserves the fingerprints – be they real or metaphorical – of the artisan who fashioned it. These imprints are not the signature of the artist; they are not a name. Nor are they a trademark. Rather, they are a sign: the scarcely visible, faded scar commemorating the original brotherhood of men and their separation. Being made by human hands, the craft object is made for human hands: we can not only see it but caress it with our fingers (Paz, 1974, p. 21) Hands are in themselves beautiful objects, they can articulate wishes, feelings, moods, and serve occupations, hands act on and receive the world.

This capacity and desire to make objects with the hand and body has not been erased because the socio/technical world has changed. The coordinated relationship between the hand and other technologies (from simple tools to the computer) remains as a significant edge humans have over other animals to make objects. This does not mean that other animals do not make but the dexterity enabled by forceps grip, agile fingers and hands, binocular vision and a capacity for imaginative problem solving means that humans are perfectly endowed to transform raw materials into objects. As McCullough (1996, p.32) observed:

Hand-eye coordination distinguishes humanity as the maker of things: homo faber. It is our talent to bring a mass of raw materials into conformity with a vision. We fashion tools and coax materials. Under visual guidance, what would otherwise be brute grasp grows into specialised skill.




Wilson (1998, p.18) claims the dexterous hand with its pincer grip as responsible for humans as toolmakers and toolmaking responsible for the development of the unique human brain. Follicon (1989, p.157) saw “hands as almost living beings” and as “Eyeless and voiceless faces that nonetheless see and speak”. The "magic" of this relationship is being neglected; it must be re-routed to produce outcomes not obtainable through artificial intelligence and robotic production. Press (1998, p.30) advocated this when he referred to the "well educated hand" as a research tool to enhance both traditional and computer based research methods.

If the use and function of the body, hand and object are to be exploited sites have to be found for them to practice. In spite of these well-tested talents, the hand, body and material object still face redundancy as new technologies, economic imperatives and social structures seem determined to substitute them with simulations and abstractions. Craft, no longer simply a response to primary survival needs, has to look elsewhere to validate its existence and organise itself. Computers and the visual arts are two options. Johnson (1997), contemplating the human desire to touch, sees its apparent loss to digitised technology and the visual arts as openings rather than impediments. Others also argue that the rapid development of digitised technologies opens rather than closes new vistas for craft practice, for example McCullough (1996, p.87) presented possible futures for craft in a world of computerisation by positing that operating a programme with a mouse or keyboard is an act of craft. Blauvelt, Wrensch and Eisenberg (1999, p.1) materialised this notion as a two way street in their research on "Integrating Craft Materials and Computation" claiming that:

The advent of computation both enhances the expressive capabilities of existing materials, and supports the development of "intelligent materials that form the basis of entirely new branches of craftwork. Perhaps less obviously, on the computational side, a focus on craft materials can lead to a re-evaluation of some of the basic concepts of traditional computer science: a "computational crafter" may well begin to rethink the very ideas of programming languages, software engineering, computer architecture, and peripheral devices. Craft makers have also found a practice in some of the vacant spaces inadvertently created by, and in, new technologies and socio/cultural formations. New technologies have kindled an interest in traditional craft through the Internet and




other broadcast mediums, and post-modernism has freed craft from constricting theories such as modernism. In a critique of craft practices in "art" spaces, Johnson (1997) explores traditional craft territory by positing that the disinterest in skill, materials and processes by the visual arts has opened up spaces for craft practice and asserted the fecundity of its material foundations.

Other spaces are opened up in craft organisations, schools and universities, state and private galleries, the media, and as curators in the burgeoning craft and art bureaucracy, careers on the periphery rather than the centre as practitioners.

In spite of these new opportunities and craft's inadvertent post-modernism, Metcalf (1993, p.41) observed reluctance by those in power to give ground:

Postmoderns might admire strategies like appropriation and social engagement, they remain reluctant to admit a potter or a weaver into the Whitney Museum Biennial. - All the old prejudices are intact, and those prejudices are inherent in the theory of Modernism. Although Metcalf claims post-modernism does not create opportunities for craft in the art world it can be argued that craft was "post-modern" before the visual arts picked it up by endorsing practices and values refuted by modernism. In a related summation of her research on magazine craft, Agostinone (1999, thesis abstract) argued that aspects of craft, especially popular craft as “a post-modern form of aesthetic activity due to its qualities of pastiche, contradictions, refusal of originality, and democratic level of participation”. Post-modernism has also elevated the status of craft as commodity. "Post-modernism has learned to love the commodity, embracing it as both subject and condition with an eagerness which betrays, perhaps, a deeper anxiety" (Wood, 1996, pp.257-258). The deeper anxiety is perhaps created by the lack of primary human contact with material culture.

Craft, like other societal constructions, is in flux; it has to continually find new partners, nomenclatures and technologies. Nevertheless phenomenal hand skills making clever objects honed over generations of makers cannot be erased; they remain as an element in the spectrum of technologies available to humanity.




Organisations which represent and manage craft are, in a sense, in charge of these changing fortunes of bodies, hands and objects. They have to continually reassess their practices and operations in relation to the social, cultural and economic circumstances they find themselves while maintaining their fundamental support for the contemporary hand made object and its historical antecedents. They are open to criticism by some if they stray from the traditional notion of craft and by others if they ignore the visual arts or the business world.

Academic Craft in/and the Visual Arts Johnson's (1997) question "Where do we locate the handmade within what Baudrillard calls the hyper-reality of mass electronic culture?" opens a discussion on two possible locations, the university and the visual arts. Abandoned by old learning locations (industrial training) and old partners (the industrial trades) craft had to find new locations and partners in order to reproduce. It was the universities and the visual arts that offered both locations and partnerships. This was not without a certain irony as craft training was traditionally the province of industry and trade school the very antithesis of a university education and a home in the "modernist" visual arts, the cultural antithesis of the manual trades.

Although craft is still taught in other places, its recent entry to university and its association there with the visual arts places the relations between hand making, intellectual life and the art/craft debate under scrutiny. Craft brings to the university and the visual arts the notion of the intelligent hand and the university asks craft for intellectual concerns within its practice commensurate with those of the visual arts. Bristow, now a university lecturer in textiles, recalled her student days and the impact the academy had on her perception of the relations between theory and practice: art and craft in the academy. She felt the need "to continually qualify the term embroidery - 'it's not really embroidery' - in a way that was almost apologetic" (1998, p.114).

It is this recent affiliation of craft with the university and the visual arts which reignited and fuelled the art/craft debate and separated art from the act of making (craft). However craft was not always ignored in visual art education. In the past, the "fine" arts and craft overlapped in autonomous art schools whose raison d'etre differed from universities. Autonomous art schools educated artists with little



emphasis on theory: a chronological and school-based history of art was tacked on to a studio-based curriculum, while connoisseurship moderated visual standards. The content of art history in art schools focussed on the canon: the "great" works and "schools" of European art. This differed from a cultural studies approach to teaching art history in universities (now often called history and theory). Instead of "cultivating the canon” Jackson (1997, p.285-286) suggested "a more valuable approach to the discipline would be the writing of a history that took account of the realities of the social world in which art is produced": an approach now the norm in university visual art departments.

It was in 1970s when university art and later craft departments were established in universities, some getting there when colleges of advanced education were rebadged universities and others because of institutional funding advantages. Whatever their entrance mode, concessions were necessary to cater for studio and workshop based teaching. Initially art and craft settled comfortably but later as the cost and disruption caused by studios and workshops was felt, the trend back to the lecture theatre gained momentum. The concessions, high staff student ratios, slow development time and inflexible spaces needed for art and craft and the interlopers who filled them, art and craft students and teachers, became problematic for the academy. The dichotomy between hand and mind re-emerged. At the time when Edwards (1997, p.352) wrote: "education must abolish the false distinction between people who make and people who think" the universities were busy re-affirming the distinction.

This distinction was emphasised when new digitised technologies, taken up more rapidly by the university and visual art, further distanced the visual arts from craft. Unlike craft, the visual arts were not constrained by the traditional obligation to hand make. McCullough (1996 p.10) quoting Paz identified this difficulty for craft to leave the hand behind - "Since the thing is made by human hands, the craft object preserves the fingerprints - be they real or metaphorical - of the artisan who fashioned it”. The new craft and the way it is taught must retain, at least, a metaphorical association with the hand.

Craft's presence in universities continues to be a vexed one: not only does it have to pander to the ideologies of the visual arts but in order to survive it had to compete



for, and integrate new technologies and adjust its profile to attract ever-diminishing resources and changing expectations from outside of the academy. Losche (1992, p.58) noted the shifting sand of craft education in the Sydney area as it was subjected to the forces of change and reassessment.

In the arena of arts education the major art schools in Sydney area are continually shifting and reordering the departments traditionally associated with the crafts. This name changing is not simply a facile exercise in labelling but reflects the continual reassessments to which the arts and crafts are subjected. Once in the university with visual art, craft became saddled with undergraduate and post-graduate university degrees, alien qualifications which further distanced it from the grass roots of craft production. In universities the functional object, the mainstay of grass roots craft production, is tucked away in the corner of the curriculum while the production of art "objects" takes centre stage. In this way the traditions of craft are reformed by the criteria of undergraduate and post-graduate university degrees.

The ideologies of academic visual arts bound in the form of academic degrees are considered by some to deflect the centrality of craft skill training. Buck (1997, p.139) said of potters educated in art schools as "fascinated by the presence of gesture and the mark of the hand of these abstract works". Counts (1981, p.121) alluded to the dominance of visual concerns as he expressed the lack of skill training (wheel throwing) in his academic education as a potter thus: "My college and university education had prepared me to be an artist and teacher with my BA and MA degrees but I felt angry inside, and cheated." And as Metcalf (1993, p.45) in his paper denouncing “modernism's” applicability to craft noted that function was an impediment to the status of artist: "Craftspeople who wish to claim the exalted position of "artist" are distracted by the foolish idea that the functionless object is innately superior." Ignoring function creates problems for craft: the number of viewers for functionless craft works is small and prospective owners and users even smaller as their acquisition requires knowledge of arcane codes, the possession of certain forms of cultural capital and disposable wealth. Bourdieu (1994, p.1) referred to this as a "critique of taste" when he posits that cultural




factors rather than the recognition of "gifts of nature" are responsible for consumer choices: Whereas the ideology of charisma regards taste in legitimate culture as a gift of nature, scientific observation shows that cultural needs are the product of upbringing and education: surveys establish that all cultural practices (museum visits, concert-going, reading etc.), and preferences in literature, painting or music, are closely linked to educational level (measured by qualifications or length of schooling) and secondarily to social origin. Craft's alliance with visual art makes both practices difficult to identify as they are both in a state of flux, influenced by changing social, cultural, theoretical and technological forces. As visual art changes, so does craft. Clemens (1996, p.51) discusses this dilemma thus:

All of the propositions adduced by theorists as to the supposed differences between craft and art are thus always susceptible to an inversion or reversal. As soon as one claims that "craft is this" or "art is that", one quickly realises that all of the things that can be said about the one might equally be true of the other, and, furthermore, that the definition will exclude objects or practices that one would nevertheless like to include. For example, saying that craft is a question of functional, well-made, useful objects might provoke the response that 1) the very notions of "functional", "well-made" or "useful" that you are using have themselves, at different times, equally been applied to socalled high art; and 2) that jewellery may well be useful, but the "use" to which it is put is fundamentally different from the use to which, say, quilts, stained-glass windows, and jugs are put - to such an extent that the concept "use" itself breaks down, and becomes, well, virtually useless. Craft's association with the university and visual art brings with it certain conditions of residency. It is asked to jettison some of its ancestral functions in industry and the home for those of the university and visual art. Rather than settling the art/craft debate its presence further blurs the boundaries, although the widespread belief in the boundaries sustains the debate. Although difficult to identify, these boundary differences are nothing more than positions in a power driven socio/cultural hierarchy. Dormer (1994, p.25) for instance, a proponent of craft as a discrete practice, is critical of both the position of craft in this hierarchy and the means some craftspeople use to overcome it: "Acceptance [as an artist] now depends on denying or subverting craft, or insisting that craft is the least important




aspect of the work" while others refer the demarcation as snobbery, Tawa (1992, p.269) for instance claimed:

The Modernist view of art is exclusive and restrictive - both in content and scope. It makes artificial distinctions, amounting to no more than mere snobbery, between what it chooses to include and exclude: between fine art and craft for example, or between a house painter and the other kind. and Gross (1995, p.1)

The modern Western designation of the fine, or high, arts expresses a distinction drawn between these exalted domains of cultural production and others that might easily be included but are disqualified on various grounds. Most notably excluded are those performers and products whose appeal may be too broad - the popular, or low, arts - or too utilitarian such as crafts. As craft and visual art both evoke sensory responses and offer alternative world views, some within both communities argue that craft and visual art are indivisible. This reassuring notion of equality often camouflages an imbalance of cultural capital. Visual artists who hold this view often venerate craft as means but jettison it when the making is over, and for craftspeople it is often used in pursuit of the revered title of "artist".

Central to the devaluation of craft in the university and visual art is an underlying belief that the demonstration of skill and creativity are incommensurate thus assigning craft to the margins of the visual art world. For example Evans (1998, p.37) sees it marginalised as "outsider art", McCullough (1996, p.12) as "an intellectual separation" and Dormer, (1994, p.7) because of its "technical constraints upon self-expression" and Hatton (1996, p.1) because it “is assumed to impede personal expression and creativity”. Craft was left behind by the visual arts as they sought loftier territory, it had to either find its own ground, cease to exist or become a visual art. But what sort of visual art? During the 20th century visual art split into a number of forms, for instance installation, performance, conceptual and body art as well as the "modernisation" of its more traditional forms such as painting and sculpture. Matching these with categories of craft such as popular, industrial, studio and "high" crafts further frustrates any resolution of the art/craft




debate although one of the criteria for differentiating visual art and craft is the degree to which it retained or shed the values implicit in craft practice. Becoming part of the visual art world highlighted the difference between the many strands of visual art and craft as well as keeping the "art/craft debate" going. One category of craft, the so-called "high crafts" aspires to the futile by claiming its practice as no different from visual art.

Nevertheless some makers ignore the art/craft dichotomy, embrace the intrinsic qualities of craft and are content to call themselves craftspeople rather than artists. Perhaps this may be understood in Platonic terms (Feyerabend, 1996.). The nagging doubt in the mind of some craftspeople is that there is a greater separation between God (God as "Nature") and art than God and craft. Plato suggested that craft worked with nature and art simulated nature. In a précis of Plato's theory of art Lee (1987, p.369) saw it as a hierarchy thus:

We have in this section (Plato’s Theory of Art in the Republic) two trios: three “makers,” God who makes the Form, the craftsman who makes, e.g. the bed "with his eye on the form", and the artist who copies what the craftsman has made; three skills, that of the user, of the maker, and the artist. The two trios are not entirely consistent with each other, in the one the craftsman-maker has his 'eye on the form', in the other he takes his instructions from the user, whose knowledge of the true function of what is made is presumably equivalent to the knowledge of its form. Training as a craftsperson prior to becoming a “visual artist” creates doubts about their elite status, doubts which are supported by Plato’s (1987, p.363) contention, “that the artist's representation stands at third remove from reality".

The tensions implicit in the art/craft debate are exacerbated not only by blurring the boundaries of craft and visual art but also the blurred boundaries of other academic disciplines and social orders. Disciplines influence and modify each other through the easy availability of communication media and the spaces opened up by contemporary thought, such as post modernism. Craft too is vulnerable to the influences of other disciplines. An understanding of its contemporary make up is assisted by looking at it through other, as well as its own traditions. Research and critique of craft and craft education can be widened by subjecting it to the lens of other disciplines, especially, but not only, with those associated with visual art. This



is possible primarily because the education and training of craftspeople is now carried out in multi-discipline institutional settings, often in universities, and its practice associated with other disciplines such as community art and architectural and urban design. Bristow (1997, p.114) related her dilemma in a university context thus: As a lecturer and practitioner with a history rooted in the traditions and conventions of textile practice, it was my repositioning within a department of fine art nine years ago, that prompted a re-evaluation not only of my own practice but of the validity of textiles in general, within the broader category of contemporary visual culture. Contact with other disciplines and interests outside the traditions of craft will inevitably influence the student's and practitioner's perception of education and practice. A philosophy in the field of craft education which cannot be ignored by the university or visual art is the notion that the body can be trained to bypass conscious intellectual thought. Herrigal (1985) a German academic philosopher in the 1930s who lived and taught in Japan for about seven years, claimed to have an understanding of Zen Buddhism by learning the skill of archery the Japanese way. Whether he understood Zen from this experience or, in fact, it was really Zen at all has been contested, he nevertheless did receive lengthy skill training in using a bow under a Japanese master. The claim that it was the body that was trained not the mind (he was not allowed to intellectualise his movements) is another version of the intelligent body and hand. This book is of interest to jewellers and craft teachers as it was a text used by the renowned jewellery teacher Hans Rickerts in the 1960s as a basis for teaching technique to a group of now famous German jewelers (Gibbons, 2000, p.1). Whether the method of teaching technique was responsible for their distinguished careers is debatable; what is worth contemplating is how body-centred skill training in archery from Japan was used as a jewellery teaching methodology in Europe.

Akin to the Zen approach to teaching but couched in more scientific terms is the notion of muscle memory (SIMLOG, 2004, pp.1-2). Some sport physiologists assert that muscle memory can inform muscles of their task through repetitive




practice to the degree that they “memorise” the task freeing the conscious brain and the senses from decision making each time the task is performed.

At the same time craft is busy jockeying for a place in the university, and the visual arts it is dropping out of school. Craft options are disappearing from the school curriculum, and marginalised when they remain yet their place in pre-tertiary education is still of interest to craftspeople and educationalists. This is reflected in papers from the conference “Learning and Making” (1998, pp.14-93)) where, amongst other connections between craft and the “real world”, arguments concerning the relevance of craft in sub-secondary educational sector were passionately made. One paper “From making things to making sense: the educative roles of practical making activity” (Roberts, 1998, pp.22-28) referred to the link between learning in general and learning to make material objects. Its findings, the result of a two-year study, in brief considered “the status, the roles, the functions – of learning through making; making things; the crafts, and craft based activity” (Roberts, 1998, p. 22).

For craft to find a place in society, it has to both validate itself and find avenues for exposure. Its retention in primary and secondary education is one avenue it could take. Roberts (1998, pp.22-23) validated craft education in schools by allying it with "Human development - that making is fundamental to human development" and "Cultural/social affairs - that a huge range of skilful craft-based areas of activity is pursued by adults". He suggested "The school curriculum making/project based learning/practical learning are generally well acknowledged: from 'a useful', to 'a necessary' mode of learning across the curriculum" is an approach it could take to enmesh itself in the cultural fabric of society.

Sennet, (2003, p.10) in an interview concerning societal inequities in Britain, advocated learning craft ("in a skill, something physical") as a means of enhancing self worth and pride. Although not ironing out inequities, craft, at least, could lessen the impact they have on the lives of those who experience disadvantages. He laments the lack of status and the loss of technical training in schools which denies the opportunity for craft to perform this very human role.




Craft is now a mainstream option for study in universities and technical and further education colleges. Transitional problems and disparity of aims and interests create conflicts between craft’s core values and roots and the modus operandi of institutional teaching and learning. This is exacerbated by the subsumption of craft in broad based visual arts faculties once it gets there, and the lack of experience and preparation in the crafts by prospective students.

Craft’s Public Performance The assertion that craft performs in the social space, in industry and at leisure leads the final part of Johnson’s (1997, p.292) question "Where do we locate the handmade within what Baudrillard calls the hyper-reality of mass electronic culture?”

Places to "locate the handmade" are to be found in public display and societal use. The most obvious example for craft in the visual arts is the gallery exhibition. Although often held in great esteem in the art and craft community the exhibition is an insignificant means of display for craft in terms of the numbers it attracts and the impact it has in the wider community. The craft exhibition as a site of socio/cultural signification touches few but craft in the open spaces of society touches many as an everyday mediator in human interaction and communication. When released in public spaces it does more than promote objects of interest it: becomes an important player in human material culture.

An academic discipline, material culture studies, a branch of cultural studies, looks specifically at the roles objects perform in public places. Craft is a subject of interest for material cultural studies when it is lifted from the narrow confines of academia and visual art and examined as an important player in society, especially a society such as ours so profoundly material in nature and which freely uses objects as mediators in human social interactions. As Johnson (1997/98, p.139) suggests "we may see the complexity and necessity of objects as devices within our personal and communal narratives". The utilitarian role of the craft object has been largely superseded by less expensive mass-produced consumables relegating it to a bit player in academia and the visual arts but releasing it with the potential to ameliorate the predictability of mass production and consumption. Thus craft objects are subjects for study as players in the social space. This study of the



material and cultural role of objects is encapsulated in the following from the "Aims and Scope" of the "Journal of Material Culture”:

It is concerned with the relationship between artefacts and social relations irrespective of time and place and aims to systematically explore the linkage between the construction of social identities and the production and use of culture (Bender and Kuchler, 1998, p.129).

Objects (or “artefacts”) can be classified by the work they perform in “social relations” although it must be said that their roles are never clear cut, they inevitably overlap, mutate and intermingle. Nevertheless considering material objects (including craft objects) as players in the social domain has freed them from the limitations of their place in art/craft and released them as performers in human social relations.

Objects are “natural” public performers; they attract interest without commitment and elicit social interaction by drawing attention to themselves and subsequently their human hosts by representing them in social spaces and opening up lines of communication. Objects can link the maker and the owner/user/wearer without direct contact and are a means of entering the maker’s creative life and “experience” the practice of their arcane skills. But objects are not only inter-social mediators; they are also markers of personal signification such as affiliation, signature, personal aesthetics, internal recognition of self and means of raising spirits, self esteem and self awareness. Objects can be public and private displays of belonging and material signifiers of affiliation.

Objects soften the transition between states of mind and geographical relocations by ensuring actual or symbolic continuity (Parkin, 1999). They connect social spaces, people and communities with their past and diffuse the uncertainty of their futures. Their presence is reassuring as markers of previous states and geographies and, carried from one place to the next, avert alienation on arrival in new places. Objects also serve as symbolic connections to inner worlds such as religious, spiritual or cosmic beliefs, the simple cross being one of the most potent and universal of these symbols. Inner worlds are not only spiritual in nature; they can also be in the form of personal or group fantasies. Fantasies can be triggered by




objects because of their previous association with certain mental states and acts making objects stimuli for fantasy.

One of the most potent works of objects in material culture is their role in storing and releasing memories. Memories of such things as people, times, events, incidents, glories, feats, achievements and loss form intimate partnerships with objects where object and memory become one. Anderson (1992, p.112) also suggested that “personal belongings such as the craft object, can foster, through memories and possession an intimate contact between user and maker”.

Objects can have poetic overtones, sharing objects as a sublime social experience brings people together in an atmosphere free from the prosaic concerns of the world. Ordinary object functions can be overtaken by ethereal sensory experiences such as sharing the beauty of a shell while walking on the beach.

Objects can be predominantly a means of exchange for other objects or money. They can also act as symbols of the accumulation of wealth, both as a means of denoting and displaying wealth and facilitating the exchange of wealth. Objects can act as an aesthetically pleasing way to package valuable and rare materials for storage and later exchange.

Thus a theoretical basis for understanding craft as a player in material culture by what it does in the world rather than what it looks like or what it means asserts that:

1. craft is corporeal, rather than saying something it does something 2. craft is an extension of the body of both the maker and the user 3. the craft object lacks the capacity to be autonomous 4. craft acts directly upon the professional, personal and/or domestic life of the user 5. craft is practiced by the untutored in everyday settings.

As players in material culture, craft objects demand use, their function as an extension of the body of both the maker and user helps manage professional, social, personal and domestic lives. Unlike the visual art object, the craft object questions its own right to be autonomous. Craft objects do not stand alone during making or



using but rather define (and redefine) themselves by maintaining an ongoing physical or metaphorical connection with their human hosts. As an example of dependent body/object relationship Murray (1992, p.207) relates the story of a finger ring made by the jeweller, Susan Cohn, deliberately designed to wear through thin layers of metals and expose their different "values" over its life span. The finger ring, in a sense, captures metaphorically the relation between the maker, user and object occurring over time and everyday use. DeWaal (1997/98, pp. 2829) sums this up neatly when he says, "It is through human use that objects make their own biographies".

Although mass produced objects perform non-utilitarian roles (Bourdieu, 1994, p.368) as manifestations of cultural, educational and economic capital, they differ from the craft object because of the number of replicas in circulation at any given time and often the cost of acquisition. One of the strengths of the uniqueness of craft objects is that it brings to the social space the possibility of alternative inscriptions by enabling configurations not possible with mass-produced objects. The weaknesses of craft objects include limited availability, exclusiveness and cost, all of which limit its mass cultural significance.

Considering craft as another actor in material culture can subvert the art/craft argument without necessarily evoking conflict with visual art. Evans (1998, p.35) considered Gardner's bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence (as one of his multiple intelligences) as a theoretical basis for examining craft thereby clearing the way to value it on its own terms. The expertise needed to manifest "intelligent" material, corporeal and sensory outcomes, marginalised in the visual arts, can reveal craft as more than a poor relation in the art/craft binary but as a socio/technical player in its own right. In this context material objects can alter the way the world is experienced, literally and metaphorically. For instance it is claimed by Henry, (1999 p.1) that Virginia Woolf's worldview in her novels was influenced by the easy availability of telescopes which opened up new vistas of time and space. The social role of material objects in domestic life has enabled craft objects as useful research tools. Steedman (1998, p.259) in "What a Rag Rug Means" explores, through the history of one craft, rag rug making, the development of British textile and paper industries, working class life in Victorian England and the Victorian novel. Alessi (1995, p.19) inverts and commercialises the cultural role of objects by



claiming that his limited production functional objects can carry "designed in" social and cultural elements released when used in, or occupying, domestic spaces.

Leisure or hobby craft is another public location for craft on display. In fact leisure and hobby crafts and "do it yourself" can be validated on one level because of their commercial and economic viability. Although now at leisure they nevertheless are the basis for a significant manufacturing industry and sales of plans, tools, materials, magazines, TV home shows and advertising. Leisure craft also helps theorise differences between strands of craft and visual art. Leisure craft’s overt interest in the act of making rather than visual and conceptual consequences of making are used to categorise all craft in visual art, including the status of craft in the academy and the "art" gallery system. Leisure crafts remind us of the past, once essential, core domestic and workplace activities; are they now merely measuring sticks of human “progress”? Not theorised or subject to "serious" critique, they support the contention that all craft is entirely physical and devoid of imaginative cerebral activity (Ed, Lupton, 2000). This is exacerbated by some leisure crafts being nothing more than reproductions or simulations in magazines, on the screen or as demonstrations (Baudrillard 1989, p.127).

Leisure craft helps practitioners, theorists, writers and critics to understand and value all craft and visual art because it offers a category of practice distinct enough to use as a measuring stick. However leisure craft is sometimes used by artists to degrade all craft. Visual art, by taking the high intellectual ground, uses leisure craft as a model to position all craft as an intellectually inferior discipline because of its emphasis on hand skills and material manipulation. But craft also has a hierarchy, sometimes described as "high" and "low" crafts. "High" crafts also seek the status of visual art by demeaning leisure craft. These so-called "high crafts" (especially those taught in the academy and exhibited in the gallery system) also apply the visual art caste system when their status is questioned. As Jackson (1997, p.289) argues:

a cultural form which could be labelled 'low' crafts emerged, and this shaped, and still shapes, the popular impression of what to expect from the crafts. It is seen at venues such as craft fairs and tourist shops, where amateur and semi-professional makers sell work largely based on traditional patterns. Although not necessarily badly made, the



products are often denigrated for falling outside legitimate areas of taste. They are scorned by the crafts professionals in the same way that artists scoff at Sunday painters. The venues of "high craft", the academy and gallery system, accumulate more viable “cultural” capital than the "low" crafts whose sites, such as the home, craft clubs, popular magazines and the Internet, are “culturally” marginalised.

Post-modernism, influential in the visual arts, ironically brings visual art, "high" craft and leisure craft together. Leisure crafts are compatible with ideas implicit in post-modernism but conflict with modernism such as the dictum of the new, the creative, the avant-guard and the artist hero. Faith Agostinone's (1999) study of popular craft magazines supports the claim that leisure craft subverts the modernist approach of visual art (and "high crafts") and responds to a post-modern view of the world. Similarly those engaged in "traditional" craft spheres (basketry for instance) tend to mine the history and tradition of their field rather than draw on personal "creativity", also a characteristic of post-modernism (Butcher, 1997/98, p.64).

Although seemingly benign, leisure craft is one of most politically loaded topics in any discussion on craft because it provides a marker to evaluate social, class, aesthetic and intellectual differences across the spectrum of activities associated with the visual arts. Practices and institutions concerned with popular craft are valuable for a critical analysis of the social and cultural perspectives implied in making, using and consuming craft objects.

Leisure craft will not let the hand wither; the desire to make is preserved and manifested in leisure crafts. The development of virtual technologies and new educational philosophies has not negated the desire and usefulness of craft as a leisure time activity; indeed, they help bridge the voids separating humans from the means of the production and use of everyday objects.

However craft has not completely vacated industry but, because its traditional places are no longer available, it has to find other outlets for its native abilities. Using hand craft to design and develop objects prior to mass manufacture is one option. Hand craft, recently usurped by powerful computer software, is making a tentative move for a commercial comeback. Craft will never regain its primary role



since the computer will not go away but will the feats of the hand find a new place as a design tool for industry? The human hand, central to the survival of “premodern man” marginalised by the technologies of "modern man", is reappearing. Could objects to be used by the body (as most objects are) lack user friendliness if they are not actually or metaphorically touched by the hand during the design, modelling and production stage of manufacture?

Hand skills are thus not been completely erased from the design and development stage of industrial production (Chartrand, 1989). For example clay modelling is still used in some motor body design by automotive manufacturers, enabling the hand to feel the shape suggested by the computer prior to committing to expensive tooling. Hand made full-size models and prototypes are used to test the design with and on humans, in conjunction with sophisticated 3D-computer software. In fact boutique industries have grown around the rejection of computer based design and robotic manufacture. An example is the car body conversion design company, Zeemax. Zeemax International Design (2002) not only employs hand design and manufacture but also uses this as a marketing ploy. From their website:

Countless man hours are spent handcrafting each design, and it is ‘old world’ process, (though vastly more expensive and time consuming), along with the rigorous attention to detail by our master craftsmen that separate Zeemax from the many poor quality, mass produced body kits and aerodynamics on the market today. Zeemax links the notion of quality to master craftsmen and hand craft both to find a place in the body design industry and gain a commercial advantage.

A symposium, “Designing Minds” (Adelaide, 2000), called for papers on “Current Issues in Craft, Design and Industry” by inviting scholars to explore the relations between three interventions prior to production, the craftsperson, the designer and the manufacturer. The symposium was predicated on the assumption that craft making with the hand is a viable starting point in research and development and the craftsperson, in fact, a research resource.

In the context of research and development craft is gaining ground by its association with designers and manufacturers for the mass market. Catherine




McDermott (2000), a writer, curator and design academic, posed an example where the mark of the actual and metaphoric hand on objects currently being produced for the market in Britain are seen as an advantage. In particular she cited Mathew Hilton, a British furniture designer, for his craft approach to design:

Hilton kept control of the making process, carving his own moulds and working directly with a foundry in Charlton, East London which still produces his flipper legs. His engagement is hands-on contact with materials and his approach to the cut and construction of upholstery is the best Britain has produced (McDermott, 2000, p.106) Haptic is a word regaining currency in research when the maker’s touch is embodied in computer software used to design objects for human use. Dictionary definitions of haptics such as “of or relating to the sense of touch” or “the science concerned with the tactile sense” allude to direct physical contact with the body by both the designer and user.

Research into the sense of touch is prompted by the inability of present computer design software (except for finger key or mouse strokes) to factor touch into the design process. At the moment, computer touch is a virtual rather than a tangible experience. Haptic research aims to restore the sense of touch in computer software. A "what is"(2002) description of haptics in computer technology portrays it thus:

Haptics (pronounced HAP-tics) is the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. The word derives from receive feedback from computer applications in the form of felt sensations in the hand and other parts of the body. In combination with a visual display, haptics technology can be used to train people for tasks requiring hand-eye coordination, such as surgery and space ship maneuvers. It can also be used for games in which you feel as well as see your interactions with images. For example, you might play tennis with another computer user somewhere else in the world. Both of you can see the moving ball and, using the haptic device, position and swing your tennis racket and feel the impact of the ball. (Greek haptein meaning “to fasten”) By using special input/output devices (joy sticks, data gloves, or other devices), users can………. The Immersion Corporation (2002) claims the experience of computer and gaming technologies is enhanced by “engaging your sense of touch” and in order for you to experience it “We’re changing the way humans interact with computers by adding



the sense of touch”, a marketing ploy similar to the removal of vitamins during food processing and later announcing their addition as a nutritional advantage.

In craft’s public performance, its role in the arts, material culture, at leisure, in research and development and industry is considered in the context of the theorisation of hands and objects. Although the exhibition was dismissed as insignificant to craft’s greater public performance, it can be used as a homogenous in house example to explore craft in public spaces.

Craft Writing Living as we do in text mediated society craft is not only contemplated and understood in material form, it is also a textual construct. Like many material outcomes, craft often only survives as a written word, number or printed image and conversely material objects can be shaped by what is written prior to, during and after the making process.

Some negotiate the craft world through text; craft is constructed in written form by theorists and critics as word and image on paper or screen. Craft writing is hierarchal, from philosophical and theoretical treatises, teaching course guidelines, promotional profiling to policy documents, competition rules and grant applications. Craft, beset by changing industrial, educational, cultural and social forces, depends on these literate advance parties to keep up. Nevertheless, its presentation as a written construct can be misleading; when separated from its material form it can easily be misrepresented. The transition from material form to written word is problematic as new word technologies and modes of reading cast doubt on inviolable meanings and questions the written word’s central role in communication.

Additionally the widespread use of computers and their programmed visual tools has recovered writing as a visual as well as a symbolic form. Writing as a visual as well as symbolic form is highlighted in Lanham's (1994, p.33) outline of the transition of writing from the Dada Movement to computer technology. He suggests these two periods as bookends to an era stripped of its visual identity. He claimed during this era that "the written surface must be transparent. Transparent and unselfconscious". With the advent of computers the written surface is no longer



transparent or unselfconscious, it has now available to it a plethora of visual options which enhance the impact of the written word (Kress, 1997).

In particular layout, one of the visual options computers have to offer to enhance the impact of the word symbols, contests a traditional notion of literacy, reading is more than identifying symbols as sound; it is also concerned with meanings implied by their visual layout. A detailed study of this expanded view of literacy by Kress and Leeuwen (1990, p.2) was initiated by their realisation of the importance of layout.

Newspapers, magazines, public relations materials, advertisements and many kinds of books today involve a complex interplay of written text, images and other elements, and, what is more, these elements combine together into designs, by means of layout. With the advent of powerful 3D-computer software, objects can now be made on a screen by a literate operator. Solid objects can be simulated when programme grammar is combined with words, numbers and visual symbols gathered together on a screen. These virtual solid objects, seen as clear graphic simulations from any angle, are generated with computer programmes such as Solidworks. A craftsperson with knowledge of the visual "hand tools" in the programme can make a Solidworks object by commanding the computer and a linked machine to materialise an object. The object, untouched by the physical body, is made with knowledge of the programme and normal hand/eye coordination, the object, in a sense, is written into existence.

Technical and computer writing share the assumption that grammatical knowledge will enable relatively consistent translations from ideas to word. But what of texts with arcane grammars or grammars which evolve during the reading, such as abstract visual art or poetry? Poetry and abstract art push words and images from their safe technical homes to responses to language not as language. This is not unnoticed by the academic/intellectual community. An online forum, whose interests include discourse analysis and new capitalism, posted a note on its website apologising to, and asking for submissions from, poets, novelists and playwrights "who have a lot to say about language in contemporary capitalism" (Fairclough, 1995 p.1). An Octavio Paz poem "Between What I See and What I Say" explores



poetry and its relations with the material and sensory world by expressing the notion that the senses are interdependent. The last stanza of the poem in its distinctive layout plays with the way human senses inter-penetrate.

Poetry scatters eyes on a page, scatters words on our eyes. Eyes speak, words look, looks think. To hear thoughts, see what we say, touch the body of an idea. Eyes close, the words open. (Paz, 1994, p.487)

Writing is also mutable when considered from a post/structuralist position. If writing is mutable, is written craft (or anything else) stable enough to act upon? Foucault's statement, "discourses are practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak" (Foucault, 1995 p.49) implies that the object craft is a discourse written into existence by contextual practices.

However, craft is increasingly written about and each representation as a written construct increases the possibility of contested meanings. Ioannou (1992, p.13) questions the unstable relationship between "reality" and the writer's construct of craft when he asks: "What relationship to reality is this synthetic cultural construct of craft as generated by the writer?" He also expresses ambivalence to the disjunction between the current necessity to write and the ensuing abstraction it creates. "Inscribing craft culture into text, an indispensable process, creates the medium which contains meaning yet removes us from direct involvement with the actual artefacts and their context."




Derrida's view of the relation between word, thing and thought raises another problem for craft writing. Sarup (1993, p.33) compares Saussure and Derrida - "In Saussurean thought a sign is seen as a unity, but in Derrida's view word and thing or thought never, in fact become one. The object when written into existence is an entity eternally drifting between thought and material object.

Words as symbols in discourse analysis are only a surface representation of activity going on below. To fully understand the words it is necessary to go down to the site of conception and explore the context in which it is written and the authority of the authors who authored it. It is also necessary to mobilise analytical strategies to disclose implied meanings, analytical strategies which themselves are built into the analysis. Sites and strategies not only include craft as a visual and tactile experience but also the forces which are part of their construction. Examples are post industrialisation, new technologies, gender issues, the changing "technologies of self" (Aycock, 1998, p.1), the relations between work and play and especially the impact of theories and philosophies that, although seemingly not directly linked to craft, can "rewrite" the conventional notions of its lifeworld (Davidson, 1998, pp.226-27).

A more practical problem for craft writing is raised by the art/craft debate. Craft is defined by some as the materialisation of skill, material manipulation and function (utility). When such a definition is used to position craft as a discrete and valuable entity artists step in and cite it as grounds for exclusion from visual arts because of its lack of its intellectual and aesthetic concerns. Although many craftspeople are happy with this arrangement some are not. According to Rowley (1992, p.166) it is those in the centre of a continuum with intellect and aesthetics at one end and skill, material manipulation and function at the other rather than the extremes, which encourages the art/craft debate.

How does one write about objects in the centre when their definitions are blurred and if so how can such definitions be brought into focus sufficiently to write about them? Perhaps an analysis of how ad hoc word usage shapes our thinking about art and craft might help. Ihatsu (1997: p.300) pursued word interchangability in art and craft magazines, in particular the use of the words art, craft and design she found there. King (1997, p.177) examined the word craft itself - "Craft is a word bulging



with semi-conscious associations and unexamined assumptions. Worse than that, it appears to contain at its heart an extraordinary contradiction". Mitchell, (1997, p. 325) in a study of the roots of her textile craft practice and the language now used to position it in the visual arts also found relationships “between text, textiles and techne”. Burns (2003) brings it to ground by showing how the very survival of craft practice can be dependent on word usage when applying for craft funding. Funding bodies arbitrarily link the word craft with other words which radically change its meaning and thus tilt the funding application in particular directions. She claims policy makers and funding bodies do not understand the different connotations words such as contemporary crafts, handicrafts, hobby crafts and folk crafts have on the definition of craft. Nevertheless some maintain that, in spite of these problems, writing could be the saviour of craft. For instance, Loney (2002) claims critical writing about craft is the only way to wrest it with dignity from the mire of the art/craft debate and that an independent and proud craft is there ready to be written into existence.

Although the above review traces and critiques the value and status of craft in the wake of social, industrial and technological changes, it mainly considers craft from the perspective of art/craft. Although craft when defined in terms of art/craft is an insignificant force in the social, domestic and industrial realm, its significance is enhanced when it is considered from wider, social, cultural and industrial perspectives.

Art and craft have found themselves together again after a long break, not in the comfortable relationship of the past but as a site of internal conflict as they argue about each other’s credibility as autonomous entities. Art dismisses the craft that brought it into being and craft asks to be considered as a vibrant entity. They found each other because they had nowhere else to go, both abandoned by the mainstream, craft no longer needed in the workplace or home and art assigned to an intellectual and aesthetic ghetto, its arcane codes isolating it from mainstream social and cultural life.

The tensions implicit in the art/craft debate are repeatedly reflected in the literature. Much of what is said regarding the supposedly lowly status of craft in the art/craft hierarchy emanates from those who identify themselves as craftspeople, craft



theorists and critics as much as artists. Indeed, those who call themselves "artists" just seem to get on with it. They can offend craftspeople quite well by ignoring them and the notion of craft itself, resulting in a form of cultural cringe and inverted snobbery within the craft community.

The thesis intends to put aside these narrow perspectives and consider the question “what is craft” from the way it is represented in sites with more diverse agendas than the debilitating art/craft debate. By looking at craft from particular angles a better understanding of what it is, and how it works may be found.

One angle is to use a particular historical period of a specific craft, jewellery making, to trace the complex relations between industry, craft and visual art as an exploration of the concepts in the literature review. Embodied in the jewellers hand/the jewellery object which follows is an experiential rendition of the body makes and the body uses, academic craft in/and the visual arts and craft’s public performance.




CHAPTER 4: The jeweller’s hand/the jewellery object

Summary The hand, because of its dextrous intelligence and metaphoric use in everyday language, is a useful narrative tool to reflect on the waves of social, cultural and technological changes influencing jewellery practice over the working life of the researcher. According to opinions from both ends of the 20th century, the hand is still important although its role has changed from a primary work tool to a means of keeping in touch with the world. The first view from 1887 is in a report on technical and art education written for a state education department:

The hand intellectualises the body, and in a certain sense the mind itself is dependent upon it. All fineness of work comes from its wondrous adaptability for technic skill; and while it is to the eye that we owe our perceptions of form and colour, the hand transforms these perceptions into visible object (Combes, 1887 p. 146). and the second in 1996 from a book on craft and digitised technology:

By pointing, by pushing and pulling, by picking up tools, hands act as conduits through which we extend our will to the world. They serve also as conduits in the other direction: hands bring us knowledge of the world. Hands feel. They probe. They practice. They give us sense, as in good common sense, which otherwise seems to be missing lately (McCullough, 1996, p.1). A career as a jeweller maintained a belief in the amazing capacity of humans to "hand make". An interest in other fields of visual art could not dispel the conviction that to "hand make" and to value the hand made is intrinsic to human beings, a corporeal kin of language. Nevertheless, what constitutes "hand making" is not immutable. Its role is reassigned as each generation of technologies and social formations enters the workshop. As the seamless sequence of these changes makes pinpointing particular times and places difficult, the following narrative is best read as a series of freeze frames from a moving picture.




“Dipping the Hand in Jewellery” The phrase "dipping the hand in jewellery" is used to capture the mutable hand as it is beset by changing social, technological, cultural and economic forces.

"The Alternative Hand" - Avoiding Technologies An Australian jeweller was traditionally a male worker in an industrial trade. During the 1960s other approaches to jewellery making emerged, contesting the status quo. Nevertheless they were still assessed according to their similarity with, or difference from, the industrial trade. One approach, with its roots in the counter culture, radically turned away from the trade by replacing its economic, technical and social assumptions with a set of its own. Two important differences were simplicity and community: jewellery made in domestic settings with others: kitchen table jewellery. Non-traditional, non-precious and recycled materials and domestic skills and tools purchased from non-specialist stores were used to make body adornments. Making jewellery was a social activity (as jewellery was considered a social medium), carried out in informal collectives in homes or as spontaneous outbursts of "crafting" at parties or retreats, rarely at a bench or in a workshop.

"The Hands I Have" - Technologies of Necessity European art history is scattered with artists who occasionally made jewellery. In the late 60s and early 70s, artists, particularly sculptors freed by the European tradition of blurring the divisions between craft, art and "trade", experimented with jewellery making. When artists made jewellery they miniaturised the skills, techniques and processes used in their main practice to the scale and functional limitations of jewellery. They called on the skills of trade jewellers when techniques and processes were beyond them (Harrod, 1997, p.137). Jewellery in this context was considered as mini sculpture or art and retained the essence of the art form from which it was derived. The techniques and processes were not particularly valued themselves but rather were simply a means to produce a form: techniques and processes of necessity.

"Look No Hands" – The Invisible Hand Craft traditions of Europe brought to Australia by immigrant jewellers had a major impact on Australian jewellery. European craft jewellers tended to share with Australian trade jewellers the notion that techniques and processes should be both



mastered and hidden so the form could take centre stage. Tools, machines and hands became one; their visibility in the jewellery object was considered as evidence of poor tool and machine use and lack of skill: the marks of human touch were neither overtly valued nor visible.

The period did not usher in a technological change; rather it was another way of relating to tools, techniques and hand skills. The tools, machines and the skilled hand were within the object not on it: hand made without a hand made look. The skill of the craftsperson was captured by the degree of autonomy the object had from the tools, machines and hands which made it. High technology was understood in terms of surmounting the available technologies not mastering new technologies; the imagery was selected and tuned according to the skills of the maker. This change in attitude was challenging because the ideologies of the "trade" had to be acknowledged, European jewellers exalted trade skills but were dismissive of the use local tradespeople made of them.

"The Extended Hand" - Survival - Limited Production Techniques As the viability of exhibition sales and public and private patronage waned, other methods of making a living had to be found. Limited production techniques and processes available in industry had to be adapted to the small workshop. Time and labour had to be factored into each object if the workshop was to be profitable. Limited production processes were imported into small workshops to reproduce, in numbers, commercial designs and speed up the production of one-off objects. The hand was extended by linking it with mechanical devices available because of their reduced cost, size, improved design and simple operation. The untrained toolmaker could now make simple but effective dies and use compact low-priced machines in small workshops for limited production runs.

Limited production runs of competitively priced jewellery challenged the visual art preoccupation with the exclusive one-off object. Craft jewellers could draw from a continuum with mass production at one end and the high art object at the other according to the needs of time and place.




"The Orchestrator Hand" - Farming Out Computer based technologies initially did not find their way into small workshops because of cost and complexity of operation although they were well established in industry. They were inexpensive enough for small workshops to access but too expensive to purchase. The technologies were precise, automated digitised forms of traditional hand tools or machinery used in the small workshop. The role of jeweller was to make a drawing on paper or disk for a computer to interpret and a machine to follow. The hand separated from the making process was a dilemma for the hand maker; the making was now in the hands of others who did not require skill, touch or knowledge of jewellery making. Computer driven technologies further separated the hand from the making process, materials left the workshop to return as finished objects untouched by a craftsperson.

"The Abstracted Hand" - The Computer - Making on the Screen New technologies have made it possible to design and make jewellery in the small workshop with limited direct contact with the hand. Computer based automated processes once only available in industry are now sufficiently compact and relatively inexpensive to enable the jeweller to manage the entire production process in his/her workshop. These technologies also enable jewellers to belong to networks which link local autonomy with global systems because of the miniaturisation and power of modern computers. The computer not only makes it possible for the object to be designed as a virtual image on a screen but it also connects and controls machines which make it, circumventing the need for human intervention between design and production.

The human time needed to make one or many is the same and to the eye they are identical: rather than copies (as copies are imperfect replicas) they are a single object repeated en masse. The evolving hand, from “hands on” to “no hands” in jewellery making, parallels a similar movement in craft in general.

So far the journey taken by the researcher has been affected by others met along the way. However, they are a diverse and divided lot who must recruit outsiders to unite them if their common task of doing research is to be productive. Impartial experts are needed, bodies from outside art/craft, to rally the mob and suppress the infighting. Now is the time to call in experts who can mobilise their credentials,



assert their status in the community and add their expertise to the task. Who/what should the experts be and what would their way of thinking add to the research process not already there?




SECTION 2: Theories, methodologies, maps and guides
Section 2 sets the stage for the research projects by outlining the theories, methodologies, maps and guides which both direct and structure the research. Theories and methodologies are the experts and the maps and guides are the sites, problems, arguments, questions, resources and methods, a two pronged framework to scrutinise an ever-moving craft.




CHAPTER 5: Theories, methodologies, methods - the experts with their data working toolboxes

Summary The theory/methodology/method used in the research, actor-network theory, was chosen because of its resonance with both the personal history of the researcher and the task of the research. Secondary theories, such Pye’s theory of risk and certainty, Foucault’s discourse as practice and Kuhn’s paradigm theory, are also outlined as they modify the way ANT is used and how the data is processed.

The thesis is provoked by three concerns - the significance of a working life as craftsperson and teacher, craft's place in contemporary cultural, domestic and industrial spheres and its construction in sites of representation. This coalition of concerns, in a sense, self selected actor-network theory (ANT) as it is well equipped to deal with them all. ANT works from the premise that there is more to craft than the outcomes it constructs.

Historical overview of ANT ANT was influenced by an empirical strand of the philosophy, anthropology and sociology, of science called Science and Technology Studies (Latour, 1993, p. 3). Although now widely used as a tool in many contexts, ANT was heavily influenced by the theorisation of a piece of pivotal ethnographic research by Latour and Woolgar (1986) in a science laboratory. As anthropologists/sociologists they studied the actors and their actions in the endocrinology laboratory at the Salk Institute. However ANT's claim to discover “real” science is hotly contested both from within the general field of Science an Technology Studies (predominantly concerning the claim of equal status ascribed to humans and non-humans) and especially by the “hard” sciences, in fact, starting a flare up, the so-called “Science Wars” (Fuller, 1998).

Although many have added to its current form, Latour’s contribution to ANT is the most profound. Latour is a philosopher/sociologist/anthropologist of science whose interest in Science and Technology Studies was central to the development of ANT. ANT was not only the result of the theorisation of his incursions into working laboratories but also of its application to historical sites where breakthrough science



had been made (eg “Pasteur and His Lactic Acid Ferment” (2000)) and to sites of technological development such as Aramis (1999). In these sites Latour studied the process not from the evidence recorded as its history but what actually happened when the science and technology was being made: how it was crafted. He argued against the orthodoxy of the so-called rational scientific method and asserted that the craft of science had much more in common with other seemingly less rational human activities than scientists readily acknowledge. Latour used language tools to mobilise his theories. For instance by replacing the word actor with actant he endowed all humans, events, actions, things, interactions, associations, ideas, etc with the same potential to impact on science and technology. He did this in order to disconnect the word actor from an exclusive association with human beings. He described the interaction of all the actants participating in the transformation of an idea into an object as a network, not in the usual sense of systems assembled to produce a result, but rather the reverse, where the pursuit of a particular result makes a network. He argued that if an actor-network is responsible for the relation between a hypothesis and a fact, it is far from sterile and is worthy of interest and evaluation. Rison (1999, pp.1-2) encapsulated Latour's ANT thus: In what they have called a "network theory" (Latour and Callon) have developed a vocabulary that does not take the distinction between subjects and objects, the subjective and the objective, into consideration. What they call an "actant", for example, is more than a human actor. Both humans and nonhumans may be actants. An actant may be enrolled as "allied" to give strength to a position. In networks of humans, machines, animals, and matter in general, humans are not the only beings with agency, not the only ones to act; matter matters. His research was concerned with what scientists actually do when they test hypotheses and declare results in science experiments. In essence Latour claims that scientists “craft” an experiment using humans and non-humans as mediators and these mediators network an alliance of actants to produce science "facts". Latour (1986, p.29) asks us to step back from the results of science to look at how science was crafted when he wrote: It is therefore necessary to retrieve some of the craft character of scientific activity through in situ observations of scientific practice. More specifically, it is necessary to show through empirical investigation how such craft practices are organised into a systematic and tidied research report.




Using the word craft in this context is provocative in science and out of favour in the visual arts. Both scientists and artists tend to ignore or deny craft's input in their fields.

However Murray’s (1992, p.3) argument for craft in science could also be applied to craft in the visual arts. In the production of materials necessary for the discovery of natural entities, the expertise of the technician makes a difference. Latour listens to the language of the workbench. Thus it seems that the technician can be viewed as more than an invisible slave to science, but one whose productive role equals that of a master craftsperson in the manufacture of objects. Latour’s mission as an anthropologist is to highlight the importance of material factors such as craft skills in the understanding of how science produces facts. Facts in the end are appreciated on similar terms to any other wellcrafted objects: clean, smooth, hard-wearing and importantly, useful to other scientists. Latour’s assertion that laboratory science is more than the implementation of a rational science method makes it an ideal tool to challenge other claims of rationality. ANT is underpinned by Latour’s critique of the rationality of modernism. He argued that we (of the West) have never been modern and that modernism as a myth is exposed by the sheer weight of its non-modern products, referred to as hybrids or monsters (Latour, 1993, p.49; White, 1995, p.3).The process of making objects, when subjected to an ANT analysis undermines the tenets of modernism. For Latour modernism is not possible when humans and nonhumans interact and so-called post-modernism is not simply an era that followed modernism but rather an exposé of the impossibility of modernism ever existing.

The laboratory experience An understanding of the source of Latour’s notion of modernist science brings the researcher back to past experiences in the laboratory workshop. Employment in the 1960s as a technician in a physics laboratory workshop is a first hand experience which brought the roots of ANT together with reflective observations of laboratory life. A university physics workshop, an academic laboratory site, is not a place for the work of a craftsperson to be acknowledged. Craft in the laboratory constituted a naïve experience; craftspeople were kept in the dark by their limited educational,



social and cultural power. They blindly made objects to the researcher’s demands. However naïve laboratory craft experiences are an ideal background for the consideration of contemporary craft because, on reflection, laboratory craft was indispensable to science; it was craft the scientists returned to when things went wrong. The indispensable craft, the only route to a science "fact", is also an analogous argument for the indispensability of craft in art. Experiences in the laboratory in the past and more recent experiences in art enable the researcher, in a sense, to be his own subject. Hence the laboratory, important as it was to science then, is important now as a background to research in sites of craft representation.

Although "progress" has rendered a recurrence of the physics workshop experience impossible, it nevertheless remains as a useful reminder of actor-network theory's empirical roots. It also enables the researcher to relive the laboratory experience as an imaginary subject of Latour's research, thus grounding "book" theory in experience. Bringing together ANT and the laboratory experience makes a homogenous and viable tool for exploring craft in sites of representation. The experience in a physics laboratory not only permitted the birthplace of ANT to be reconstructed, it honed metal craft skills for the later emergent jeweller and marked out positions in a socio/cultural hierarchy.

ANT and craft in sites of representation So far ANT is embodied in theory and experience and must be rationalised as a method if it is to be used to explore craft in sites of representation. There are a number of key concepts and terminologies which move ANT from a theory/experience to a method. The following account delineates a pathway for craft research by tracing the ANT object from its sites of representation to its precarious place in the world.

The research is carried out in craft sites of representation, in ANT terms, centres of calculation. Latour (2000, p.304) defines centres of calculation as "Any site where inscriptions are combined and make possible a type of calculation". Calling all sites of representation centres of calculation produces a genre of sites temporarily separated from the distraction of their local aims and practices. In terms of the thesis, centres of calculation are sites which represent craft, such as organisations, institutions and events.



For a centre of calculation to function as an ANT site the hierarchical ranking of actors there must be dissolved. Instead, the mix of humans and non-humans actors in the sites are ascribed with equal status and power by being renamed actants. Latour (2000, p. 303) "borrowed the word actant from semiotics" to replace the word actor, actor being too closely associated with human action. All actors, human and non-human, are therefore ascribed with the same potential to infer the nature of a centre of calculation.

For the mix of humans and non-humans (actants) to infer the nature of a site of representation they must “enter into relationships” (Brown, Capdevila, 1999, p.34) called networks. Networks are entities which bring together all the socio/technical actions which transform ideas into objects.

The potential for all actants in centres of calculation to create networks is modified by two macro roles actants play in network construction. Latour called these roles intermediaries and mediators. He saw intermediaries as dispensable links, feeble and open to manipulation, and mediators as strong entities which add to, and remain in networks. Latour (1993, p.80) said of intermediaries: “At worst, they are brutes or slaves; at best, they are loyal servants" to be enrolled as creative mediators if they are to become part of the network. He (1993, p.81) described mediators as “actors endowed with the capacity to translate what they transport, to redefine it, redeploy it, and also to betray it.” It is the capacity to translate that endows mediators with the power to effect representation. Intermediaries make connections and hand things on while mediators translate connections into a form which builds the network into an object. By identifying this difference Latour makes available a useful analytical tool, enabling a separation of actants at the site into links (intermediaries), to be considered and put aside, and stayers (mediators) which are retained because they build the network. Intermediaries could be seen as grammatical devices and mediators as elements of meaning. The notion of the passive intermediary and active mediator is a useful research feature of ANT; they provide a means of initially sorting actants into bundles worth studying or not.

Networks are not made without some behind-the-scenes work. Latour referred to this work as constructing chains of translation. “Chains of translation refer to the work through which actors modify, displace, and translate their various and



contradictory interests” (Latour, 2000, p. 311). Chains of translation consist of problematisation, locating a problem to share, interessement, getting everyone interested, enrollment, forming a team and mobilisation, acting together on the problem (Abramson, 1998, pp. 8-10). The word translation commonly used to describe the process of converting one set of symbols in to another (as in languages) is used in ANT when interests of one mediator is translated into terms understood and supported by the other mediators in the network, thereby strengthening the network.

When the results of translation available from a centre of calculation are no longer subject to further mediation, they are black boxed (Latour, 2000, p. 304) and the actants in the black box taken for granted. Latour conceptualised the notion of the black box to draw attention to the fact that things can be erroneously considered as indisputable facts, where the contents of the black box are, at any given time, beyond contestation and where only input and output counts. The actants (material or discursive) sealed in a black box can evade consideration in spite of their importance to understanding a centre of calculation. Black boxes are found in all fields and disciplines and it can be the task of research to open them. Their contents can conceal actants necessary to understand the practices and operations of centres of calculation. Black boxes are mobile, they can be transported as homogenous entities for use in other times and places as artifacts, facsimiles, maps, charts, photographs, words on paper, a digital code or sets of numbers. Latour (2000, pp. 306-307) called these forms immutable mobiles as they are fixed (and therefore immutable) and easily distributed as reproductions (thus mobile), inviolable versions of mediation. But in this form they are vulnerable because they can be shuffled as constituents of other genres of mobile objects (for example in sets of statistics, as graphs, charts, museum and education texts, etc.) further isolating them from their centre of calculation. Sites which represent craft are as vulnerable to black boxing as any other.

In this sense craft in sites of representation is not only the result of the calculated actions of individuals or interest groups, it can be a shuffled object in other sites and in other forms. Craft is subject to the fate of the immutable mobiles which represent it and the strength of its own networks, and how these play into other and subsequent networks.



According to ANT, when a consortium of human and non-human in action transform ideas into outcomes a deeper understanding of craft sites of representation is offered. The making stage, equally important as the idea and the outcome, captures value and worth that could otherwise go unnoticed. Indeed, by valuing acting or doing, ANT is an ideal methodology for examining craft in sites of representation.

ANT supports the notion that craft is important when an idea, hypothesis or premise is made into an object. Indeed, it asserts that objects can only be fully assessed, understood and appreciated if craft remains a factor in their later visual and sensory life. ANT also affirms that all sites where humans and non-humans interact are available for anthropological exploration and analysis. Thus it is eminently suited to open up sites where humans and non-humans organise to represent craft.

ANT also includes the researcher in the research process. Okely (1992, p.3) alluded to the importance of the researcher's constant presence when defending autobiographical anthropology "the autobiography of fieldwork is about lived interactions, participatory experience and embodied knowledge". What the researcher adds to the network expands the scope of ANT and adds to its list of applications.

ANT was influenced by of the theorisation of studies of the socio/technical world of laboratory science and how the science “method” produces published "facts". It was later adapted as a general research tool used to study, at a much deeper level and from the inside, any context where ideas are transformed into objects. This deep and inside knowledge enables an infinite re-construction of objects according to their changing environments, interests and applications. The researcher’s experience of laboratory life bared the relations between human and non-human actors and the macro and micro events they shared in the every day task of making science thus grounding ANT in direct experience. The enrolment into a network of all human and non-human actors associated with production in the laboratory is a useful concept for use other sites where craft is busily making things happen.

ANT supports the argument that ideas cannot be made into objects without craft and craft cannot be removed from objects thus contesting the notion that only those



with the power and authority to own objects are responsible for their production. Nevertheless craft's ordinary humans and non-humans who enable the object's existence and who are constantly subjected to new technologies, fluid contextual meanings and disparate social environments, need an inquisitive, pestering theory/methodology/method such as ANT in order to be acknowledged. In this context Bowker and Star (1999. p.48) noted that “the actors being followed did not themselves see what was excluded: they constructed a world in which that exclusion could occur”.

But like any theoretical/methodological construct ANT is not an isolated entity; it has relations with others which influence the way the research is approached. It would be remiss not to include Foucault as such a relation when considering ANT as a methodology. Foucault’s notion of object formation argues that discourses (any discourse in any context) about craft can, in fact, make craft. As he (1995, p.49) attested all practices which make objects are

[a] task that consists of not - of no longer - treating discourses as groups of signs (signifying elements referring to contents or representations) but as practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak. The practices in this study are craft and if craft forms objects it is useful and important. ANT seems to be familiar with Foucault's notion of discourse construction, as both suggest that objects are formed by contextual discursive practices and both question the possibility of discrete or permanent categorisations. This is important to a study which seeks constructions of craft in sites of representation. Justin Clemens (1996, pp.49-50) applies Foucauldian discourse construction to craft thus:

A Foucauldian analysis would rather ask "What sort of practices in what historical conditions have been called craft? Who has then done craft, and how has it been evaluated, and by whom? How has craft been used in the battle of ongoing power relations in society? And to what ends?" Furthermore, for Foucault, in a very specific sense, "craft" could not be said to exist. It would rather be a name that one gives, or finds oneself given, with regards to situations that are constantly in flux.




Becker (2004, p.2) paints a similar picture in visual art when he says it “consists of the network of cooperative activity involving all the people who contribute to the work of art coming off as it finally does, using the conventional understandings they share”. This has both ANT and Foucauldian overtones although not quite Latour (too human centred) and not quite Foucault (is there such a thing as conventional understandings?) but characteristics which support Clemens’ Foucauldian notion of crafts and visual art.

ANT's notion of how science is made has roots in Kuhn's paradigm theory. Kuhn, a physicist who turned to the history and philosophy of science found a disjunction between the methodology scientists claimed to use and what was historically evident in their practice. He found that when methodological practices became unworkable they were replaced by those more appropriate and that the social world of scientists plays a part in methodological constructions. Kuhn (1996, p.10) appropriated the word paradigm (pattern) to explain his theory. A paradigm results when disorganised and diverse activities and thoughts are moulded into a form that is understandable and useful, not necessarily logical or indeed true or false. Importantly paradigms are not fixed entities they can change or mutate or be overthrown by a more powerful, assertive or significant paradigm: hence the commonly used term “paradigm shift”. The content of the paradigm consists of the rational and irrational, of fact and fiction and encompasses a social dimension (personalities, beliefs, affiliations, etc) which cannot either be denied or ignored, in effect a form of black box. It could be argued that the art/craft world is paradigm driven.

Kuhn's contribution to the research is to remind us of craft’s temporary nature and that it too is only a paradigm made up of the available data, the currency of the theories used to sift through it, selective memories of the researcher and the limited efficacy of words. Other data, new theories and memories and other modes of articulation (visual image, film, etc) could produce other paradigms at other times.

The notion of the “paradigm” resonates with ANT and Foucault's discursive object construction. That is, no matter what comprises an assemblage of knowledge, if it functions and proves to be a viable tool there is no reason to disassemble it. When it loses its viability and no longer functions, it will change or be changed into another



form to serve a new purpose. Kuhn, Foucault and ANT each remind us in their own ways of the value of looking to the site of construction, the craft, if objects are to be fully understood.

Pye’s theory of risk and certainty, another approach to understanding craft, factors in human fallibility when objects are made. An interesting but contentious distinction between two approaches to “workmanship”, proposed by Pye (1982), highlights the role human fallibility plays when objects are made. Pye posited two approaches to object making, the “hand” and the “machine”. He called the former the “workmanship of risk” and the latter the “workmanship of certainty” (Pye, 1968, p.4). In the “workmanship of risk”, when objects are made by hand (and with hand tools) without the intention of exact repeats, the risk during their production is said to be greater thus raising the potential for the object to say something about its own making. In other words when one does not have a detailed plan on how to proceed and, more importantly, what the object will “look” like (as in Latour’s analysis of the science experiment or when artists make art), the craft process takes on an independent life and energy of its own. Thus each craft act becomes an entity and a spectacle worthy of consideration by itself and for itself; it is something to observe as well as do. Conversely in the “workmanship of certainty” when machine made objects intended to be exact replicas of each other through the production process, the craft, is merely a means of getting numbers into the world. If the means of production is settled and each object is an exact replica of the first the felicity of the production process is confirmed and interest in the making process wanes. The intention is to automate the making process to the degree where outcomes are predictable and identical; any variation in the process of making (the craft) is only of interest when it is an “error” and thus in need of corrective maintenance. However “errors” can also be both interesting and productive.

It must be said that opposing risk and certainty in this way only highlights modes of intention which may help understand craft in a particular way. In a Latourian world when humans and non-humans interact in any system or practice, no matter how ordered and logical, certainty cannot be ensured. The notion of risk and certainty only draws an arbitrary line between the motives of hand making and industrial mass production rather than to suggest that, at least in a Latourian sense, there is a difference between craft as risk and craft as certainty. Craft is craft in spite of the



intentions. But it is useful as another way of looking at craft. Both Pye’s notion of risk and certainty and ANT suggest that disinterest in craft is not an option.

If, in ANT terms craft is indispensable, without craft objects cannot be brought into being, craft is a macro mediator. The recurring position of the methodology is that craft as a macro mediator does something and therefore is something. Exalting its importance as a doer validates it as an entity worthy of discrete contemplation.

ANT, Foucault, Kuhn and others are not the only experts available to unravel craft in sites of representation in this study. The presence of the researcher in the research and his experiences in the craft sites of representation add both methodological insights and field work data to the study.

The researcher as actor and expert Another methodology and data source which cannot be ignored results from reflections on experiential fieldwork of the researcher in craft sites visited, analysed and used in a previous life as a craft maker and teacher. Although not considered as fieldwork at the time, the vividness of memory inevitably prevents them from being excised from the research.

These craft experiences are important because not only did they determine the thesis topic, the methodologies used and the sites to be visited but they constructed the researcher as a subject and the researcher's subjectivity as a search tool important as any imported into the thesis. Reed-Danahay (1997, p. 2) writing on auto/ethnography considers it in two ways, as "referring either to the ethnography of one's own group or to autobiographical writing that has ethnographic interest". In the context of the thesis both apply: research into the craft community and autobiographical writing.

The research approaches (ANT et al.) come together when the theorists theorise the researcher’s experiences and the researcher’s experiences contextualise the theories. They simultaneously bring together and separate the researcher and the site under surveillance enabling both passionate dispassionate analyses to occur.




But the research will remain isolated from the grounded projects if the directives such as sites, problems, argument, questions, resources and method which steer it are not identified and discussed.




CHAPTER 6: Maps and guides – an assemblage of sites, problems, arguments, questions, resources and methods

Summary The sites, problem, argument, questions, resources and methods used to guide the research are outlined, discussed and expanded for their implications on the research process.

Sites of craft representation The sites for this study are selected because they: 1. are places where the label craft is used or implied 2. mediate their concerns and interests into objects 3. include the personal experiences of the researcher 4. together form a contemporary craft "apprenticeship" and 5. are models for other sites of representation.

They are a crafts organisation, (Craftsouth), an institutional teaching site, (a university jewellery workshop) and a jewellery exhibition (Triptych). They are selected because they all “make” objects on or off their premises to promote their core concerns and interests by not limiting objects to material forms.

The craft organisation, for instance, does not make objects on their premises, it is not a workshop nor are its employees paid to be craftspeople. In fact the premises are the antithesis of a workshop environment consisting of standard office space linked by an entrance foyer and serviced by a reception desk. Nevertheless the site is validated as a making site because accredited craftspeople members who make objects in accordance with the organisations accreditation criteria are rewarded with the advantages of membership over non-members. Members who meet the accreditation criteria make objects in the name of the organisation. The objects are not necessarily in a defined style or made with prescribed materials but objects that meet particular organisational outcomes. To attain accredited membership the craftsperson must have a profile which overlaps with objectives of the organisation. Thus, it is argued, the objects although not made on the premises or by their staff are nevertheless made by the organisation.




A university jewellery workshop appears to be the obvious place for material objects to be made on the premises. But workshop production in a university is not as transparent as it might seem. Although the academic workshop is a site where objects are made, the workshop is neither self contained nor industrial. Its primary raison d'etre is to produce and disseminate university knowledge. The workshop is just another site in a university where multiple agendas are manifested, where influences from outside are assimilated and where objects made from one round of discursive materials are transformed into another.

Like the craft organisation, the exhibition does not make material objects on site; they are made elsewhere to fit the curatorial objectives of the exhibition maker. Exhibition venues are neutral spaces where curatorial objectives are assembled by commissioning or selecting objects to construct and perform visual texts. Thus it could be argued that the exhibition is, in fact, making objects by commissioning or selecting only those which conform to its curatorial objectives. When craftspeople make objects in their workshops to conform to a set of curatorial demands or when a curator selects work for an exhibition the craftspeople are, in a sense, licensed by the exhibition maker to make objects. Thus the exhibition can also be said to be a site where objects are made.

The sites are not constrained by their current borders; their boundaries can be traced by the researcher as domains of memory. Memory of personal experiences in, and at, the selected sites is experiential site knowledge. The researcher's place in the study as a craftsperson, craft organisation member, workshop teacher and exhibition participator is acknowledged as an influence on the nature of the site and its boundaries. Although research should be as dispassionate pursuit, in this instance it is moderated by the researcher’s memories and experience. Nevertheless the sites must be revisited by the researcher in the guise of an outsider, armed with expert theoretical and methodological tools to study on a formal level.

The sites also form a cluster which could represent a contemporary craft apprenticeship. This new "apprenticeship" consisting of learning "trade" skills in a university rather than industry, studying cultural theory rather than trade theory, qualifying for membership in a craft organisation rather than a union and




participating in a graduation exhibition rather than taking bench tests, rounds off a contemporary craft professional.

The sites are generalisable anywhere where ideas are crafted into objects. The selected sites can be considered as models for exploring other sites of craft representation.

Problems Although changing social, technological and economic forces in domestic, cultural, industrial and educational spheres seem to be marginalising craft the problem is predicated on the assumptions that craft is still important and deserves recognition. If craft is hidden but still important, the problem then shifts to the lack of knowledge and understanding of the role it now plays in these spheres.

Sites of craft representation construct craft which serves and defends their constituency. The problem is craft, important as it is in their operations and practices, is not always known and/or disseminated, and individual sites of representation do not necessarily align with the idiosyncratic representations in other sites. Locating craft in individual sites is only pertinent to those sites and not necessarily to others. Thus, the problem includes both the lack of knowledge in the selected sites and its availability as public knowledge. If the results of the research, limited as it is to the selected sites, cannot be applied, as public knowledge, to other sites, the problem of establishing the importance and recognition of craft generally is not resolved. If craft in particular sites is to be generisable, more than knowledge of its local constructions is needed. Perhaps the methods used to find craft in particular sites may be transferable for the research to have wider applications. Hence finding craft in particular sites is only part of the problem; the methods used to find it need to be identified and applicable to other sites of craft representation.

Arguments The argument is based on four premises: 1. craft remains an important human pursuit and practice 2. craft connects humans with each other 3. craft mediates ideas into objects




4. organisations, institutions and events are constructed in the name of craft.

The general argument is for the notion that craft is important because it mediates ideas into objects. However craft, as a macro mediator is not only, or always, limited to physical action and material objects: it can also be in the form of discourse and discursive objects. It is thus argued that sites which claim to represent craft as physical action and material objects (but do not necessarily make or handle objects themselves) are ideal for studying other manifestations of craft. It is further argued that, although the practices and operations of these sites enable certain aesthetic, managerial, social or political objectives to be disseminated (overtly or incidentally), their practices and operations also reflect the actions involved in their production. On this basis it is argued that craft remains, albeit in a form authorised by the site that makes it and further, it is possible to locate and circumscribe craft by finding the practices and operations which construct it in that site. Because practices and operations are increasingly encapsulated in "paper work" the argument could be pursued by the mutability of “paper work” (Latour, 1999). Craft is mobilised when ideas as “paper work" in the form of numbers and words (contested knowledge) are mediated into objects in the form of “paper work” as numbers and words (new knowledge). For instance a work of visual art can be contested in two ways: initially for the ideas which underpin it as a proposition (old knowledge) and later as an object of aesthetics or meaning (new knowledge). What cannot be contested is the fact of its making. It exists and only exists to be read and interrogated because it is crafted it into existence. Its place as an art object is as dependent as much on the mediation of its making as its fit with the current trends in the art world. The mediation between old knowledge and new knowledge, although erroneously considered dispensable, is a material or discursive form of craft. Without “craft” as an “indispensable” mediator the “paper work” introducing the contested knowledge cannot be transformed into the “paper work” that articulates the new knowledge. As Latour (2000, p. 191) wrote:

So technical people, objects, or skills are at once inferior (since the main task will eventually be resumed), indispensable (since the goal is unreachable without them)




When craft produces objects as “paper work”, it makes itself available for later scrutiny, for example when historical references are needed or a controversy is to be settled. Thus, the record and dissemination of the making process (the craft) is important when assessing both the idea and object. It is further argued that this is significant epistemologically. Regarding craft as a maker of "old knowledge" into "new knowledge", positions craft as a maker of knowledge.

Compressing the argument into three steps i.e. old knowledge, craft, new knowledge is, of course, a simplification. The fluidity of the process is encapsulated by Latour (2000, p.189) when he suggests that when we:

consider the very notion of investment: a regular course of action is suspended, a detour is initiated via several types of actants, and the return is a fresh hybrid that carries past acts into the present and permits its many investors to disappear while also remaining present. If, as argued, craft makes knowledge in sites by mediating ideas into objects, it can also perform these roles in the wider culture. That is, awareness of craft as macro mediator can be used to explore societal transactions by permitting insights into what, why and how they are made. Craft enables transactions across boundaries they could not traverse alone.

Questions The macro question asked of the three sites is "how do they craft craft"?

The general concerns are centred on the nature and construction of craft in sites of representation which use or imply the label craft and how it fares in these sites given their responsibility to both uphold the traditions of craft and represent it in a contemporary context. Further is the knowledge gained from an analysis of the selected sites generalisable to other craft sites of representation?

Five specific questions emerge from these general concerns: 1. What is craft in sites which claim to represent it and use or imply the label craft and what part does craft play in the construction and operations of these sites? What does craft look like as it plays its role in the construction and operations of these sites?



2. How is craft made in sites which claim to represent it and use or imply the label craft? How do the practices and operations of these sites make craft? 3. Where else, other than those marked for study are sites where craft objects are made as a result of their practices and operations? 4. Why is a study of craft important and useful in sites which claim to represent it and use or imply the label craft? 5. Why is recognition of craft in specific craft sites useful for the recognition in sites which do not necessarily claim to represent craft?

These are questions posed before the research; the research process will inevitably answer some, ignore others and write new questions of its own.

Resources Resources are in two modes, resources used and resources produced. Resources used include publicly disseminated texts from a craft organisation, access to a course in a university jewellery workshop and its facilities, staff and students and memories meetings, agendas, minutes, newspaper and magazine articles and reviews from a jewellery exhibition. The theoretical and methodological resources used, including ANT, Foucault, Kuhn and Pye, are augmented by the researcher's history as a craftsperson and teacher and his personal experiences in each of the research sites. Resources produced can emerge from the evaluation of the researcher's experiences, assessment of the theory/methodology/method used and consideration of the value of such data as textual material, ethnographic experiences, recollections and records. Resources produced have two uses: one post research, that is they may become resources for other projects by other researchers at other times and during the research where they may re-direct and re-position aims and processes when the research is underway.

Resources used are nevertheless subject to interpretation. Accounts and reflections on the life of the researcher re-constructed from selective memory and interpretations of ANT made by following the sometimes-elusive tracks left by Latour and others are far from an exact science. ANT, for instance, is considered all things, theory/methodology/method for these reasons:




1. It is a theory, and a controversial one at that, because of its claim that in order to understand the results of an event it is necessary to put aside human privilege and assume and ascribe equal status to human and non human actors. 2. It is a methodology because its ethnographic implications broaden the range of anthropological sites. It urges one to go there and observe, collect and analyse what is really going on in sites where “tribes” gather. 3. It is a method because it asks to document actions, interact with the actants, question official outcomes and open black boxes. It asks us to observe translations which take place in the hands of mediators when ideas are made into objects.

Methods Material for the three projects is collected from a craft organisation, during a residency in an academic jewellery teaching workshop, and by reviewing the paper work made before, during and after a craft exhibition. All three use or imply craft as a name or practice. The right to use or imply craft in this way is not questioned; a name or practice is without meaning until later actions are performed around them. Although actions make and are made by names and practices and vary between and across institutions, organisations and events, they have in common the capacity to represent craft in some way.

As a general method the materials from the sites are scanned using discourse analysis. In particular humans, non-humans and their actions are scrutinised based essentially on an ANT methodology. Consistent with ANT, discrete material

objects are included but not privileged. Although the methods are consistent with ANT they vary within and across the main three sites of representation. The method is tailored to suit the way each site projects itself to its constituency and the community: the craft organisation with written texts, the institutional workshop through human actors and the exhibition, the remnants of its construction. The methods include translation, tabling human and non-human actions and reflections on the way common goals mobilise craft. In brief, craft will be traced in these sites by searching for the craft which constructed it.




ANT as a post-structural methodology blurs the boundaries between theory, methodology and method and subsumes other theories, methodologies and methods as its own. Thus it could be said that forms of critical and interpretative discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1995), historical analysis (the medieval guilds), "thick description" (Geertz, 1973, p.5) quantitative methods and narrative forms sit comfortably within the ambit of ANT. ANT also raises questions of distinction between qualitative and quantitative research methods. Although the researcher claims the three projects as examples of qualitative research, a liberal use of tables, diagrams, numbers and percentages which border on quantitative methods are included. Tables, diagrams, numbers and percentages are intended to encode the analyses of the discursive, anthropological, and experiential sites in an easy to read form and as an adjunct to the written text. The post-structuralist nature of the research and the intervention of the researcher also differentiates the research from the quantitative model.

Although the three research projects are linked by their significance to the fledgling craftsperson, their association with the visual arts and the experiences of the researcher, the resources used for each demand separate research formats. Thus, the three projects are autonomous in five important ways: 1. The nature of each site demands its own method of investigation, the craft organisation is essentially an office which distributes textual material and does not produce objects on site, the university jewellery workshop is a "hands on" production workplace where objects are made on site and the exhibition a public meeting place for objects made specifically for the purpose of display. 2. The methods, although steeped in ANT, vary according to the differences between the sites; selections from the ANT smorgasbord are mobilised according to their fit with the site under notice. 3. The method used to apply methodology to method is adjusted to suit the way the site broadcasts itself, the organisation in texts, the institution in human and non-human actors and the exhibition in public display. 4. The presentation of the findings is selected according to the flow of the analysis, differing from narrative to numbers, often combining both.



5. The experiences of the researcher in these sites are spread over time and mode of engagement.

The result is three pieces of research based on the same premise and sharing the same aims but delivered in three different styles. Thus, the three projects can be linked as one, used in combinations or available for individual use and contemplation according to the needs of the user.




SECTION 3: The research venture - assembling and operating on three sites of
craft representation

Section 3 includes identifying and validating the three sites for analysis (a craft organisation, Craftsouth, an academic workshop, a jewellery studio in a university, and Triptych, a craft exhibition) as research subjects, sketching their features, outlining the methods used to explore them and inferring the outcomes of an analysis of their operations and practices.




CHAPTER 7: Craft sites of representation, a craft organisation, an academic jewellery workshop, and an exhibition

Summary This section contains the nitty gritty of the thesis, the site research. There are three separate but related projects set in an organisation, a workshop and an exhibition. The organisation and workshop research includes both analysis and narrative whilst the exhibition research is in narrative form.

Each research project, in its own unique way, explores craft in sites of representation. Although the projects have many things in common such as using aspects of ANT as exploratory tools, probing similar questions, employing common arguments and pursuing similar goals, they are independent of each other in mode of analysis and presentation, enabling them to be used together, separately or in combinations according to need or interest.

In spite of many diversions and influences of others encountered on the meandering journey, it is the career of the researcher as a jeweller and jewellery teacher in a non-industrial setting which framed the tasks and determined the sites to be explored.

A jeweller in a non-industrial setting, although cast into the world of the visual arts, is, in a sense, in limbo, neither a tradesperson nor an artist. Nevertheless attempts to categorise the practice abound. Often the category craftsperson is applied, the practice called craft and the teaching, craft teaching. In the visual art world the category craft is simultaneously identified with and separated from mainstream visual art practice. Arguing that art cannot be made without craft and craft brings art into being does not bridge the gulf between them (Dormer, 1994, p.9). Unlike artists, craftspeople assign discrete values to making itself, whereas artists discard it as merely as a necessary but "immaterial" phase used to bring idea and object together (Dormer, 1994: p.25). To support the claim that craft remains in art objects and art objects cannot be studied without considering craft it is necessary to enrol others who have made similar assertions in other fields. Support is found in ANT and the field of science and technology studies and in particular the writing of Bruno Latour. Latour's claim that the craft phase of science cannot be separated or



excised from its published outcomes resonates with a claim of this thesis, that craft in the visual arts cannot be separated from its "published" outcomes, the art object. But the thesis does not go directly to craftspeople or artists to explore this notion; rather it applies the premise to sites where craft is an assumed entity, to explore in their texts and practices how their "published" outcomes are crafted. Thus the thesis considers whether their belief in the indispensability of craft remains, whether craft has discrete innate qualities worthy of technical, sensory and intellectual contemplation and whether the methodology/method is effective in opening up other sites (not necessarily art/craft sites) where ideas are mediated into objects. Three sites, a craft organisation, an academic workshop, and a craft exhibition are selected on the basis that they make up an alternative "apprenticeship" for craft workers, that craft makers and teachers visit them to both learn and find affiliates, and their practices and operations are connected with, and represent, craft in the visual arts.

The research entails the collection and analysis of data from sites that rely on craft to manifest their interests. It looks at how these claims are materialised by locating the network of humans and non-humans (actor-networks) which constitute them and how one claim sits against another. Rather than attempt to assert a universal or arbitrary definition of craft, contextual constructions are identified as practised in selected sites in a search for understanding craft. The research, although employing tables, diagrams and numbers, is unashamedly qualitative in nature, even the theory/methodology/method (ANT) is modified to suit when the personal experiences of the researcher intervenes.

So far ANT has been validated as an ideal research tool on the basis of its treatment of the authority of rational science method. That is, intentions and results, if looked at in the light of what actually went on when science is made, are not as clear cut or, in fact, as "rational" as they seem. When conducting research in the three selected craft sites of representation, it is necessary to maintain this approach, to consider intentions and results in the light of what actually went on in the craft organisation, the teaching institution, and the exhibition event. Alternatives to the words intentions and results pepper the thesis, such as input and output or hypothesis and conclusion but more often they are embodied contextually in the research and revealed by considering, through the particular analysis, what was



intended and what was made. The phrase "ideas mediated into objects" is often used in the thesis as a term which encompasses these alternatives. Whatever terms are used they are to be understood in the context of the mode of analysis.




Project 1: Craftsouth – a case study of a craft organisation

Overall summary The argument that organisations such as Craftsouth make objects enables an exploration of their modus operandi and lineage. Included is a discussion on the form and function of craft organisations and their evolving relations with both their membership and the wider community.

The first task to be undertaken is an analysis of the practices and operations of a craft organisation, a site where craft should find representation. A craft organisation is an ideal place to start because it is where fledgling craftspeople are integrated into a craft community, where they can access opportunities to start and support a practice and tap into resources such as grants and mentors. It is also a public site of craft production and consumption. The analysis is in five parts:

Part 1, the evolving organisation, traces the hand and object over a twenty-year period and sets the scene for the current modus operandi of Craftsouth and the other organisation research projects which follow. Part 2 outlines the positioning of Craftsouth in the field of Western craft organisations by associating the words guild, association, society and council in titles and introductory promotional statements with particular modes of practice. Part 3 is an analysis of the public texts emanating from Craftsouth and Part 4 is a discussion of an accreditation document used to introduce the notion of the masterpiece in the context of a craft organisation. Part 5 uses the discussion of the accreditation document to explore the antecedents of the masterpiece, the medieval guilds, their relation to the accreditation document and its influence on the proceeding thesis.

Public organisations which represent and manage craft abound. They manage and dispense resources and provide a community base for the independent and collective professional and non-professional craftspeople set adrift from the mainstream by changes in industry and/or domestic life. They also provide a refuge for craftspeople in the visual art world where the values of craftspersonship and utility are not disparaged.




Craft organisations have a lineage and a modus operandi that extends back to the once powerful medieval guilds and early industry unions. The guilds, and later the unions, managed and protected craftspeople and their place in the world by collectively acting on their behalf. Unwin (1963, p. 16) described the rise of the “fellowship” of the guilds as a “collective lordship”, in order to “fight lordship with its own weapons”. It is in the medieval guilds the roots of contemporary unionism are found, where collectivism was seen as a bastion against industrial and corporate power. But traditional guilds differed from present day unions in the way they overtly managed a greater part of the life of the craftsperson. Contemporary guilds, associations, councils and societies have more in common with their medieval ancestors than they have with unions although there is, of course, considerable overlap.

The contemporary version of the traditional guild, association, council and society re-emerged not so much to strengthen the bargaining power of the unionised employee but rather to represent both the self-employed craftsperson and perceived social and cultural interests of the wider community. Although industrialisation and post-industrialisation have dealt the deathblow to the primacy of the hand made object rendering it superfluous to industry and a novelty in the home, craft organisations have proliferated as the desire to make, experience and represent the hand-made linger. The number of organisations claiming to represent craft, the proliferation of craft education programs and the number of practising craftspeople attest to this contention.

Ironically the so-called art/craft binary is, to an extent, maintained by craft organisations because they provide a venue which represents the subjugated craft in the binary enabling an identifiable target for visual art elitists. Thus two features of visual object making, art and craft, can be institutionally pitted against each other, rather than embraced as common to both and open to scrutiny and contemplation. Although organisations often overtly align themselves with either art or craft they covertly acknowledge each other in their practices and operations.

Craft organisations come in a number of forms differentiated, among other things, by their nomenclature, such as guild, association, society and council. Although




they may be separated by these names, they nevertheless have many things in common, significantly craft as their predominant interest.

The organisational research is predicated on the assertion that craft organisations make objects, not necessarily on their premises or by directly employing craftspeople or managing workshops but by shaping and forming objects made by the craftspeople they choose to enroll as members. In this sense, they could be said to be making objects by remote control. It, of course, can be counter argued, that as they do not make objects on their premises and, in the case of Craftsouth, are seemingly indifferent to them they have nothing to do with their shape or form. Nevertheless in order to fulfill the criteria for accredited membership objects have to exist, they have to be made, exhibited and sold for the craftsperson to gain membership. The hand and the object may not be in sight but they must lurk somewhere in the organisation for it to fulfill its self ordained functions. Thus the presence of the hand and object is a tool to both understand the organisation, making the organisation an ideal site to explore one way craft is represented and maintained in the contemporary world.

In spite of their choice of nomenclature, differing aims and profiles, organisations have in common the resources to exercise power in the community, shape careers and inform practices by their authority to form public opinion, dispense scarce community resources and shape personal profiles.

Craftsouth is a craft organisation in Adelaide, South Australia which represents craftspeople members on several levels of accreditation and craft in the wider community. It was established in the 1960s during the heyday of the alternative craft movement and has adapted over the years to the changing fortunes of craft in the visual arts, industry and society. Necessarily the first port of call of its study is an analysis of its evolution over a significant part of its history to trace its adaptation to an ever-changing craft scene. This is carried out in an analysis of the President's and Executive Directors Reports 1980 - 2000.




Part 1: The evolving organisation, an analysis of a selection of the President's and Executive Director’s Reports 1980-2000 Summary Part1 entails an analysis of selected annual reports, 1980 to 2000, using Latour’s “Translating Interests” as a methodology/method. Each report is transcribed and subjected to a general discourse analysis and to one of Latour’s five translations to plot changes in practices and operations in the organisation as it evolves over a twenty year period. Finally the hand and the object are used to locate the organisation’s connections with the traditions of craft.

A combined sequential selection of The Craft Council/Craftsouth’s Annual Reports and the President’s and Executive Officer’s reports over a twenty year period (1980, 87, 92, 96 and 2000) is subjected to discourse analysis. The analysis is interpreted in two ways, firstly, using an adaptation of Latour's "translating interests", to track changes in direction and structure as it evolves over time and secondly by locating the hand and object in the practices and operations of the organisation

Latour’s Translating Interests Latour’s (1999, pp.108-121) “translating Interests” consist of the following:

Translation 1 I want what you want Translation 2 I want it why don't you Translation 3 If you just make a short detour…. Translation 4 Reshuffling interests and goals, consisting of four tactics: Tactic 1 Displacing goals: maybe you don't know you have a problem Tactic 2 Inventing new goals: but you have Tactic 3 Inventing new groups: you need help Tactic 4 Rendering the detour invisible: if you are not convinced let your doubts be put aside by these rewards and advantages Tactic 5 Dissolving responsibility: after all these manoeuvrers you’ll no longer know or care whether it was you or us who solved your problem. Translation 5 Becoming indispensable




The analysis The contents of the two reports, the Craft Council/Craftsouth’s Annual Report and the President’s and Executive Officer’s Report, are scanned as one for the purposes of analysis.

1980 The dominant interests in 1980 centred on Craft Council endorsed displays of member’s work held in popular non-elitist venues and tuition in craft techniques.

Displaying objects and makers was still important in 1980. The main display venues were the Royal Show, Elder Park and the Craft Council’s foyer. Nevertheless changes in display strategies are foreshadowed by the Miniature Objects exhibition in the Jam Factory gallery and a calculated attempt to reach design, architectural and business communities with a promotional display in the Council's foyer.

The success of the Royal Show display, seemingly happily ensconced in a popular public venue, provided the participating craftsperson members and the Council with broad public exposure. But it was also measured by how it enlarged the market and the size of its monetary return, perhaps a hint of things to come (although $3,339 of sales was not a remarkable proportion of the estimated $50,000 value of the objects). The Elder Park fair was claimed as a huge success as it booked 108 stalls and attracted an attendance estimated at 70,000 and a Council profit of $925. The fair was a craft market open to anyone who paid for a space to set up a stall. As an “experimental first” the Council opened up its foyer and office for invited interior designers, decorators and architects to view the works of a selected craftsperson. The event was intended to promote the craftsperson and increase the visibility of the Council to professionals in the design industry. Collaborations with designers in a range of fields were seen to be a strategy to create a market for the craftsperson’s skills and products.

Although the President’s Report underplayed the economic and marketing aspects of both the Royal Show and the Elder Park craft market the Executive Officer’s Report paid considerable attention to money and markets, signs of changing interests and objectives.



Craft skill training was still a priority in 1980 although the previously successful Tatachilla summer school appeared to be running out of steam. This was partly blamed in the reports on “a disenchantment with the sameness of the format.” Tatachilla, a sort of craft version of Woodstock was, in effect, an opportunity to indulge in craft in an environment not possible in everyday life.

Country Workshops mentioned in the Report were also at risk. They were an attempt to bring together the Council's country members, to touch many of craft’s country roots and to acknowledge and service practitioners who had chosen a country way of life. These too were seen to be failing not because of their sameness but because the Council lacked the “time and energy” to organise them.

In house workshops were streamlined to match resources, for example four day workshops in Backstrap Weaving, Enamelling and Glaze Technology could only be run if they conformed to the “Council’s policy of only running classes in response to perceived needs”: responding to, rather than creating needs.

The Council was tenuously hanging on to the “club” like mode of its early years by still looking inside to member’s needs and interests. The only mention of outside interests referred to affiliations with sub-groups such as the Fibreworks Collective and the Leather Group and to member meetings with esteemed craftspeople.

The reports of 1980 contain the first hints of change in the Council's outlook whilst hanging on to old practices such as the Council endorsed displays of member’s work in popular non-elitist venues at the Royal Show and the Elder Park craft fair. It was, at the same time, tentatively looking outside to the market and reconsidering the effectiveness and popularity of craft workshops and schools such as Tatachilla and country and local workshops.

Translation 1 (I want what you want) The Council, at this point, was what its people want it to be rather than what it thinks it should be: relying to a significant degree on the maker’s hand and the display of the material object to justify its existence.




Although slightly uneasy with its image the Council was still making itself by carrying out the traditions of craft and the wishes of members and interested others. It was overtly using the hand and the object to construct an image by displaying in public venues the skills of the maker. Workshops where craftspeople could learn new skills and hone old ones under the tutelage of “master craftspeople" endorsed the primacy of hand and object. The Council, although starting to question how its current “image” is shaped by popular displays and skills workshops “tailored” to meet the perceived interests of the members, was still using member’s interests to represent itself. By assuming the perceived needs of craftspeople in display and workshops, the Council declared itself and its members as a unified body of makers.

The Hand and the Object The hand is overtly represented by displaying its skills en masse in public venues where objects can be measured by the skill of the hand, and where art is perceived to be akin to craft. The hand is still considered worthy of further training by the Council at workshops and summer schools. Nevertheless the Council was growing uneasy with these activities and was tentatively looking beyond and behind the hand to the market by reconsidering the way it represents craft. The object was still being released in the public domain as a means of shaping the Council's profile and representing craft and the skills of its members. Nevertheless, the Council's interest in the non-material use of the object was now coming to notice.

1987 The notable changes from 1980 to 1987 concerned the Council’s attitudes to, and evaluation of, exhibitions and displays and the shift in emphasis from communal craft activities (summer schools, workshops) to an information service: helping members to sell the skills they have rather than helping them acquire new skills or honing old ones.

Nevertheless Council sponsored exhibitions are still important during this period; references to them constituted approximately two thirds of the word space in both the President and Executive Officer’s reports. It is a change in the nature of exhibitions and what the Council expects from them rather than the notion of exhibitions themselves which was significant.



For example the Council sponsored Maker’s Choice exhibition was curated, the participants carefully selected and the venue a mainstream exhibition space, in fact, packaged in the style of an elite art exhibition. It was promoted as a prestigious show where esteemed makers were selected (rather than taking all-comers) and asked to choose other esteemed makers to exhibit with them. The craftspeople were referred to as makers, not crafts people, and one of the aims was to “enable the Crafts Council to widen its audience and its contacts with the rest of the arts industry” a conscious effort perhaps to shed the mantle of "rustic crafts" and be seen as part of the wider arts community and the arts industry. The exhibition incorporated theory and discussion, at the time rarely associated with a display of craft objects: "as well as the exhibition itself a series of lectures and workshops given by some of these artists who came from interstate to attend".

Although this exhibition did not tour, touring was considered as a desirable objective. The craftspeople with their objects for sale at the Royal Show or in a public park were replaced by a prestigious “high craft” exhibition as a new representation for the Council, not in the wider community, but in the arts industry.

The Craft Fair discussed in the 1980 Reports also underwent a change in format. In its new format it was described as a major event devised in 1987 for the 1988 Festival of Arts. It was to be renamed as Contemporary Crafts in South Australia or Contemporary Craft in South Australia and was to vacate the lawns of Elder Park and go indoors to the Banquet Hall in the Festival Centre complex. The craftspeople were to be selected and the format based on the Crafts Council of Australia’s Craft Expo. It was intended “provide a splendid opportunity for South Australian craftspeople to present themselves and their work to a prime audience at a prime time.”

It was felt that the Royal Show display should also go upmarket by changing its location in the show grounds because “it was clear that we had to distance ourselves from other things presented there… the decision was made to go it alone in our own pavilion.” Consideration was given to abandoning the Royal Show display completely, but instead an interim compromise was decided upon complete with a name change, “Crafts: The Living Arts”, and a separate location in the show grounds. The move from the Royal Show "low" crafts pavilion to the more



prestigious Walter Duncan Pavilion and the name change was also an effort to lift the public status of the Council. The new name, Crafts: The Living Arts, itself suggests a tentative effort to ally craft with art and a desire for a place in the art world and the new site in the show grounds, the transformation from a display to an exhibition.

The other significant development in the 1987 Reports was the Council's interest in its role as an information service. Disseminating information was considered in several forms, for example the production of a magazine and a yearbook and by more thorough publicity of exhibitions and events. It was moving consciously towards a role as an information dispenser: “at the centre of the Councils activities is the Information Service. We see all of the projects of the Council as being based on the dissemination of information – whether it be in publications, exhibitions, or events like the Royal Show”. This was a significant change in the mission of the Council and a prediction of future directions.

The information considered to be of value to its members was expressed in business terms such as assistance in "applying for grants, dealing with galleries and buyers, promotion, sales tax, etc" and on a wider front the practical advantages of being affiliated with the national crafts body, the Crafts Council of Australia,.

In 1987 a discernible change in the Councils attitude to display is exemplified by the end of low craft (Royal Show and craft fair) and the advent of high craft (Maker's Choice and the craft expo). A re-evaluation of its image saw a shift from promoting craftspeople to promoting the Council and from display to exhibition. A shift also occurred away from communal teaching and display to an information service: from directly teaching and promoting the hand and object to informing the world of their existence and value.

Translation 2 (I want it, why don’t you) The organisation scrutinises itself – and says I want something different – things that improve my look – why don’t you want it as it will benefit you as well.

Over the period 1980 to 1987 a marked change took place in the relationship between the Council, the object and its maker. Although it is difficult to know from



the reports where the changes came from they heralded new attitudes towards the Council's public profile.

The two exhibitions mentioned in the 1987 reports differed from their 1980 counterparts by their exclusivity and focus on a small number of selected participants (especially in the Makers Choice exhibition). Nomenclature became important for example from the word craft to art/craft, from fair to expo, from Royal Show display to “Crafts: The Living Arts.” By excluding those who did not “enable the Crafts Council to widen its audience and contacts with the rest of the arts industry” the Council asked why the members and public wouldn’t want it too. A reading of Latour's (1999. p.111) translation 2 could infer that in order for the organisation to get what it wanted it had to cut of (if their usual way is cut off) members who it did not want what the organisation wanted.

The advent of the Council as an information service was clearly articulated in the reports. A discursive object, (information) was replacing the material object and the hand and exhibitions and events repackaged as information carriers. The hand and the object become mediators in a network of information actants. Did the hand and object as mediators in an information network “cut off” those who are not considered by the Council to be information producers?

The hand and object is further marginalised by the Council when it suggests that its obligation to craftspeople is to enable them to apply for grants, deal with galleries and buyers, promote themselves and deal with tax etc.

The Hand and the Object The hand is changing venues; it is going places where it will not necessarily get quite as much overt respect or attention. It is still there in the objects it makes but its new audience might not be as interested as before, they might not notice how it made objects but rather what the objects it made might mean or how they react to its aesthetic appeal. The hand is no longer only grounded in the earthy world of the workshop and its tools and machines it has now itself a tool – a marketing tool for craftspeople and a making tool for the Council. The hand graduated from a maker of objects to a medium of communication between Council, the arts industry and the market. The object is divorcing the hand; separated from the lowly status of the



hand it can be groomed to climb the social ladder and while it seeks respect in the art world it is also being groomed to reconstruct the organisation representing it.

1992 The advent of craft professionals in the market place There are no exhibitions, displays, workshops, skills training or craft camps mentioned in the 1992 report, its right down to business. The President’s Report opens with a definitive statement –

The priority reflected in the Boards 1993-95 Strategic Plan was a focus on marketing as a means of assisting practitioners to deal with the present recessionary period. By placing an emphasis on marketing in its service programme, professional development workshops and special projects, the Board aimed to develop the potential of crafts practitioners to present and market their products and skills and to aid in realising new ventures and opportunities. The emphasis on marketing not only concerned assisting members to market their products and skills but also for the Council to market itself as a particular type of organisation. Craft was now portrayed as an industry and thus needed to be represented by an organisation with an appropriate industry/corporate image. In order to construct such an image the Council set out to develop relationships and partnerships in projects which opened up new audiences outside the narrow confines of the craft world. Hence marketing techniques and educational outreach became a priority. Participation in state and national committees was also considered necessary to cast a wider net for audiences within and outside the craft world. The Council’s role as an advocate for the craft industry was significantly stepped up during this period.

New premises were established in a shift from the suburbs to the Jam Factory in the city. A city centred location permitted accessibility to the Council as a resource centre, an advantage over the old premises and a reflection of the desire to be a service organisation and connect with a wider audience and bigger market. The “up to the minute style of the new building was said to reflect the messages we have been sending out about ourselves …as an efficient, professional service organisation…”.




In the 1992 reports little mention was made of exhibitions, displays, skills training or craft camps. Instead the emphasis was on marketing, professional development and special projects such as business skills and product marketing. Rather than imparting skills or making objects efforts were re-directed towards initiating new ventures and providing opportunities for members to become professionals.

Translation 3. (If you just make a short detour…) The short detour taken during this period diverted scrutiny from the prestigious exhibition and exposition which at least cursorily acknowledged object and hand, to what the object and hand could do to shape the new profile envisaged by the Council. But the Council, in taking this detour, must offer its members and public something which embodies the hand and object and a place in the market and the community if it is to keep and expand membership and public interest. The notion of mutual dependence justifies the detour sanctifying the diversion of interest from exhibitions and expos to the professional in the marketplace. The detour is further justified by the organisation by accepting the things practitioners are going to do anyway, making and presenting objects to the world, to take up the task that most practitioners may not want, or be able to do, become professional marketers of their work. The organisation is re-defining its goals to help practitioners market and sell their work and reach the goal as a professional marketer. The organisation risks being seen to take over the maker's practice or as Latour (1999, p.113) said, “hijacking” it by diverting their primary aims (to make and display work) to the primary aims of the organisation (to be an efficient, professional service organisation). Marketing the organisation by marketing the maker is reinforced by the implications of a change of location, a short detour in one sense but a significant one because there is no turning back. The new location and the atmosphere created by the building design, floor plan, fittings etc. can thwart those who resist change. The shift, from the suburbs to the city and the homespun to the corporate is a powerful symbol of change. The Council saw it as a means of capturing a wider audience and a bigger market as they claimed the “up to the minute style of the new building reflected the messages we have been sending out about ourselves…as an efficient, professional service organisation…”




The Hand and the Object The hand has slipped from sight, exhibitions, events and hand skills training are not overtly mentioned in the report. Nevertheless the hand must be there somewhere; marketing training and new ventures still need hands and objects to put them into practice. The hand is slipping behind the overt practices and operations of the organisation into other partnerships and relationships further separating it from its roots in the workshop and the craft market. Moving house during this period severed the geographic and historic ties which rooted the Council in its earthy beginnings cutting off the centrality of the hand and object in its practices and operations. The object and the hand are now, in a sense, separated from each other, the object a marketing actor, its function re-negotiated by the organisation as part of the apparatus used to professionalise itself and its members. The object is now a mediator for a professional service.

1996 The reports of 1996 ushered in the advent of the Craft Council as a business organisation for the professional craftsperson. The primary strategy embodied in the statement “promote and develop new markets for its practicing members” was intended to establish fertile partnerships and alliances outside the organisation. Involvement in projects such as the Food and Wine Fair, Feast and the Maritime Museum were examples. These new alliances and partnerships had to be funded if they were to be viable and new business opportunities had to economically advantage both the practitioner members and generate funds for the Council’s operations.

The Council formalised its professional development trajectory by implementing fortnightly professional development programmes to continue the “rise in the standard” of professionalism in the craft community. Professional training was not seen as the exclusive privilege of the craftspeople members, the management board was also included, presumably based on the assumption that if the professional craftsperson needed business skills so did management if the Council as a business organisation was to be successful. Accordingly the management board was subjected to a skills audit to identify areas “where additional expertise was needed and appropriate personnel sought to fill these roles”. Skills in management, not




craft skills were considered to be an important criterion for both running a craft organisation and being a craftsperson.

Training to "craft" business rather than to "craft" objects was now important enough to establish professional development programmes which “equips craftspeople with the information, skills, and access to opportunities required for successful practice” to be enhanced by “full day workshops on the Art of Self Promotion in Adelaide, Pricing your Work, and the Collaborations workshop, Expanding your practice into the Public Arena”.

As well as an emphasis on business and professional skill enhancement the Council took on issues similar to those of traditional worker's unions such as to “ensure craftspeople are fairly rewarded” and to “facilitate the discussion and interpretation of issues facing craft practice”.

The Council's role as a service provider took up a large part of the review of 1996: its range and impact was outlined in detail particularly in the Executive Officers Report. Such things as the Advisory service, contacting and enlisting graduating students, the use of the resource centre, marketing, promotional and referral services, business practice, grant applications, and desktop publishing as well as answering enquiries from the general public were all considered to be important Council roles.

In 1996 the transformation from craft making to craft business was complete. The Council’s main aim was now to promote and develop new markets for practising members, establish partnerships and alliances outside the organisation, generate funds, expand professional development activities and ensure craftspeople were fairly rewarded.

Translation 4 (reshuffling interests and goals) Perhaps you don’t know you have a problem. Latour contends that in order to function in the way they want to function groups have to subvert “people’s explicit interests” even those they purport to represent. In a sense the group with a solution has to look for a group with a problem. In this case the solution is professional business skills, and the problem, craftspeople not knowing they have a problem



with conducting a viable business. New partners and alliances are found by the group to advance its aims and craftspeople enlisted to carry them out. What you need is training in professional development; your goal should be to become more professional in the business of selling your hand and object. To do this you need help from real business people on the outside – such as Business SA etc whose interests, although not obvious to you, are consistent with yours. The organisation is not trying to sell you something that is not in your best interest, being a consummate professional is in your best interest.

If you don’t believe us come to the workshops such as full day workshops on the Art of Self Promotion in Adelaide and Pricing Your Work, you will be convinced that you cannot do without this knowledge. Let your doubts be subsumed by the rewards and advantages that partnerships, alliances and professional development can offer, eventually you’ll think it was your decision.

Reshuffling interests and goals as the above dialogue suggests provides a means of translating the seemingly benign texts from the annual reports into an understanding of how the organisation evolved from the object of the hand to the object of the market. More importantly it illustrates how texts when exposed to a tool, such as ANT, which does not accept anything as benign and unimportant, can be a powerful tool. The Council has, according to the only evidence available (the reports) successfully reinvented its self by offering to its member’s advantages, opportunities, rewards and protection that, although irresistible, were vastly different from the attractions offered to members in 1980.

The Hand and the Object The hand has not only slipped from sight but it has now moved off the premises and taken up residence in outside organisations. It is appropriated by the Council's new image as a craft business organisation, and sent to the backroom to promote and develop new markets by the organisation and seconded out to other organisations as means of establishing new partnerships and alliances. Outside organisations may not be aware of the presence of the hand and object but its roots in the traditions of craft cannot be jettisoned from the business of marketing craft. The object is now in the market place as a commodity, a unit in the sequence of relations which perform business transactions. From the craft organisation's viewpoint the commodification



of the hand and the object is almost complete; it now can be used to make the professional who, in turn, makes the organisation. The object can be defined as a mediator in the professionalisation of practising members.

2000 Between 1996 and 2000 the Crafts Council changed its name to Craftsouth as it was deemed that the word council gave the impression of an institution. Craftsouth was originally formed in 1966 as the Craft Association of South Australia, became the Crafts Council of South Australia in 1978 and Craftsouth in 1997/98.

Issues of image, nomenclature, affiliations and service delivery dominate the reports of 2000 apparently in an effort to provide the craft professional with a market and a status similar to that of other small businesspersons.

The 2000 reports go directly to the nitty gritty of business, the Tax system, GST and MYOB and to a financial relationship with an outside organisation, the Business Centre. A Crafts Industry Strategy Paper was prepared by Arts SA “to which Craftsouth was able to provide a clear vision of our role in the future development of the vital craft/design industry in South Australia”

Craftsouth asserts itself as a business and professional service organisation in two ways 1) in its core programme (inside) where it intends to provide professional services and enable craft discourse and 2) by initiating projects (outside) to “foster audience development and market opportunity for the sector”.

Possibly the most telling example of its direction is in the list of outside organisations with which it collaborates. They all have, to some degree, business and/or professional arts management interests. The relationship with outside organisations is patently revealed by the list in the reports thus - Country Arts SA, Flinders Art Museum and the West End Arts Forum, University of South Australia, Jam Factory Contemporary Craft and Design and Object Galleries, The Business Centre, Council for International Trade and Commerce SA, Business SA, The Small Business Training Centre - TAFE.




Not only was the professional business sector targeted as collaborators but also particular emphasis was placed on “Developing new market opportunities” by working through other avenues for commercial success, including the manufacturing and retail sector and projects with organisations with similar aspirations, for instance Craft Organisations Australia.

The word design is used more often in this report than any of its predecessors, for example participation in the Designing Minds project; a project aimed particularly at the design industry, connected Craftsouth on a formal basis with designers. The project is a collaboration between Craftsouth: Centre for Contemporary Craft & Design; the University of South Australia Louis Laybourne School of Architecture and Design, Jam Factory Contemporary Craft and Design and Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design (Sydney). The development and presentation of an exhibition was assisted with funding from the Visual Arts/Craft Fund of the Australia Council, via the National Exhibitions Program managed by Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design. This range of organisations and institutions reinforces a perceived connection between Craftsouth with the designers and the design industry, universities and funding bodies.

These affiliations were one of the strategic initiatives aimed to bring together designer-makers, commissioning clients, manufacturers and retailers with Craftsouth.

Continuing in this vein but not widely disseminated is the sub-title the Centre for Contemporary Craft and Design Craftsouth has added to its title. The word designer also creeps in by the use the term designer-maker to describe a craftsperson: “impact that the culture of the designer-maker has had on the development of contemporary studio practice”

Two exhibitions occupying only two lines of text in the reports are mentioned but only in the context of “Craftsouth’s resourcefulness, project management and curatorial skills”: no mention of objects or makers or critique of exhibited objects. A change in location as well as a “broader service delivery” is mooted along with seeking increased industry support, for instance as a participant in the West End Craft Incubator.



The upgrading of computing facilities and IT base because “it is extremely important for Craftsouth to develop and provide leadership for our members through the use of Information Technology” was considered to be of utmost importance.

The year 2000 was typified by a preoccupation with business. For example the corporalisation of the nomenclature in the title change from the Craft Council to Craftsouth and the inclusion of the word designer in its vocabulary. Issues of image were symptomatic of this era as were affiliations outside the organisation especially with business groups. The means of delivering a service such as managing and curating exhibitions was also an issue in 2000.

Translation 5 (Becoming indispensable) Look! You can’t do without us: being a professional person is now in a “black box” there is no question about it. See we have changed our name, image and activities to ensure that the only path for a craftsperson to take is now clearly marked and signposted only for the business professional.

The organisation is now indispensable to the hand and the object if they are going to survive in a complex business and marketing world. It is a craft/design industry which you are dealing with not an alternative lifestyle. The business/marketing world is far too complex and imposing for the hand and object to negotiate alone, Craftsouth with its connections and means of publicity is an indispensable medium craftspeople cannot do without.

By convincing the maker that it is necessary to pass through the organisation in order to actually go anywhere the organisation strengthens itself as a body, expands its interests and validates its position in the art/craft world.

The Hand and the Object The hand is further “abstracted” as the organisation takes on the new digitised technologies and co-opts the word design. Important because designers do not necessarily make objects, they distance the hand from the object and imply abstract relations between hand and object. The designer may not touch the object in its material form but creates an abstraction to be taken up later and somewhere else by



tools and machines. Technologies of design intervene between the hand and the object distancing the hand from the craftsperson’s workshop. The new technologies which refer to the use of soft-ware for business accounting and IT for disseminating information herald a new era for the maker's hand. The object is now a device for the dissemination of image, service, audience and market. In the 2000 reports locating the hand and object is not easy although by collaborations with the manufacturing and retail sector it is used by the organisation to connect resources and people. The organisation uses the hand and object to perform the role of a broker and as a device which manifests the organisations managerial proficiency.

An evolutionary diagram based on Latour’s continuous bi-directional chain visually illustrates the transition. The idea of “evolution” as something that simultaneously advances and recedes rather than the notion that one “era” is modified and handed on, is a useful tool for understanding the demise of the hand and the object and the rise of professionalism in Craftsouth.

Although the diagram depicts two enclosed overlapping triangles which represent the transformation of the hand (and thus the hand made object) into a professional as finite forms, starting with all and ending with nothing, it is only an expedient local construction. But if seen as a chain of overlapping triangles the diagram can depict infinite sequences of possible advances and recessions.

Figure 1.

The diagram, a variation of Latour’s (2000,p.71) transformation diagram, illustrates the transformation from the beginning of the demise of the hand made object in 1980 to its disappearance in 2000 and the relative insignificance of professionalism



in 1980 to its takeover in 2000. Although the diagram appears as a rigid structure it is possible to adjust the bands and the size and shape of the triangles to approximate the rate of transformation over the twenty year time period by associating change with size, shape and distance. Latour refers to the bands as the “dialectic of gain and loss”.

In a discipline called Communities of Practice organisations are categorised either as Self-Organising CoPs and Sponsored CoPs. Self-organising CoPs start with shared interests and are initially voluntary, informal and self-organising (Nickols, 2000, p.1). They have the capacity to develop, over time, into formal or sponsored organisations. The latter describes the evolution of Craftsouth. Although the analysis did not start at the time of the formation of the organisation an overview of a significant part of its history is sufficient to show an evolutionary trend from its inception as a voluntary, informal and self-organising collective in 1980 to a formal sponsored professional organisation in the year 2000.

During its evolution Craftsouth went through several title changes to match its changing agenda and remake its public image. The next analysis considers the effect and use of titles and introductory statements both from a Western international, and Craftsouth perspective.

Part 2: What’s in a name? Positioning Craftsouth: an analysis of craft organisation titles and introductory statements Summary Part 2 consists of an analysis of a sample of Western craft organisation titles and introductory statements for modes of practice and operations. Similarly an analysis of the Craftsouth title and introductory statement seeks its mode of practice and operation and its fit within the sample of Western craft organisation analyses.

A sample of Western craft organisations are analysed for their modes of practice and operations using titles and introductory statements as data. The organisations are selected because they use one the four most common names, guild, association, society or council, in their title and précis their practices and operations in an introductory statement following the title. Later the craft organisation under notice, Craftsouth, is similarly analysed for its fit in the sample. The analysis focuses on



Western craft organisations because they, more or less, operate in similar social/cultural/economic environments as Craftsouth. Below is a typical example of a title and introductory statement, the Ontario Crafts Council, used in the analyses.

The Ontario Crafts Council is a not-for-profit arts service organization that promotes craft, advocates for craftspeople and provides educational public programming. It was founded in 1976 through the merger of the Canadian Guild of Crafts (Ontario, 1931) and the Ontario Craft Foundation (1966) and is registered with Revenue Canada as a charitable organization-charitable tax number:11887 8511 RR0001.

Programs and activities are supported through membership, proceeds from the Crafts Council's retail and exhibition location, The Guild Shop, though individual, corporate and foundation donations and sponsorships.

Handmade works of craft enrich our lives by making our environment, everyday activities, and experience more meaningful. The Ontario Crafts Council celebrates and seeks to enhance this contribution of craft and craftspeople to the cultural and economic fabric of our communities.

As a not-for-profit arts service organization, the Crafts Council promotes craft and advocates for craftspeople. It provides information, services and programming linking craft to designers, educators, collectors, the business community and the general public (Ontario Crafts Council, 2004, p.1)

The craft organisations are selected from the USA, Canada and Britain, the countries of origin of the sample because they are akin with their Australian counterparts. Organisations from non-Western countries differ in their social, cultural and economic relations with the communities they serve and, therefore would not be relevant to the study. Alfoldy (2003) alluded to the gap between Western and non-Western notions of craft when she discussed the differences between their organisational agendas in a brief history of the establishment of the World Crafts Council.

Ultimately the concern is with the practices and operations of the local craft organisation, Craftsouth; the analysis of Western craft organisations is only carried out to position Craftsouth in the field. By identifying the various permutations of Western craft organisations a matrix is constructed within which Craftsouth can be positioned. Understanding something of the international scene helps to interpret



the way craft is managed locally thus enabling tentative conclusions to be made about its practices and operations.

The method for the research rests on a central assertion of actor-network theory (ANT); that is a network of humans and non-humans is formed in the quest for a desired outcome, or in the words of Law (2000, pp.1-2):

It (ANT) proposes that an object is an effect of an array of relations, the effect, in short, of a network. And that it holds together, it is an object, while those relations hold together and don’t change their shape. By using ANT to seek out similarities and differences in the networks of craft organisations which include the name guild, association, society or council in their title an “array of relations” can be assigned that delineate them as a particular sort of “object” from their title and introductory statement.

Word Usage Title - refers to the organisation’s choice of headline e.g. "The Ontario Craft Council". Name - refers to the organisation’s choice of collective noun e.g. guild, association, society or council Introductory statement - refers to the body of text following the title

The titles and introductory statements from each of the sites have the potential to reveal an actor-network, a cluster of humans, non-humans and their actions under the name guild, association, society and council, affiliating or separating them according to the “array of relations” in their networks.

If networks are found in the titles and introductory statements which categorise the organisations do the categories help understand the practices and operations of Craftsouth? For instance does it fit with one of the categories or is it, in the context of the categorisation, a hybrid, or perhaps a new type organisation altogether?

Data production consists of titles and introductory statements collected from the websites at forty-eight sites from USA, Canada, UK and Australia which claim to



represent craft and use the names guild, association, society and council in their title. Each name is represented by twelve websites, that is twelve guilds, twelve associations, twelve societies and twelve councils. These are analysed for their characteristics in two actions; firstly the forty-eight titles are arranged in four groups according to their names (e.g. twelve with the name guild in their titles, twelve with the name association in their titles, etc.) and analysed under these names for their reference (or non-reference) to craft and the geographic range they cover. Secondly the introductory statements which follow the titles are combined under the four names (guild, association, society and council) and reduced to lists of words referring to humans, non-humans and their actions to search for practices and operations implied by the introductory statements (Latour, 1991, p. 106).

The aim is to analyse craft organisation titles and introductory statements posted on websites which use the names guilds, associations, societies and councils for their relations with craft and their geographic range, identify the humans, non-humans and their actions in the introductory statements associated with the names guild, association, society and council, infer operations and practices from the analysis and position Craftsouth within the context of these names, operations and practices.

The analysis is significant because it opens up a broad social, cultural and geographic picture of a sample of Western craft organisations which permit a view of Craftsouth from this perspective. As part of the wider study of craft organisations it contributes to the pool of knowledge that will inform craft practice, education and industry and it uses and tests ANT in a particular context.

The first move will be to analyse the titles, the headlines, organisations use to introduce the reader to the introductory statements. Titles summarise the site when a web page is opened and thus constitute the initial picture of its content. This simple ANT analysis will identify geographic range (humans) and craft specificity or non specificity (non-humans) as a network at each of the sites.

The introductory statements which follow the title are subjected to a more comprehensive ANT analysis to find the humans, non-humans and actions enrolled under the four names (guilds, associations etc.) in the titles and the differences




these networks make in shaping the “nature” of the organisations and their relation with craft.

The analysis is guided by the following questions: 1. What is the relationship between the titles, craft and geographic range? 2. To what extent are the humans represented in the introductory statements? 3. To what extent is the "technical" represented in the introductory statements? 4. To what extent are actions represented in the introductory statements? 5. What do the networks formed by these representations mean? 6. How is Craftsouth positioned within these networks? 7. How does ANT fare in this context?

The title analysis Table 1 represents the analysis of the titles of the organisations. The columns are defined thus: Broad location encompasses whole country or international vistas. Narrow locations are territories the size of a state or smaller. General craft refers to non-specific craft activities. Specific craft names the craft discipline. No location denotes the lack of specific location in the title. No craft - neither the word craft nor a specific craft is mentioned in the title.

Sample title analysis
Guilds Associations Societies Councils Broad location 2 9 4 2 Narrow location 6 2 2 10 General Specific craft craft 6 6 2 10 1 11 12 0 No location 4 1 6 0 No craft 0 0 0 0

Table 1




Title analysis - inferences According to Table 1 guilds are mainly a mixture of narrow location, general craft and specific craft, associations broad location and specific craft, societies specific craft and councils general craft and narrow location.

Guilds are the most evenly spread in both craft representation and geographic location. In spite of their role in the medieval guilds of representing specific crafts there are as many guilds in the sample using the generic term craft as there are denoting specific craft disciplines. Associations tend to represent specific crafts in broad geographic locations. It can be surmised that they see the identification and representation of specific crafts as an obligation to the craft not the craft community. Societies are similar to associations; they also identify and represent specific crafts in broad geographic locations. They differ by assuming rather than defining broad locations. Councils are locally situated and do not identify specific crafts. Councils invariably represent a limited location, often a state or a territory, they usually include the name of the location they serve in the title and use the generic term craft rather than identifying a specific craft discipline.

In general, the organisations represent craft in three ways, generically as craft, by a particular craft process, (e.g. weaving) or as material knowledge, (e.g. metalwork).

Although some clear distinctions are made by this matrix considerable overlap across the names is evident. Why the names were selected by the organisations in the first place is a question unanswered by the research: it is assumed to be a historical precedents, deliberate intent, arbitrary choice or combinations thereof. Nevertheless for the research to be valid it is assumed that the founders of these organisations and those who followed explicitly or implicitly matched the title with a vision for the organisation.

Introductory statement analysis Table 2 results from of an ANT analysis of the introductory statements at the websites of twelve guilds, twelve associations, twelve societies and twelve councils. The introductory statements from the twelve websites representing each name are commingled and analysed as one text. Key words are selected referring to



three macro mediators, humans, non-human, and actions which make up an "array of relations" constituting the network. The humans, for example, could be members, craftspeople, public, etc., the non-human, objects, tools, machines, materials, etc. and the actions such things as manifesting interests, making rules, using time, etc.

The analysis is illustrated as a numerical (percentage) relationship between humans, non-humans and their actions. The table quantifies the words that refer to human, non-human and action from the total words taken from the introductory statements. The analysis is asked to consider the "weight" difference between humans, nonhumans and their actions to discern differences in practices and operations between guilds, associations, societies and councils.

Sample introductory statement analysis
Human % Guilds 14.5 Associations 19 Societies 14 Councils 16 Non-human % 19.5 9 11 10 Actions % 66 72 75 74

Table 2 Introductory statement analysis - inferences The actions from each of the names, guilds, associations, societies and councils, are approximately the same in number leaving the relationship between humans and non-humans to mark their differences. As the human and non-human actants manifest a similar number of actions another study is needed to look at the type of actions which separate the names and thus more explicitly identify differences. Ultimately the study only discloses whether the organisation is more interested in craft or the humans who practise it.

According to the analysis guilds tend towards the non-human rather than human and, although not craft specific, they emphasise the technical aspects of craft. Guild humans are marginally separated from the object and the technical knowledge and apparatus used to make it. Associations lean more to the human than non-human: it can be extrapolated from Table 2 that associations promote craft by assembling people who share its interest. Humans with like interests gathering in associations manifest craft by social interaction rather than technical interest. Societies are



equally balanced between human and non-human, a closer relationship between the social and the technical. Council’s interests lean slightly more towards the human than non-human, though not to the same degree as associations. Councils and associations tend to be concerned with creating opportunities by supporting their members as craftspeople rather than promoting craft itself.

Craftsouth - title analysis Table 3 represents the analysis of the title Craftsouth linked with the sample analysis in Table 1. Although the same method of analysis was used for Craftsouth little was revealed from its title. The analysis did nothing more than show that a more comprehensive analysis of Craftsouth is necessary.

Sample and Craftsouth - title analysis
Broad location Guilds Associations Societies Councils Craftsouth 2 9 4 2 Narrow location 6 2 2 10 1 General craft 6 2 1 12 1 Specific craft 6 10 11 0 No location 4 1 6 0 No craft 0 2 0 0

Table 3

Craftsouth, title analysis - inferences Issues of nomenclature Craft organisations are sensitive to titles; nomenclature in general is seen as a means of promoting image and intent. The title changes in the craft organization under study attest to this sensitivity. During its relatively short history Craftsouth has been titled the Crafts Association and the Crafts Council and now Craftsouth. A quote from the magazine SA CRAFTS 1 in 1997 and reinforced in sa crafts 4 in the same year exemplifies this sensitivity. “Our present name does not really reflect our contemporary image and is perceived by many as institutional”. The use of lower case font for the name of the magazine was also noted, perhaps in line with the organisational name change and an attempt to present a new direction and a new profile. Name changes are another way to map changes in the organisation over its history. Craftsouth was originally formed in 1966 as the Crafts Association of South Australia, became the Crafts Council of South Australia in 1978 and Craftsouth in 1997/98.




Craftsouth –Introductory statement analysis An analysis of Craftsouth’s introductory statement uses the same method as the sample in Table 2. Table 4 compares the previous introductory statement analyses of the guilds, associations, societies and councils in Table 2 with an analysis of Craftsouth’s introductory statement.

Sample and Craftsouth's introductory statement analysis
Guilds Associations Societies Councils Craftsouth Human % 14.5 19 14 16 15 Non- human % 19.5 9 11 10 8.5 Actions % 66 72 75 74 76.5

Table 4

Craftsouth, introductory statement analysis - inferences Craftsouth does not correspond with guilds, according to the sample analysis, because its non-human representation is much lower. It is inferred from the sample analysis that Craftsouth is not an association because of its lower human involvement but is similar to societies and councils because it shares with them a similar ratio of human to non-human actors and similar actions. Although Craftsouth changed its name from the Crafts Council to Craftsouth in 1997/8 it still aligns with councils in the research sample. The connection is camouflaged in the name change, but many of the characteristics of a council remain.

Craftsouth's title and introductory statement analyses
Broad Narrow location location Craftsouth 1 General Specific craft craft 1 No location No craft

Human % Craftsouth 15

Nonhuman % 8.5

Actions % 76.5

Table 5




Craftsouth - title and introductory statement analyses In table 5 separated from its relations with other organisations the network which makes Craftsouth according to its title and introductory statement analysis positions it as an organisation which: 1. serves a narrow location, (by inferring a connection between the word south in its title. 2. does not favour a particular craft, material or technique. 3. is more interested in people than objects. 4. is an active organisation.

Post mortem The above analyses represent both the words used and their frequency of use in the titles and introductory statements of the sample organisations and Craftsouth. For instance the words craft, members and community are used frequently and at all sites whilst some words are only used once in a single site. All were counted. This is a product of reading the twelve sites under each name (guilds, associations, etc.) as a single entity rather than analysing individual sites for their relations with craft, geographic locations, humans, non-humans and actions. A somewhat different reading may have emerged if the number of sites similar in the way they shaped craft were counted against the total number of sites in the sample.

This research is premised on the ability of the researcher’s experienced eye to differentiate words which represent human presence, allude to the technical and connect, authorise or express actions. The problem when selecting words in this way is that it is impossible for readers to know their context in the sentence or phrase they were taken from. The general meaning of the word may be misleading; the writers may, in fact, have contextualised nuances of meaning or words or used them merely as grammatical devices. Most words were taken verbatim from the text although some were translated into concepts, for instance where locations were mentioned they were referred to as geography, dates and temporal references as time, numerical figures as numbers and practices as craft, all with the potential to mislead.




The analysis is finally enunciated as numbers, a quantitative research outcome, rather than in words, hybridising the research in away that was not originally intended. But the words are only a basis for analysis and the numbers only underpin the analysis, similar to Bourdieu’s (example 1994, p.216) use of percentage tables in his classic work on taste.

Part 3: The Public texts – an analysis of Craftsouth’s publicly disseminated texts Summary Part 3, an analysis of the Craftsouth public texts, begins with an overview and critique of Part 2 and the argument for a deeper study of the organisation. An outline of the theory/methodology/method used is followed by the findings and inferences implied by them.

Part 3 uses a collection of texts disseminated by Craftsouth for its members and the public as data for analysis. The analysis has two objectives, the first to search for the practices and operations of Craftsouth per se and the second to make available material for comparison with other craft organisations.

The general position of Craftsouth in the field of guilds, associations, societies and councils was depicted by its fit in the analysis of a sample of Western organisation titles and introductory statements. Differences between the organisations were premised on the assumption that the name guild, association, society and council were consciously chosen to match a particular construction of craft representation. Whether this was the case is speculative but it must be assumed that such choices were intentional otherwise the research would be only valuable as an experiment with method. Craftsouth was subjected to the same process to see where it fitted in the sample of craft organisations. Positioning Craftsouth in the field using the same process and equivalent title and introductory statement was inconclusive. The large sample of twelve introductory statements for each name (guild, association, etc.) weakened the single title and introductory statement from the Craftsouth website. Nevertheless an international perspective gained from the study backgrounds the more thorough analysis of Craftsouth to follow.

One of the differences between the "Western" craft organisations sampled in the study and Craftsouth is the choice of titles. Craftsouth does not reveal much about



itself in its title and as one of the aims of the project was to find out about Craftsouth a much deeper analysis is needed if its practices operations are to be delineated. Nevertheless it was necessary to compare Craftsouth with other "Western" craft organisations if its international generality and local specificity was to be found.

The aim of Part 3 is to locate the network that makes Craftsouth by analysing a range of texts it disseminates in its name. This will enable at least one view of its relations with craft, and its engagement with its members and the wider community.

The study, using actor-network theory (ANT) as the analytical tool, asks the humans and non-humans and their actions embodied in the texts as a network to reveal who, what and how the organisation intends to serve craft, the craft community and engage with the general public. The analysis will uncover Craftsouth’s priorities in terms of people, objects and actions.

In the spirit of ANT the selected texts are scanned for networks of humans (individual and collective, inside and outside the organisation), objects (material or discursive, non-human counterparts) and actions (the intentions and results of human and object interaction). Thus the analysis will seek: 1. the who: the humans involved in the organisation. 2. the what: the objects they use. 3. the how: the actions which mobilise the organisation. 4. the network: the resulting assembly of mediators.

Data is gathered from the following conflated texts and scanned for humans, objects and actions taken from words, phrases and sentences in the texts: A media release – September Bulletin 2001.2, is an example of how Craftsouth projects itself topically in the popular media to a wider public. The Craftsouth Constitution identifies the official and legal shape of the organisation. The Website is an unmediated marketing text intended to profile the organisation in cyber-space. The Year 2000 Annual Report is an articulation of the accomplishments and frustrations in a single year of practice and operation.



The Craftsouth Accreditation Document embodies the criteria for practitioner membership. The aims of the research are to: 1. identify the humans, objects and actions that produced the texts 2. identify the constructions of Craftsouth inferred by the texts and 3. identify the practices and operations of Craftsouth which result from these constructions.

The research is significant because: 1. it exposes, at least from one perspective, the practices and operations of a craft organisation. 2. it contributes to a pool of knowledge that will inform craft education, practice and marketing. 3. it enables Craftsouth to be positioned within the context of other craft organisations. 4. it further extends actor-network theory (ANT) as an analytical tool.

The conflated texts are: 1. scanned for individual and collective human presence inside and outside the organisation, 2. scanned for the objects (non-humans), inside and outside the organisation associated with the humans 3. scanned for the actions which assist and offer humans and objects services in the organisation.

The results are collated in tables used in conjunction with narrative text analyses to infer practices and operations of the organisation.

Questions 1. To what extent and in what form are the humans (e.g. members, craftspeople, public) represented in the text? 2. To what extent and in what form are the objects represented in the text (e.g. machines, tools, materials)? 3. To what extent and in what form are the actions of humans and objects represented in the text (e.g. promote, represent, develop, etc.)?



4. What does the network look like? 5. What does Craftsouth look like according to the analysis? Firstly to the humans of Craftsouth presented in a table of words and numbers and followed by inferences based on the analysis which manifested the words and numbers.

Human involvement inside and outside the organisation as individuals and collectives
Combined documents Bulletin Constitution Webpage Annual report Accred. Doc. Individual-inside and outside CS Collective-Inside CS Collective-Outside CS




Table 6

Humans of Craftsouth – inferences: Serving and Being Served The three boxes in Table 6 (individual-inside and outside CS, collective-inside CS and collective-outside CS) were selected because they identified the humans the organisation used to mobilise it as a clearing house for craft rather than a venue for in-house craft. With the exception of the Director the individuals inside and outside the organisation were mainly practitioner members or prospective members. The representation of individual humans is smaller in number than collectives of humans inside the organisation (e.g. practitioners as a group, committees, staff, board etc.) and collectives from outside (retailers, media, schools etc.). Of course larger numbers do not necessarily represent greater influence but it is of interest that the core role of craftspeople (making objects) is overwhelmed by powerful business and administrative collectives of non-makers from outside the organisation. Such outside human collectives are represented by concentrations of government, retailers, media, industry, schools, web audience, clients, subscribers, and curators. The inside collectives are boards and committees reinforcing the notion that the organisation mobilises collectives to serve individuals in business and to become professional.

This expansion and diffusion of the humans associated with the organisation is traced in each of the documents other than the Bulletin which focuses on a specific



project. The human presence in each text increases as it shifts from the individual to the collective. In the Constitution it moves from the member to the organization and then directly to the government, two giant steps from the individual to the state. The web page moves from the individual member to members as a group and collective membership (practitioners and others) to those on the outside who will serve them, retailers, media, industry and schools. In the Annual report the expansion and diffusion takes a somewhat different path, from the individual member to the Director and then to the membership, practitioners, professionals, staff and board. The direction in this instance is not as clearly delineated, that is the inside individual (the Director) moves toward the inside collective (membership, practitioners, professionals, staff and board) and then to the outside collectives, the retailers, media, industry, schools, web audience, clients and subscribers. Finally in the Accreditation document the individual member is shaped by the inside collective (committee and the current membership) and outside collectives potential applicants, clients, curators and media.

Ultimately the humans of Craftsouth must serve, and be served by, the organisation for it to remain relevant and viable. The numbers expand and the focus diffuses as the individual member served by inside collectives are themselves further expanded and diffused by large outside collectives which serve the organisation. Craftsouth enlists these collectives to construct its intentions and broadcast its image to the world. In fact in serving the members, the ostensible role of the organisation, all the humans involved, whether inside and outside are also being served.

Secondly the objects of Craftsouth are presented as a table of words and numbers followed by inferences based on the analysis which manifested the words and numbers.

Objects of Craftsouth – inside objects, outside objects
Combined documents Bulletin Constitution Webpage Annual Report Accred. Doc. Inside objects Outside objects



Table 7



Objects of Craftsouth – inferences: Expanding the Body and Constructing an Identity From Table 7 the objects, the things Craftsouth uses to run the organisation, are predominantly from outside the organisation. Although Craftsouth is ostensibly a craft organisation the objects inside the organisation say little about craft. The Constitution refers to buildings and grounds and at the Craftsouth website its identity is framed as a professional body thus mainly manifesting craft outside the organisation. The outside bodies referred to in the documents which allude to craft and thus identify Craftsouth as a craft organisation are the Professional Craft Industry, Crafts and Design Industry, Craft/Design Sector, SA Craft and Design Infrastructure, Visual arts/Craft Fund, Craft Organisations Australia and the Australian Center for Craft and Design. But not all outside organisations

Craftsouth referred to in the documents are specifically craft related; it appropriates other organizational platforms as well, such as Other Bodies and Organisations, Manufacturing and Retailing Industry and Industry SA. It is speculated that the connection the diminutive Craftsouth makes with these and other outside bodies is intended to do two things: 1) to construct a particular identity on a wider platform and 2) to access and mobilise resources and expertise (enroll allies) beyond the resources of Craftsouth thus enlarging its body and its ability to dispense expertise.

The relation between art and craft is not ignored by the outside objects Craftsouth mobilizes, notwithstanding the relationship can be strained and when craft is often demeaned in its association with art. According to the Annual Report Country Arts SA, Flinders Art Museum, and the West End Arts Forum are organisations with which it is affiliated and which acknowledge the connection between Craftsouth and the wider platform of the visual arts. This maintains the position of the organisation as a player in the general arts field if only in arenas where the art and craft dichotomy is somewhat subdued as in Flinders Art Museum, (with its interests in artefacts as well as art) and Country Arts SA (where art and craft more happily coexist) and where arts business is the primary focus as in the West End Arts Forum. In fact Craftsouth may become the Anchor Tenant of the Incubator Facility in the construction of an arts precinct in the West End of Adelaide thus expanding its body and occupying visible public spaces beyond the anonymity of its small




office space. Reaching out is also facilitated by an affiliation with the Sydney based Design and Object Galleries and The National Exhibitions Programme. Major outside objects of Craftsouth are specific and local, the business organisations of Adelaide. Those named are The Business Center, Council for International Trade and Commerce SA, Business SA and The Small Business Training Centre TAFE. It seems that the narrow field of craft, art and even the wider art/craft interests of such institutions as the University of South Australia, the Jam Factory and the Australia Council are not considered to be sufficiently business specific for the professional to make a go of it in business. This is in spite of the University of South Australia being one of the major sites for under-graduate crafts education, the Jam Factory a venue for professional initiation and marketing and the Australia Council one of the funding bodies which both supports the individual practitioner and organisations such as Craftsouth.

It is useful to look at the demarcation of roles between the business organisations named by Craftsouth as it helps understand how they construct an identity and expand its body by association. The Business Center is a government body, a division of the South Australian Department of Industry and Trade that works “with South Australian business to allow greater competitiveness and profitability which will help grow the economic base of South Australia.” It is an organisation which sets out to assist the state by supporting business ventures. Craftsouth envisages a spin off for craft practitioners by its association with the Business Center. The Council for International Trade and Commerce SA operates in a wider field beyond the local although its activities are also intended to be of benefit locally. Its main claim is to supply “Help for would-be exporters” specifically for “Small to medium sized South Australian companies looking to export to countries that are very different from our own”. In recent years the limited Australian art/craft market has forced the professional practitioner to look overseas for markets. Marketing individual members overseas expands the realm of the organisation Craftsouth as it is virtually a traveling companion of the practitioners and/or objects, exporting the organisation at little cost. Business SA is a division of the Employers Chamber of Commerce. It operates as a service organisation for SA business and offers services, training and resources to all businesses of any type or size. This organisation becomes, in a sense, an arm of Craftsouth by offering similar services to it but on a larger scale and with access to greater resources. Finally Craftsouth has an



association with the Small Business Training Centre TAFE which offers training in how to set up and run a small business. The centre claims a personal approach to training by offering to teach business skills “within the context of your own business or business idea.” One can see the value of this approach by Craftsouth; the Small Business Training Centre TAFE is a training venue for the specific needs of craft practitioners which fits well with the objectives of Craftsouth.

Craftsouth’s association with business organisations helps to promote craft locally; it assists in establishing export markets, teaches small business management to owner/employers and enables access to practical business training. The emphasis on the craftsperson as a small business person is exemplified in the way Craftsouth appropriates the vast territory covered by the business world and the arts industry.

Finally the actions of Craftsouth are presented in a table of words and numbers followed by inferences based on the analysis which manifested the words and numbers.

Actions of Craftsouth – assist and offer
Combined documents Bulletin Constitution Webpage Annual report Accred. doc Assist Offer



Table 8

Actions of Craftsouth – inferences: Assist and offer In Table 8 the actions of Craftsouth are presented in two parts, those which assist the practitioner/member and those which offer advantages to be taken up if they choose. It is intended to suggest that some actions are automatic, carried out when the practitioner becomes a member whereas others are on offer if the member/practitioner chooses to access them. Although the distinction (between assist and offer) is blurred it, nevertheless, is a useful tool for helping to understand Craftsouth’s intentions according to the analysis of the data from the documents. Generally speaking assist refers to the advantages of becoming a member and offer the smorgasbord of things for members to select from when they become members.



Assist refers to the way humans and objects mobilise themselves for the benefit of the organisation, members, prospective members and the public. The constitution for instance mentions promotion, development and management, the website serving and sharing, the annual report such things as expand, share and increase. Offer refers to what the humans and objects of Craftsouth can dispense to members and prospective members and the public. For instance the constitution offers representation, association and cooperation, the annual report, advocacy and collaboration and the accreditation document assessment and demonstration.

According to the analysis, the network is constructed from individual and collective humans inside and outside the organisation, objects from outside the organisation and actions which assist and offer services helping members to become more professional and business-like in their practices.

Craftsouth is a service organisation which supports member craftspeople to operate economically viable businesses. It does this by accrediting membership to those who have already organised themselves in a business like manner, exhibited and catalogued their work, kept records of sales, prices, awards, reviews and articles. Once accredited Craftsouth assists the craftsperson to consolidate and fine tune a business and attain the status of a professional. It does this by offering advice, programmes, services and opportunities from inside the organisation and links with business, education, marketing and other professional bodies from outside Craftsouth.

Post-mortem A catch 22 problem confronts new researchers. In order to learn how to research the new researcher must do research and the research she/he is practising on in a doctoral thesis ends up as a text on a university library shelf. Compounding the dilemma it is carried out early in the life of the thesis when the researcher is least aware of the subtleties of the research process. On reflection the analysis of Craftsouth suffers from this problem, the research would have been conducted differently if it was repeated. For example the analysis can be criticised similarly to that of the title and introductory statement analysis. By isolating words, sentences and phrases used and not accounting for their frequency of use and grammatical context, the research is open to misinterpretation.



Additionally the brevity and superficiality of the analysis limits the knowledge and understanding of Craftsouth to generalisations. Using publicly disseminated texts is intended to construct a picture of the organisation as an outsider would see it and, to the researcher, this was achieved. But how clear is it for the reader who did not go through the lengthy detailed analysis or was privy to the researcher's experiences of the craft world? A picture such as this is limited because public texts carefully constructed in print and mediated by the humans, objects and actions whose interest they serve are ideals, not necessarily what goes on when humans and objects enact them during the day to day running of the organisation. Using texts as if they were humans and objects in action also limits the methodologies ability to understand the practices and operations of Craftsouth. ANT only works if it is given free rein, it has to network all actors involved in mediation if an array of relations which manages the organisation are to be found. Privileging texts as macro actors and assuming they embody all actors in the Craftsouth network goes against the grain of ANT, texts are only micro players among others, texts are paperwork. Paperwork, according to ANT, is free from modalities in ANT terms a black box. The research only attempted to open the black box it did not find out how the contents of the black box were decided upon and why it was sealed. To fully analyse the practices and operations of Craftsouth the research would have to be conducted inside and outside the organisation, with the people, objects and actions as they went about their business. Nevertheless something was found in the research in the analysis of the annual reports, the evolution of the organisation over a set period of time. Using translating interests as a tool, the hand and the object, the fundamental platform of craft organisations, was traced from the visible to the invisible thus uncovering a significant understanding of the development of the organisation.

One of the texts used in the Craftsouth analysis, the membership accreditation document is given particularly significance. By outlining the criteria for accredited membership it further opened up to view specific criteria for Craftsouth accreditation.




Part 4: The accreditation document: Craftsouth’s selection criteria Summary The accreditation document that permits or debars membership to Craftsouth is addressed in Part 4. It also serves as an introduction to the conception of the masterpiece.

Craftsouth’s accreditation document is worthy of independent scrutiny because it exemplifies Craftsouth's attitude to the craft object in one explicit statement: "The committee does not make judgments on your work, rather you will be invited to become an Accredited member of Craftsouth on the basis of your demonstrated professionalism." This statement deflects the discussion of the document away from the discrete material object toward Craftsouth’s interests in professionalism. The object is replaced by a package of organisational concerns and interests which are based on, but do not necessarily include the material object. The interests and concerns include secondary material forms, in a sense, byproducts of objects and things which straddle the interface between objects and records in the form of paper, numbers and words. Craftsouth is also concerned with the embodiment of object making outcomes and the identity of human affiliates who make the craft professional. Thus the accreditation criteria represents the material object by mobilising its outcomes. This is in accord with one of Latour's observations of science experiments; process and materiality are reconfigured as records in paper words and numbers.

The accreditation materials are brought to Craftsouth by candidates and are used to expand its body and shape its identity by selecting representatives to act for it in the public arena. It is, of course a two way street accreditation entitles the craftsperson member access to the advantages only the organisation can offer and enhances his/her status as a crafts and business person.

Thus the accreditation document constitutes a form of masterpiece, if a masterpiece is defined as a marker of standards and as a regulatory device.

In the case of the Craftsouth document it is the things they consider to mark the professional which is the masterpiece, not autonomous material objects. The



following narrative discusses this assertion with a detailed analysis of the Craftsouth membership accreditation document and an account of its relations with medieval craft guilds.

Part 5: The masterpiece: the medieval guilds, Craftsouth and objects of management Summary Emerging from the discussion of the Craftsouth Accreditation document is the notion of the masterpiece. It enables a comparative study of the role of the object as a managerial tool in historical and contemporary contexts. The masterpiece in this context is a fluid tool subject to contextual requirements in particular times and places.

The Masterpiece - Hands and objects as mechanisms of control. The masterpiece is an object whose material form could be compared to that of an iceberg; most of it sits below the surface changing in size and form according to water conditions whilst the visible tip is well, a piece of ice. The masterpiece too is more than the sight of a visible material object and the technical skill of a maker; it manages the arts, education, industry, the market and the wider community by adapting to often unseen local conditions. In everyday usage the word masterpiece has come to mean any work in any form which surmounts the ordinary. In some dictionaries it is defined as a work of great skill and technical expertise especially in the realm of the arts and crafts. One on-line dictionary (Merriam-Websters) whilst acknowledging its everyday usage goes further to refer to its roots in the medieval guilds as a piece of work presented as evidence for accreditation to the rank of master. In this sense it could be seen as a qualification entitling practice at a particular level and for the practitioner to assume a certain professional status. It is in this context that the word is used in this narrative. It is posited that the masterpiece is not only used to induct apprentices into trades and enable students of art and craft to gain credentials at the end of a technical college or university art or craft course but it is also used to access the advantages of belonging to a craft organisation. In fact it is used to induct the apprentice or graduate into another level of perceived proficiency enabling them to gain access to the social and economic advantages therein.




Thus the masterpiece is not as simple as it looks; its visible material qualities and status as a discrete object cannot be disentangled from the social/cultural/economic conditions it encounters below the surface. Its construction at any given time and place is an abstraction, distanced from its material form for use as a mutable mechanism of control. The masterpiece in terms of ANT is a network of actors which includes but does not privilege the material object making it available as a flexible managerial tool easily modified according to context and conditions. Latour (1999) would argue that this is not the corruption of the object but rather the normal outcome of the interaction between objects and humans. It was shown in the analysis of Craftsouth’s annual reports, that this is the case in a contemporary organisation; the object in that instance is formed and reformed over a period of time according to the changing needs and concerns of Craftsouth and the practitioners it represents. This is by no means new. As a study of the British and European Medieval guilds attests, the masterpiece has always been abstracted from the material object for use as a tool to control changing economic, social, religious and cultural platforms. In both the historical and contemporary setting the form of the masterpiece is constantly shifting to suit organisational needs and concerns as organisations strive for power, stability and survival risking and obscuring the material basis on which the organisation was founded.

The masterpiece in action is explored first from readings of the history of its antecedents, the medieval guilds and second by an analysis of Craftsouth's accreditation document. A study of the medieval guilds sets contemporary craft organisations in a historical context enabling similarities and differences to be explored (Black, 1984).

The masterpiece in the medieval guilds In the medieval guilds the masterpiece was a managerial device used to control the flow of apprentices into a trade and the management of the trade's general practices. It was not confined as a discrete material object and was resisted at times because it was inappropriate in trades where skills were fragmented or could not be measured by a masterpiece. In this event there is evidence that it was replaced or supplemented by a written or oral accreditation process (Epstein, 1991). Written or oral accreditation presumably tested the apprentice’s or journeyman’s knowledge of the skills of the trade as well as their ability to read, write and articulate verbally



reconfiguring the masterpiece as a network that included but did not privilege the discrete material object. It is argued that using a written or oral examination, as part or whole of an accreditation process, supports the notion of a network. Not dissimilar to what will be argued in the analysis of Craftsouth texts, the network is the masterpiece. Nevertheless in most trades a mixture of object and examination were mandatory for entrance into the guilds; very few trades managed to escape accreditation. Thus the similarity between the form and use of the masterpiece in both medieval and contemporary settings is posited.

Apprenticeship training in medieval times differed from the contemporary model because of the broad sweep of activities it encompassed. Present day demarcations were not a concern for the guilds: what is categorised separately now as trade, craft, art or profession were taught and managed by the guilds in a single category called the trades. In fact the influence of the trade model was still apparent at the turn of the 20th century (Combes, 1887) and still discernible in the structure of trade, craft and art schools in the 1960s. Apprenticeship as a mix of formal and on the job education and training in some areas of the “arts and professions” was still common then.

In the medieval guilds the transmission of trade, craft, art and professional skills and practices was the overt aim of apprentice education and training and the evaluation of a masterpiece, the ostensible means of assessment.

Although the aim of apprentice training in the guilds was ostensibly the transmission of trade, craft, art and professional skills and practices from one generation to the next, apprenticeship performed other functions, particularly the management of standards. Epstein (1991. p.125) made the connection between training and standards when he wrote: “the apprenticeship system in part existed to pass on skills, and hence the ability to meet certain standards, from one generation to the next”. Standards used to train the apprentice were also used to maintain and ensure the general standards of the trade.

But the masterpiece was more than an instrument to induct apprentices and regulate standards, it was a tool used to assess and manage the tradesperson's personal and economic well being by limiting entry to the guild only to those who could fulfil



certain requirements, requirements which enhanced the profile of the trade. For example apprentices were often not admitted as freemen nor allowed to set up house until they passed an examination in workmanship, reached a certain age and satisfied the economic criteria for entrance (Unwin, 1963): in a sense, a form similar to Craftsouth's all-round professional. The masterpiece network, expanded to include apprentice training, standards and the state of trade, the maturity of the tradespeople and their access to sufficient capital to run a business, is starting to take shape. The masterpiece, “his knowledge of the craft” was often only a part of a complex set of criteria used to initiate the apprentice into the trade (Hodsbawm, 1959, p.155).

But the masterpiece also had macro roles; it was used at times to manage the viability of businesses, the labour force and the industry as a whole. For instance the Hatters of Paris used the masterpiece as a means of controlling the numbers in their industry by raising or lowering standards according to the state of business and the local economic climate: an example of the masterpiece as a device to attend to wider industry matters (Epstein, 1991).

The masterpiece as a tool used for the overall management of the guilds and the working environment of its members was, in a sense, a potent regulatory device. Unwin (1963, p.264) considered “The dominant idea of all this regulation was the preservation of the status of the master craftsman.” The preservation of the status of the master craftsperson went beyond their skills and technical expertise to include social and economic status and rank in the wider community and thus reflect on the image of the trade itself.

Epstein’s (1991, pp. 124-125) slant on regulation takes it further as a tool which accommodates variations in standards of production. He was not referring to “high or universal” standards but rather standards as a flexible tool of trade management. He claims that standards were not prescribed clearly in guild statutes: “Agreements on standards of production are not a usual feature of guild statutes” and suggested that standards were, in fact, another tool which “provided masters with the incentive to reduce costs by improving efficiency and maintaining quality”. That is, standards were set and maintained for efficiency and the control of production costs and to ensure profit rather than the pursuit of “high” standards. Standards were not



absolute but were just another variable used to manage the market. Contextualising the masterpiece was one way of ensuring industry flexibility.

The masterpiece also links standards and the management of the trade with the control of numbers permitted to practice at any given time. Competition in the market place depended on the number of guilds people working in the trade and numbers influence prices and profit margins. By tuning standards to the technical difficulty and the cost necessary to produce a masterpiece, numbers and thus competition in the marketplace could be managed. Although there was conflict concerning the ethics of using the masterpiece in this way (or at all), some refusing to do so on the grounds that “it was an unlawful restraint on their entry into the trade” (Unwin, 1963, p. 265), it was an agreed way of tending to the trade. Regulation not only controlled practitioner numbers competing for business but it also ensured sufficient number of employees to serve the masters. In fact its use as a regulatory device in this way was widespread as Unwin (1963, p.266) observed:

There can be little doubt that the masterpiece was used as a barrier against the flood of journeymen whom the masters desired to keep in the position of wage earners. Using the masterpiece as a regulatory device allowed the guilds to exclude and include thus enabling the market to be stimulated or depressed according to the rate of guild membership. Admitting or rejecting members according to regulatory criteria was a way of building and enhancing the guild’s power as the arbiter of standards and the protector of the market. Nevertheless not everyone wanted to be a member and those who saw it as a restriction on trade defied the regulations and practised covertly.

Standards of workmanship are difficult to identify when the masterpiece is constantly reformed in accord with the contextual function it is asked to perform. It becomes a tool in the game organisations play in maintaining their position and status: its form as a material entity is only of interest when its material qualities are the only criteria for accreditation or assessment. At other times the significance of the material object is embodied in other forms such as paper work or as oral or written texts or numbers released to represent it (Latour, 1999). This is as much the case now as in medieval times.



The masterpiece was, and is a mechanism of control which could exclude or include and thus manage the rate of practitioners entering the field, stimulate or depress the market, promote guild membership as desirable and act as both arbiter of standards and protector of the market.

The role of the object, how it is used and the way it constructs the maker and the user, surmounts its intrinsic material presence in the medieval guilds.

The masterpiece in Craftsouth It is argued the delineation of the masterpiece has remained consistent over time: it remains a construction made by a network shaped by the requirements of the organisation and the craftsperson. The craft object isolated as a material entity is ineffective to gain access to organisational advantages; as merely a signifier of skill and technical expertise it cannot go it alone.

Admittance to the medieval guild and the accreditation of entry to a contemporary craft organisation subjugates the discrete object for the survival of the organisation, industry and practitioner.

The craft organisation under study, Craftsouth, was originally established to represent those who wished to make and use hand made objects in spite of, or because of, their growing irrelevancy in economic, industrial and domestic realms. Over time the organisation evolved from a grass roots “craft club” to one which supports the professional maker, a hybrid of “craft artist” and small businessperson. The hurdle of accreditation needs to be leaped to become a member of the organisation. The criteria for membership demands the fulfilment of requirements laid out in the organisation’s accreditation document, the document constitutes a network which constructs a masterpiece.

The document can be broken down into three components: the advantages of accreditation, the criteria for accreditation and the responsibilities of being an accredited member. Although accessing the advantages and fulfilling the responsibilities are dependent on meeting the criteria of membership they are also factors in the construction of the masterpiece. Thus accessing the advantages and fulfilling the responsibilities influence the network which makes the masterpiece.



Informing the three components outlined in the document is the before mentioned definitive statement that simultaneously includes and sidelines the discrete the craft object (the work):

The committee does not make judgments on your work, rather you will be invited to become an Accredited member of the organisation on the basis of your demonstrated professionalism.

It includes the work because the premise on which accreditation is based, professionalism, presupposes that there is a material basis (the work) to be professional about but it also sidelines it by dismissing it as the primary basis for accreditation in favour of demonstrated professionalism. What then will be the criteria for accreditation if judgments of the work are excluded in favour of professionalism; what is the network which constructs the masterpiece enabling access to the organisation as an accredited member?

Such a statement directs the search for the masterpiece in the accreditation document in a particular way. If the craft object is removed as the primary assessment tool what does the network look like that shapes the masterpiece in terms of professionalism? If acceptance as a accredited member is conditioned upon how craft objects are presented and marketed rather than what they are or how they may be valued in the art/craft community as objects of function, aesthetics or meaning where in the document are the actants which make the professional and what do they look like?

Thus the masterpiece as a network starts with an extant craft object valueless without the accouterments of "professionalism". If the craft object is not a self contained masterpiece what else in the accreditation document needs to be added to make the masterpiece which makes the professional?

The fragmented network Assuming the material craft object as a starting point four categories of actors were located and added to it for their potential to construct the masterpiece of Craftsouth.




They are: 1. other objects generated by the material craft object 2. consequences of disseminating craft objects 3. embodied qualities as outcomes of making and disseminating craft objects 4. human affiliates.

Other objects generated by the material craft object Although it is argued that the discrete material craft object is not a masterpiece per se other material objects predicated on its existence are generated and added to the network to make the masterpiece. They are material objects because their materiality conveys meaning and aesthetics, independent of their content. An

analysis of the accreditation document identified the following as material network actors generated by the discrete material craft object: portfolio, portfolio material, A4 spiral bound binder, visual material, photographs, photocopies and business cards. Made of paper, plastic and metal they are indispensable to the network because they convey aspects of the material craft object it cannot convey alone.

Consequences of disseminating material craft objects When craft objects are disseminated they act on behalf of their makers and have the potential to feed back reactions from the locations they visit or inhabit. These reactions are accounts conditioned by the location and articulated by others. Although they are disseminated in material form their significance to the craftsperson is no longer material: it is the messages they convey which add further to the craftsperson's reputation. The reactions they elicit can be in the form of direct conversation, critiques, sales, money, status, etc. Their role is a maker of texts essential to a masterpiece network. As texts, they can be shuffled and assembled according to the needs and concerns at the sites of interpretation. In the case of Craftsouth's accreditation requirements the texts are an application document and curriculum vitae, a 200 words essay, exhibition catalogues, price lists, titles, dates, mediums, dimensions, awards, names, reviews, and articles and, in this case, the site of interpretation, Craftsouth, and its aspirations, the professional craftsperson. They are significant because they meet the desire of Craftsouth for accreditation criteria in the form of numbers and words that represent reactions to the craft object beyond its material form.



The textual accounts help make the maker in the long term as they often less vulnerable, permanent and not conditioned by the time, place or the status of the object at the time of manufacture.

Embodied qualities as outcomes of making and disseminating craft objects In the quest for professionalism as a means to accreditation, Craftsouth asks as a condition of membership the embodiment of certain qualities and states as an outcome of making objects. Although these qualities and states are not in material form they nevertheless are as important to the network which constructs the masterpiece as their material counterparts. They are a means of internalising, storing and mobilising in the body of the craftsperson, qualities which are independent of the particularities of object making and distribution. Included in this category and cited in the document are such things as creativity or vision, professionalism and personal development.

Human affiliates The humans who are responsible for the construction of the masterpiece are also enmeshed in the network as actors affiliated with the objects, texts and embodied states. The decision of Craftsouth to stress professionalism, as the main criterion for accreditation means that the humans connected with the organisation (outside and inside) must either endorse or accept the validity of this criterion. Either way they are enrolled as actors in the network. The accreditation document names the human affiliates as the committee, current members, clients, curators and specialist media representatives.

The assembled network Fragmenting the analysis into objects, texts, embodied states and human affiliates assists in understanding the content of the accreditation document but a network is made up of a circulating array of relations rather than an assortment of fragments. The network which constructs the masterpiece in Craftsouth can only become a circulating array of relations when divisions between classifications of actors in the network are broken down. Thus the masterpiece as constructed in the accreditation document consists of an indivisible network of other objects generated by the material craft object, consequences of disseminating material craft objects,




embodied qualities as outcomes of making and disseminating craft objects and human affiliates, from inside and outside the organisation.

The masterpiece network is constructed both inside and outside the organisation because it consists of what candidates for accreditation bring to the network and what those inside the organisation do with it. The successful candidate when entitled to membership helps to form the organisations objectives. These objectives are then circulated in the public arena by the members already recruited on the basis of their compatibility with the masterpiece approved by the organisation. The masterpiece is the network that makes a professional; the professional the entity submitted for accreditation and once accredited the representative of the organisation in the community.

But the role of craft organisations goes beyond projecting itself through its members, like the medieval guild the function of the masterpiece could be examined by the way it is used as a device to manage conditions outside the organisation’s direct control. For instance the training and education of apprentices and graduates in teaching institutions as well as the nature of professional practice could be influenced by what craft organisations regard as ideal qualities for professional practitioners. It is possible, although unusual, to become a professional craftsperson without institutionalised training or education. In a sense judgements concerning the quality of the candidates for accreditation in a craft organisation are also remote judgements of the quality of the trade or undergraduate training they receive outside the organisation.

All organisations constructed around objects, whether found and placed in museums or made and represented by craft organisations, seek the masterpiece, the object that most emphatically defines their image. But the masterpiece is never selfcontained; it always brings with it a mix of material, social, cultural and economic factors.

By considering the masterpiece as a device for inclusion in or exclusion from a craft organisation it is defined as a construction beyond the limits of a selfcontained material object to include all the human and non-human interventions that impacted on its production, in fact a network.



In order to further understand the masterpiece in a contemporary setting a glance back to medieval craft guilds in search of parallels and deviations inform current practices from positions on either end of a historical continuum.

There were a number of parallels between medieval and contemporary times in the way the masterpiece was used as a regulatory device including the lack of specificity in the regulations concerning the form of the masterpiece, prescribing the difficulty and cost of making the masterpiece according to economic and cultural circumstances, controlling the number of practitioners in the field by manipulating the parameters of the masterpiece and as a method of controlling workplace practices. The masterpiece was also a means used by organisations to strengthen and broaden their influence by promoting the advantages of organisational membership in such a way that non-membership did not seem like an option.

The evolving thesis: reflections so far Summary The evolving thesis looks at how the research in a craft organisation, Craftsouth, could influence the research in the other sites of representation.

The Craftsouth research explored the hand and object as they became increasingly infused with other organisational agendas. The position of the hand and object in the Annual reports was the first and most significant finding. The hand and the object gradually shifted from centre to back stage over the twenty year period of analysis. Nomenclature was adapted from the people centred word association to council where people, technologies and relations share equal billing to the corporate title and subtitle, Craftsouth centre for craft and design where people presence was further distanced from the organisation’s ancestry. The texts disseminated by Craftsouth provided evidence of the disappearing hand and object as the interests of Craftsouth were reformed as professionalism, marketing, membership, profile and outreach, tasks set for the hand and the object but masking their overt presence. Hints of the hidden hand and fluid object as an entity to explore and a tool to use emerged from these analyses. A second outcome of the organisation research was the notion of the masterpiece. It came to notice during the analysis of the accreditation document and prompted a comparative study between Craftsouth and



its antecedents, the medieval guilds. In both Craftsouth and the guilds, hands and objects were used as tools for the construction of discursive or material objects to be reconfigured to match the desires of Craftsouth and the guilds. The masterpiece directing hands and objects as management tools, emerged as an influence on the research to follow.

It can be seen why changes in thinking about the form and content of a project such as this was inevitable, as the research and the naïve researcher moved on new insights into the problem not envisaged in the original proposal were revealed. The original proposal, premised on the assumption that the maker's world was changing primarily because of new technologies and that new technologies made some practices redundant and new opportunities possible. Whilst the changing technological landscape has played, and continues to play, an important role in the field it became obvious that it was too simplistic to assume that it is entirely the cause. The annual reports were not about technological change yet the modus operandi of the organisation was gradually modified from representing the maker and the object to the objective of professionalism. The hidden hand and the fluid object and the masterpiece, offered another exploratory tool helping to redirect the research from a study of technological change to a search for a network of actors in sites of craft representation.

The choice of sites was confirmed by this revelation. The original search in a number of the common sites of craft representation, reduced to three carefully chosen sites was validated by the Craftsouth analysis. The hidden hand and the fluid object and the masterpiece were equally applicable to the other sites of representation, the academic workshop and the exhibition.

With this knowledge in hand the following research projects can be approached with wider vision and new perspectives




Project 2: The academic jewellery workshop Summary Project 2 is an introduction to the workshop, its people and the course they are jointly conducting. The role of craft in an academic workshop is explored using official texts, questionnaires, student and institutional paper work and researcher observation. It also considers the workshop as a research site and the usefulness of ANT as a theoretical/methodological tool in this setting.

Introduction The thesis is significantly provoked and sustained by the researcher’s experiences in formal or improvised workshops and is ostensibly concerned with the relations between hands and objects in these settings. Returning to the workshop is necessary if craft is to be observed in this primary form, although a workshop set in a university art school may differ in some respects from its industrial counterpart. Thus the researcher’s experiences and immutable aspects of workshop life are brought to bear on observations of, and research in, a university jewellery workshop.

Broadly the problem relates to the dearth of research and lack of knowledge about the practices and operations of teaching and learning workshops in universities. The problem in this project is explored by considering the relations between workshop practices and operations, the aspirations and actions of students and staff in them and the demands made by the ruling institution.

The academic craft workshop has dual roles: it is expected to simultaneously fulfil craft’s traditional and contemporary operations and practices and generate and disseminate university knowledge. Thus the question: how do the relations between the unavoidable nature of workshop practices and operations, the aspirations and actions of students and staff and the demands made by the institution fulfil craft’s traditional and contemporary practices and operations and generate and disseminate knowledge in a jewellery-teaching workshop sited in a university? Can traditional and contemporary craft values, “industrial” practice and the demands of academic study all be upheld in a university workshop? What constitutes craft in this site?




The general argument involves the workshop as another site where the relations between workshop practices and operations, the aspirations and actions of students and staff and the demands made by the institution constitute craft and generate and disseminate university knowledge. The specific argument is that university workshops reform craft in order to simultaneously uphold its traditional and contemporary aspirations and satisfy the demands made by the academic institution.

In general the problem, question and argument are explored by considering the relations between the workshop, students and staff and university interests in the context of a specific workshop jewellery course. Reminding the research of the significance of hands and objects of the problems, questions and argument at this point and in this context brings into focus the notion of their indispensability to both craft and the workshop.

In a workshop where objects are overtly made by hand, it would seem their significance and place is beyond question. The hand is ever present, fully visible in the making process, and the object the centre of attention, conspicuously positioned for contemplation and assessment. But this assumes the academic workshop to be an autonomous site unfettered by any agenda but its own. This may not be the case; hands and objects may be struggling for autonomy and the right to produce and disseminate their unique form of knowledge in a university workshop. Answerable to others outside the workshop, they may be asked to generate and disseminate forms of knowledge to which they are unaccustomed. Thus the question of significance and dispensability is raised in this context. The significance of hands and objects in this setting can only be established if their indispensability is acknowledged by all university interests. If the particular talents of the hand and object are submerged when they are asked to manage agendas other than their own from outside the workshop and their fundamental significance questioned in an academic setting how do they assert themselves in this setting?

The hand and object, possibly vulnerable to university agendas from outside the workshop, may also be vulnerable from agendas outside the university; for instance students, staff and others may bring to the university concepts of jewellery making




and attitudes to university study not necessarily consistent with the fundamental significance of either.

Naming the research site an academic workshop requires explanation; the placement of an industrial workshop in the grounds of a university does not necessarily make the workshop “academic”. There are workshops on campus not directly related to the intellectual life of a university. University workshops are categorised in two ways 1) those which are necessary for students to complete a course of study and 2) those which are part of the infrastructure necessary to operate a university. The jewellery workshop belongs to the former category and, for instance, maintenance workshops belong to the latter. If students are enrolled in a jewellery course of study, a workshop is essential and the most convenient location for it is in the university grounds. It is on this premise (that in order to participate in a programme the students require a workshop) that it is named an academic workshop. All academic workshops are not necessarily the same as jewellery workshops. They are merely one of many sites in a university not using the traditional lecture/tutorial instructional model but where knowledge is nevertheless generated and disseminated. Students are taught and learn in engineering workshops, science laboratories, nursing skills laboratories, on the sports field and in kitchens. The jewellery workshop differs from these in the nature of its operations and practices, not the educational outcomes it pursues. Research in a jewellery workshop is intended to see if university interests modify its “industrial” nature and thus enable comparisons to be made between its operations and practices and those in other sites outside, within and across universities.

Workshops as study sites demand compromise by both the university and jewellery making if both are to benefit from their shared residency. Jewellery workshops not only expect university spaces to be utilised in a certain way because of the demands of machinery, tools and specialised work arrangements but they also require problematic staff student ratios, considerable capital outlay and the fulfilment of stringent occupational health and safety requirements. Teaching by demonstration, mentorship and supervised practice further impinge on student staff ratios and cost per student. Additionally workshops on campus evolved from industrial buildings



not characteristic of university architecture thus creating problems of integration and adaptation. Steve Fuller (1998, p.2) in a paper on the “science wars” noted that even the science laboratory now the norm in universities was once considered to be an annoying intruder on university grounds:

On the one hand, humanists have usually condescended to the natural sciences in the form of “benign neglect” because they could not see the larger cultural significance of a form of knowledge so intimately tied to technology, manual labour, and the craft tradition more generally. Difficult as it may be to believe now, as recently as a hundred years ago Western Humanists objected to the placement of laboratories on university grounds because of the unseemly sights, sounds, and smells emanating from them. Academic workshops also differ from their industrial counterparts in terms of the production of socio/cultural capital. When an industrial workshop is integrated in, and adapted to, an academic setting its socio/cultural status is raised above its industrial counterpart. Craft skills learnt in a university endow graduates with a special “licence” to set up a practice and/or teach, a licence that will attract socio/cultural advantages over other forms of craft education and training. Of course anybody is free learn craft skills in any way they please and set up a practice when and where they choose but a university imprimatur opens up special opportunities not available by other routes. Although not the central focus of the thesis acknowledging the advantages of educational, social and cultural capital offered by university craft study influences the approach to the research. In the context of socio/cultural capital academic workshop practices and operations and the researcher’s experiences in workshops outside academia offer links and dichotomies between what the university strives for and workshop life itself.

The jewellery course under study may or may not be typical of courses offered in a jewellery department but it is, nevertheless, a pertinent research subject because it is offered in a university programme, is popular with both jewellery students and as an across campus elective and it uses the acquisition of hand skills and the production of objects to fulfil its requirements. The course requires the mastering of a limited range of quite difficult skills such as die making, die cutting and knowledge of the principles of the shear, an understanding of why “harder” metals cut “softer” metals, and the use of these skills and principles in the production of




replicas. The course enabled the observation of how the acquisition of skills and technical knowledge necessary to fulfil course requirements could shape an initial idea and how an idea could be turned into body adornment. It is argued that the limitations imposed by shaky student skills, the engineering principle underpinning the die (the shear) and its use in this context (to cut replicas) is significant to the final form of an object.

It is also argued that although all courses in the jewellery programme may differ in detail they are related in a fundamental way, they are all servants to the demands of the workshop, the acquisition of specific skills and technical knowledge and the market. The course is ideal to explore this assertion: it highlights the significance of hand skills, introduces one of the widely used commercial jewellery manufacture methods and it overtly prepares for the reality of the marketplace. It is further argued that all jewellery courses encompass these aims although attention from them is sometimes diverted by the demands of visual art and wider university interests. The course represents the overall jewellery programme well, its basic nature making it an ideal research subject. Its stripped down form opens to view the basis of all jewellery courses, a network of techno/human relations in a workshop indispensable to the production of objects.

The course, because of its generalisability across the jewellery programme and its focus on the skills of the hand as a basis for converting ideas into objects is an ideal research subject. It enables the exploration of the indispensability and durability of craft when ideas are made into objects and it is valuable as a model for how hand skills and engineering principles can be extrapolated to other jewellery courses independent of local and esoteric details. The course is like a skeleton of a dinosaur in a museum: there is much more to the animal than a skeleton but at least this stripped down version enables one to imagine a range of feasible surfaces and possible movements. Without the skeleton there is no dinosaur; without the basic workshop practices and operations and engineering principles such as those used in this course, there is no jewellery. Although the relations between the workshop, skills and principles and outcomes is transparent in this course (the skeleton is revealed) it is argued that in other courses where relations between workshop and object, although not as transparent are equally as important to outcomes.




The course is titled by the institution as Jewellery Production Techniques, each word in the title a representation of course content, jewellery alluding to scale and relations with the body, production with connotations of materiality and replication and techniques the imparting of skills and engineering principles. As argued in the Craftsouth research, titles are important. They are the first contact and significantly shape and limit the details of the course during its life span over a university semester. Although the jewellery department is answerable to the demands set out in the hierarchical structure in which it functions (the university and the art school) it, nevertheless, is its own master when course details are constructed around such a title, and applied in the workshop. Only jewellers familiar with jewellery production techniques and jewellery workshops can write a course such as this. The course as outlined in the handout distributed to students is as follows:

The course statement Practising Jewellery Makers need innovative and ‘low-tec’ techniques that allow them to produce ‘limited edition’ or ‘batch production’ runs of their work. By making multiples of their designs, artists are able to reach a wider audience and capitalise on the time spent developing an idea or design. A production run or ‘bread and butter’ range can be sold through a retail outlet and often supports the development of an artist’s experimental or ‘avante-garde’ exhibition work. Aims/Learning objectives or outcomes The aim of this course is to introduce you to fundamental jewellery production concepts and technology with a view to providing you with a clearer understanding of the opportunities that limited-production projects create for the professional practitioner. Students who successfully complete the course will: • • Demonstrate safe work practice and an understanding of the common material and process hazards in the workshop. Have a clear understanding of the nature of limited-production runs as method of extending contemporary jewellery making practice. Have developed a satisfactory level of competence in a range of jewellery production techniques. Respond creatively to projects using limited edition and batch production techniques. Demonstrate an awareness of local and national contemporary craft practice with a focus on limited-production methods

• • •




The course is divided into three parts, hydraulic die forming, pancake die making and batch production. Hydraulic die forming, although not a research subject, included general workshop knowledge such as workshop safety, annealing and work hardening, aluminium anodising, cold joining techniques and the use of tools such as disc cutters and templates. General workshop knowledge such as this is integrated in the research subjects, the pancake die and batch production. The pancake die the tool for batch production, is an ideal research subject because: 1. it requires a high level of skill with a tool, the piercing saw 2. it requires a moderate level of skill in the use of a machine, the fly press 3. skills, tools and machines cannot be bypassed if the requirements of the course are to be fulfilled

To expand on the efficacy of the pancake die as a subject for research, it is necessary to explain the die in terms of its principle and action by reducing it to a simple geometric diagram similar to the teacher’s white board explanation drawing. The diagram in Figure 2 illustrates the central feature of the die, the principle of the shear. Although it is neither probable nor necessary for the reader to understand the principles and use of the pancake die, from this brief outline the intention is to illustrate how unforgiving the shear principle is by the diagram and what students have to master by hand before they make objects to fulfil course requirements.

The principle of the shear as illustrated in Figure 2 and in the teacher’s whiteboard diagram could be described as "paper work" intended to overcome the difficulty of describing its principles and action in words. Its essential precision is dependent on students understanding the die principle from a diagram and their skill to cut it with a particular tool, the piercing saw.

Figure 2




Further as Figure 3 shows its efficacy as a die is dependent on a mathematical relationship between the thickness of the metal used to make it (die thickness), the width of the saw cut (the saw blade size) and the thickness of the metal to be cut (blank thickness). The relationship between these three variables will determine the critical angle of the saw cut necessary to make a working die. Thus the acquisition of technical knowledge is crucial for the ultimate efficacy of the die. Figure 3 illustrates a diagrammatic version of the technical knowledge which must be understood by students if they are to fulfil the requirements of the course.

Saw Blade Size 5/0 17.5 4/0 18 3/0 20 2/0 22

Die thickness

Blank thickness

.749 mm

.64 mm

Angle in degrees

Figure 3

The above are examples of a geometrical and mathematical model (in the form of paper work) underlying the function of the die. A non-functioning die disrupts the network of human and non-human actions and the production of a techno/aesthetic object for contemplation and assessment and the paper work it needs to generate.

The principles and use of the pancake die are theorised in ANT terms based on an un-edited entry in the researcher’s journal.

The whiteboard drawing illustrating the geometry of the shear principle is a crucial point of departure as the whole project hinges on the determination of this simple geometrical principle. It not only determines how multiple identical blanks can be cut but also how its limitations, to a significant extent, shape both their use and visual outcomes (that is, an understanding of the geometry is necessary for the production of techno/aesthetic objects). The geometry not only determines outcomes but it also determines process, tool selection, tool size, tool production, bench layout, seating position and skill development but also the nature of the social world of the workshop, affiliations, disputes, clique formations and allegiances between people and ideologies. Here we have a classic example of “laboratory” work significantly shaping an idea into an outcome. This idea is a means of exploring the “language of the workbench” and comparing it in industrial and academic workshops.




The teacher introduced the projects by using the geometrical and mathematical principles in Figure 2 and 3. He discussed the advantages and disadvantages of this type of die with the class in terms of “design” and quantity, the two most important elements of the course. Making the die began as “paper work” on the whiteboard and continued by demonstrating how its principles and knowledge are transferred from paper work to a working metal die: from theory to practice. Although the objects begin to take shape when the paper work is replaced by metal work the geometry and mathematics of the die remain as indispensable elements to the end. The batch production project, using the die to make replicas on a hand press, ushered in another phase of its life, it tested the die making skills of the students and mobilised a machine for a specific purpose.

This project is an example of how workshop craft is built in when objects of meaning and aesthetics are made. The viewer/user of the finished objects does not need to know the die principles or knowledge but it is argued that their existence will remain in the appearance of each object. Craft as a source of contemplation and assessment, remains even when the object gains autonomy and leaves the workshop.

The project is completed by ensuring that the die took into account body attachments such as pins and hooks, marketing and selling and new technologies, in a sense they too became imbued with the principles and knowledge of the pancake die.

The course was taken on campus and organised over a ten week period, in oneweek segments of four and a half hours in one large workshop providing a stable and predictable setting for the research to take place.

There were approximately twenty-two students at the beginning of the course, a mixture of jewellery majors, jewellery minors and across campus students each with their own motive for doing the course but all dependent on the workshop for its fulfilment.

The workshop furniture consisted of individual benches arranged in short opposing rows enabling shared tool use, easy access and social interaction. Some tools and



machines were used at the bench, while with others it was necessary to move around the workshop and cooperate with fellow students. For example the drilling machine shared at the benches required cooperation at the bench and the fly press and metal rollers required movement in the workshop encouraging social contact and co-operation away from the benches. The machines required individual preparation at the bench, movement around the workshop and team work for their efficient operation. Along with a circular table where students occasionally wrote, drew and talked and a white board where they collected for lectures the fly press and power roller were the main social contact points in the workshop.

A separate specialised workshop used for hot, dirty and toxic processes was also a cooperative meeting point for students. A store where tools and other equipment is held, distributed and serviced by a studio assistant was another student gathering point.

To make jewellery students had to move and interact through and around these rooms directed by the placement of benches, machines and processes and their individual requirements at any given time.

Actor-network theory (ANT) is employed to explore the operations and practices of this jewellery workshop in a university. ANT is useful because it assembles the humans and non-humans as one as they are directed by this course of study in a jewellery workshop. ANT probes the question: what is the object craft in this context, or as Law (2000, pp.1-2) puts it, what is the “effect of an array of relations, the effect, in short, of a network” which makes craft in a jewellery workshop?

By employing ANT to seek out a network which enrolls humans and non-humans for a course of study in a workshop, an “array of relations” or a network is constructed which bring together a contextual notion of craft.

How can ANT help understand craft in an academic workshop when it is usually understood by its "published" objects rather than the “array of relations” which made them? To background this question it is helpful to return to the research site which instigated and the methodology and featured in Latour and Woolgar's "Laboratory Life".



The methodology used in the academic workshop project is influenced by Latour and Woolgar’s (1986) ethnographic research in the endocrinology laboratory at the Salk Institute. This was one of Latour’s first major incursions into the inner sanctum of scientists in an effort to understand science in the laboratory and how scientific “facts” were made. Rather than relying on the autonomous paper work which claimed and marketed the research Latour and Woolgar sought in their study the details of laboratory life which led to immutable “facts” – “facts” according to Latour (1999, pp. 22-23) are entities stripped of the modalities which made them. But “facts” are only autonomous entities while the "array of relations" which made them remain intact and unquestioned and while the black box which contains them remains unopened or does not fall apart. It is argued that the object craft made in a workshop suffers the same fate: it too only holds together while the relations which made it remain intact. Alter the relations and reform the object.

Research in a university jewellery workshop differs in a number of ways from Latour and Woolgar’s residency in the Salk Institute. Because: 1. it takes place in a university jewellery workshop, where socio/technical relations between actants differ from those in a laboratory

2. jewellery students and teachers are involved in the design, making and assessment of the objects produced in the workshop whereas scientists employ a team of specialists to connect a hypothesis with an object and publish for assessment (Smith, 1997, p. 19)

3. the researcher is familiar with craft teaching workshops having been, in the past, a jeweller and teacher whereas Latour claimed to be unfamiliar with laboratory life

4. a laboratory and a jewellery teaching workshop differ in their social, cultural and technical construction

What then remains as common ground that would justify appropriating laboratory experience in this way?




1. It is not unfamiliar territory. The researcher in the past had helped make science for the scientists in a laboratory as a technician in a university physics laboratory in a pre computer era similar to that of Latour and Woolgar's “Laboratory Life”.

2. As a jeweller and jewellery workshop teacher, the researcher recognises the correlation between how a laboratory and workshop environment similarly transforms a yet untested idea into a testable object.

3. Many other researchers have since used ANT in environments outside the laboratory, indeed, outside science.

4. The laboratory “fact” and the object craft share the same fate, that is they are both valuable in the world until they are “falsified”

(Popper, 1999) and they are both destined to end up in the form of numbers and words on paper or disk. That is, they can both end up merely as a record of an object vulnerable to new” facts” and new objects.

5. There are enough similarities between the laboratory and the jewellery workshop to validate ANT as

theory/methodology/method to claim the object craft as a research subject.

6. Using ANT to explore a university jewellery workshop tests a method which is of potential use in similar sites inside and outside universities. It raises the prospect of interdisciplinary study as well as other studies in other jewellery courses within and outside academia.

The overall aim of the project is to understand craft in an academic workshop by: 1. observing it in action by following a formal course of study from start to finish




2. analysing institutional texts and student responses to questionnaires and understanding how students rewrite institutional texts in the workshop 3. analysing institutional assessment texts and the assessment process and understanding how student objects are rewritten as institutional assessment paper work.

The questions raised prior to the research are: 1. To what extent and in what form are humans constructed and represented in an academic workshop? 2. To what extent and in what form is technology constructed and represented in an academic workshop 3. To what extent and in what form are the relations between humans and non-humans represented in an academic workshop? 4. What is formed by these representations? 5. How does the academic workshop look according to the ANT analysis? 6. How does the network operate? 7. What does the network produce?

The project is significant because it asserts the primacy of craft as the producer and disseminator of knowledge in an academic workshop by: 1. fore-grounding craft when student hands make objects 2. considering the importance of techno/social relations in the workshop 3. identifying other obligations imposed on the workshop as it mobilises craft skills 4. highlighting the management and production of paper work 5. asserting the capacity of craft to produce intellectual and aesthetic meaning

Data produced in and by the workshop is collected from all facets of workshop life such as observations, institutional texts, questionnaires and student generated texts as the course is followed from beginning to end.




The analyses are comprised of: 1. Incoming institutional paper work An analysis of the official paper work brought to the course – paper work imposing directions on the course before the teacher begins to teach in the workshop. The paper work consists of:

University Wide Guidelines - Graduate Qualities Registry - Admissions Division of Education, Arts and Social Science – Graduate Qualities Program Information - Bachelor of Visual Arts Course Information Student Booklet – Introduction to the jewellery workshop Course - VSAR 66 (12860) Jewellery Production Techniques

2. Teacher’s input A survey of the teacher’s formal lectures and demonstrations consisting of white board lectures, displays and bench demonstration. Included are:

An introduction to the pancake die concept Die cutting bench demonstration Discussion of the relations between craft, design and idea/concept Display and discussion of sample objects Outside the workshop – marketing and selling Outside the workshop– CAD/CAM

3. Student’s paper work An analysis of student responses to:

Questionnaires Student's journals/sketch books Mandatory student essays

4. Researcher’s experience A workshop journal which recorded and included:




A transcription of workshop experience The past experience of workshop teaching The past experience of laboratory work

5. Institutional assessment data In the form of paperwork, talk and process:

Assessment criteria Transcription of each student speaking to the group about their work Transcription of individual teacher/student mark negotiation of course work Teacher’s comments Teacher’s mark sheets

6. Overall network The above five analyses fragment the passage from idea to object. They will finally be considered as material for an integrated network using the data from the above five analyses.

Data collection took place one day per week for 10 weeks plus informal contact at other times. An ongoing relationship with the jewellery programme, its staff and some students was established during the residency.

During the residency: 1. the general atmosphere of the workshop was observed and noted in terms of the researcher's own experience 2. formal lectures and paperwork delivered by the teacher were noted and transcribed 3. talk and actions of students doing jewellery as a major option were noted and transcribed 4. four students were asked to respond to a 25 question questionnaire 5. student journals were accessed, collected and photocopied 6. student essays were collected and analysed 7. assessment events were observed, noted and transcribed 8. texts related to assessment were collected




9. texts in general considered to impact on the course were collected and noted.

Workshop life was followed over the duration of the course. All involved started and finished together and all share an interest in seeing a technical concept (the pancake die and batch production techniques) transformed into objects of aesthetic interest (ten related jewellery objects). All interests are at risk including the teacher’s job, the student's education and the researcher’s thesis. Although they all conform to the “rules” of the course what they expect from it may differ.

Data collection began in week seven of the course, after the hydraulic die-forming project had been completed and when the pancake die and the batch production project was about to begin. The course was entered at this point because it enabled the process that used the difficult-to-make pancake die for the third project, the batch production, to be followed from start to finish. Five students were enrolled for close observation on the grounds that they were jewellery majors and they intended to follow the pancake die process through to the batch production project. From these five, one withdrew, leaving four subjects along with informal contacts with non-majors adding substance and depth to the general workshop experience and to the trajectory of the pancake die as a tool for batch production. Coming to the course at this stage is useful because it is both sufficiently small and self contained to manage as a research project.

Although ANT renders some things visible in the workshop it also obscures others such as passion, desire, expression and joy. The model of the laboratory is not totally interchangeable with the art school studio/workshop as the aims and intentions of science and visual art differ. The "truth" of craft/art objects is not found by repeating the experiment but by their appeal to certain current socio/cultural norms. The overlap with science is only useful in the context of the research because both are shaped by dominant “paradigms” of the moment but the link between science and its offspring, technology, differs from the link between craft in craft/art and its offspring, meaning and aesthetic experience. The research cannot be considered to be a definitive conclusion to workshop life because it lacks the authority of a large subject sample and the diversity of reasons students




undertook the course. Nevertheless the research does illustrate a method of understanding workshop life in the context of a university workshop.

Before the formal research can begin, observation and comment on workshop life as it is played out on a daily basis sets the scene. Although strong inferences can be drawn from the formal research an account of the informal interactions between humans and non-humans in the workshop opens to view the random nature of workshop life. The following narrative observes and comments on the "learning to make jewellery tribe" as it goes about its business of satisfying institutional demands and group and individual needs and desires.

The Work Shop Makes Objects: a socio/technical narrative set in an academic jewellery workshop Let us at last give the artisans their due. The liberal arts have adequately sung their own praises; they must now use their remaining voice to celebrate the mechanical arts. It is for the liberal arts to lift the mechanical arts from the contempt in which prejudice has for so long held them, and it is for the patronage of kings to draw them from the poverty in which they still languish. Artisans have believed themselves contemptible because people have looked down on them; let us teach them to have a better opinion of them selves; that is the only way to obtain more nearly perfect results from them. We need a man to rise up in the academies and go down to the workshops and gather material about the arts to be set out in book which will persuade artisans to read, philosophers to think on useful lines, and the great to make at least some worthwhile use of their authority and their wealth. (A Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia Volume 1) Diderot in the article “Art” Summary The narrative is a transcription, interpretation and voice of the seen and heard during a residency in an academic jewellery workshop. These sights and sounds shape, and are shaped by, the ubiquitous techno/social apparatus of an academic jewellery workshop.

Introduction The narrative is written as dialogue between workshop actants (including the researcher) in the language of the workshop. Does the dialogue reveal anything about how the techno/social apparatus of the workshop makes jewellers? Where in the dialogue is craft: is it submerged by the relations of the workshop with the



university and art school whose territory it occupies and whose rules and laws it must obey? The search for craft must go on, as it is the underlying premise of the research. In the narrative, sightings of the construction of craft will be alluded to, but mainly left for readers to find as they follow the story.

Craft is constructed by the complex relations of hands and objects in the techno/social environment of the academic workshop, hands and objects cannot be ignored, workshops exist primarily for hands to make objects. The narrative looks at the way the workshop employs hands to make objects for later assessment at an arbitrary time, date and place at the end of a jewellery production course. Of course the workshop cannot carry out this task alone; it enrols others to help out, principally students enrolled in a jewellery production course, a teacher who brought his knowledge of production jewellery each week to the workshop, other staff who entered and left the workshop spasmodically, outsiders who interrupted it and a researcher, an ex jeweller and jewellery teacher who comments on workshop life. Nevertheless the focus is on the workshop, thus the narrative title "The Workshop Makes Objects".

Rationale As the data for analysis is collected in a university jewellery workshop the nature of workshop life itself influences the direction of any research carried out there. Noting, transcribing and reflecting on workshop life over the duration of a course of study opens to view the environment in which the later formal research projects take place. Below is such an introduction based on the argument that the workshop facilitates and mediates all activities within its domain, including formal research projects.

Observations recorded as a non-participant observer over a ten week course of study are mused upon from a number of perspectives. ANT is always there, nonchalantly looking and listening for networks in the techno/social world of workshop life. Tables and diagrams are occasionally offered with numbers and words to short cut techno/social relations. Inferences founded on highlights, watersheds, turning points and controversies pepper the narrative. Added to these are formal and informal conversations between workshop actants and reflections based on the first hand experience of the researcher. Underlying everything is the



struggle of the workshop to assert itself in a form which meets the needs of all its inhabitants.

An important outpost of a jewellery teaching workshop is the human body. The workshop uses the human body in a number of ways, for instance to present the materials it shapes for public spectacle, to train the body to perform its tasks, to enable its skills, machines and tools to be converted into human lifestyles and to use the body as a market place for its goods. But the workshop is never an isolated entity. In this case it is answerable to the academy, a place where the hands of jewellery students are persuaded to produce objects which not only mediate the satisfaction of personal desire and/or an introduction to a vocation but serve the wider interests of the university as well.

The original transcript was organised chronologically using a loose episodic form as an arbitrary structure. In the final draft the chronological time structure is replaced by non-temporal socio/technical formations made from the plethora of micro events of workshop life. The workshop is indifferent to chronological time continuity as its pace is set by the vagaries of workshop practice. Workshop life is neither smooth nor seamless; it is disrupted by institutional interference from outside and controversies on the inside. These disruptions fragment workshop continuity creating time and space for the researcher to reflect, contemplate and reconstruct his experiences of workshop life.

The transcription is based on spontaneous journal entries rewritten as a running narrative. The narrative is selective, not all notes were used, but it remains roughly in the rambling style of the hand written journal. Reflections on the notes are highlighted as boxed comments and at times font, point and indent changes. But generally the narrative is in two forms, firstly the researcher's choice of what formal and informal sights and sounds were worth collecting and transcribing as workshop dialogue and secondly commentary on them based on his experiences, insights and theoretical knowledge.

Introductory dialogues First impressions of workshop life came from contacts with it and its people on several occasions prior to the commencement of the course. A newcomer to



workshop research needs to be as familiar as possible with its spaces and contents before the humans move in. These visits were to “speak” to its furniture, machines and tools poised ready for the humans to arrive.

The first human was the jewellery course coordinator, the person in charge of, and a teacher in the jewellery programme. A discussion about the jewellery programme’s (and thus the workshop’s) “fit” within its closest outside organisational structure, the Bachelor of Visual Arts, ensued. The jewellery programme is only one of many options offered in the BVA. The programme, without a separate identity, highlights the tension between visual art and workshop life especially when they share common courses, aims and administrative structures. The role the workshop plays in the BVA was discussed; in particular the impact arcane nuances of jewellery workshop life have on other courses in the BVA. As jewellery workshop practice could be described as a “craft” experience, the question is asked “What is the Role of Craft in the BVA programme?"

This conversation came at an opportune time as it concerned the "big picture" view of the workshop set in the context of the jewellery programme, the school of art and the university. In terms of the hand and the object, it touched on the relations and influences between/of hand skills and material objects and visual art prompting a another question for the narrative to consider “What is the Role of the Workshop in a BVA programme?". Visiting the dormant workshop at this point was essential to “soak up” its atmosphere and to make drawings of its floor plan, layout and contents. Making drawings was a way of predicting movements enforced by the workshop layout and to determine the best vantage points to study workshop life without getting in its way. This helped to find a hitherto unused narrow bench facing away from most of the workshop activity to expand on journal notes and to establish a “home” in the workshop which could be alternatively private or public.

The workshop comprised the expected range of tools, machines, benches, and storage facilities arranged symmetrically in a room partially divided by a floor to ceiling wall. The space had been two smaller workshops later made into one by the partial removal of an interior wall leaving the single space with two entrances and exits on either side of the remaining wall. This meant entrance to, and exit from the workshop could be carried out surreptitiously as the partial wall did not allow both



doors to be viewed simultaneously. The maze like structure of the workshop with its entrances, pathways and dead ends was already suggesting socio/technical relations. Two jewellery cases, standing near the centre of the workshop exhibited past and present student work showcasing the sort of objects the workshop could make and contrasting strikingly with the general industrial ambience of the workshop.

Heavy benches with vices are arranged around the walls of the work shop. The course co-ordinator’s workbench sits centre stage near the large round table and a whiteboard used to organise seating during lectures and as a drawing, thinking and designing space at other times. The future of jewellery work shops is represented by a computerised CNC machine in an isolated corner, a monument to the future of the traditional jewellery workshop. Other workshop equipment includes a press, hand and power rollers, tree stumps for metal smithing, storage cupboards and a sink.

Two other rooms linked with, but outside the main workshop are a specialised room for hot, wet and toxic activities and a storeroom managed by the studio technician/storeperson for the distribution and management of communal tools and small machines. These two areas have a laboratory feel about them because of their layout, the nature of the esoteric, but well used apparatus and the warning signs and instructions on the walls. An atmosphere of surveillance pervades the space where humans are more strictly monitored and supervised by the workshop, its apparatus and the staff who manage it.

Humans, meeting the workshop for the first time, are confronted by interior architecture, furniture and machines ready to direct movement, behaviour and social interaction. The interior architecture, furniture and machines are both an ally of, and impediment to, the humans who engage with them.

The empty unlit workshop was revisited a second time to imagine the role of a nonparticipant observer. Although not claiming the same unfamiliarity with the territory as Latour and Woolgar in “Lab. Life” having been, in the past, both a jeweller and jewellery teacher a sense of the outsider was overwhelming. The role of “outsider ethnographer” in a university jewellery workshop had not been fore shadowed, workshops which taught and made jewellery in the past were home territory. These past experiences in similar workshops had to be put aside and



replaced by, at least, a modicum of naivety. Will the difference between a jeweller and teacher inside and outside of academia be sufficient to disengage past experiences of workshop life? Will the environment be hostile and alienating to a degree that it will stifle the research? Can the lack of knowledge of, and experience in academic workshops be construed as a form of naivety similar to Latour and Woolgar’s claim in the Salk endocrinology laboratory? In fact, is Latour and Woolgar’s claim as observers not privy to the beliefs of the laboratory possible? Lynch (1997, p.97) does not think so. When he wrote “the problem is that most of the terms of the tribe are our terms as well” he was referring to Latour and Woolgars knowledge and experience of sociology and anthropology. Perhaps Latour and Woolgar’s understanding of how science was made in the laboratory is not so different from the researcher’s knowledge of jewellery making in a university workshop? Will past experiences get in the way? To what extent does the unfamiliar role as an “ethnographer” in the workshop render it a naïve experience? Is it alien or familiar territory?

A position as an outsider, a non-participating observer is important. Only as an outsider can one dispassionately observe what is going on? But this is difficult because any role played in the workshop, including that of a researcher, draws one into workshop life. It is especially difficult for a former workshop practitioner and teacher. The temptation to revert to past roles has to be repressed; the risk of directing rather than observing may deny insights into how this workshop makes objects. After visualising the abstract research experience, the next step was to plan practical moves to see, hear and record the workshop in action. Of course data had to be collected: but what and how and from whom? Experiences of others is necessary, someone who has successfully written a thesis. Work sheets prepared to help organise the workshop observations were submitted for expert scrutiny. They consisted of floor plans, observations of bench and machine and tool use, talk and the paper work introduced to, and taken from, the workshop. The strategy was far too complex and unwieldy to manage in the workshop, noting on blank paper would be a better approach because it does not predict workshop life, it follows it. A rugged hard-back journal would be the best way to record the week by week sights and sounds of workshop life.




The apprehension of entering old territory in a new role resulted in over preparation - rather than let the workshop speak in its own language it had been set it up to say what the researcher wanted to hear. Help was needed to deal with the crisis. It was suggested interviews would support the observations but what would interviews look like in this instance. An Internet search for interview guidelines was fruitful but it was finally decided that a series of written questions to distribute to a small number of students majoring in jewellery was a better approach.

Observations by an outsider are not enough; the experiences and observations of those who belong to the territory are necessary if a more comprehensive picture is to be painted. They are one of the mouthpieces of the workshop; they are the voice of its actions. The workshop makes objects Milling around with students and staff waiting for the workshop to be activated is a trying time when there is a stressful task ahead. Start ups are messy for all; humans contrive social interaction as they wait, some in silence, some in conversation and others in preparation for the day. The staff also watches for the right moment to get things started. The “right moment” for researcher introductions depends on the interaction of staff and students, a delicate decision – too early and few would be ready or interested, too late and the workshop would take over and leave the researcher behind.

When the right moment seemed imminent the first move was to negotiate with the teacher and the course co-ordinator about when and how the researcher would be introduced. Briefly explaining to the teacher what was intended elicited an unexpected conversation. He reacted by expressing doubts about the efficacy of university research in general by relating an interview he had heard with a gene scientist who claimed that the proliferation of papers necessary to sustain a research career was out of control. The dichotomy between the theorist and the practitioner in the workshop was evoked by this casual and unexpected conversation. A theory/practice debate, not unlike the art/craft debate was brought to notice by this chance interaction, as the researcher was nervously embarking on his first outing as an ethnographer and was about to, in a sense, theorise the teacher’s “practical” jewellery production course.




Going into the territory of others and observing what is going on is an enterprise requiring tact and a lightness of touch - even those who have agreed to cooperate may still harbour a certain reticence to be observed. Was the teacher's comment about the present state of research an expression of this unease? Theorising an environment, in this case a hands on workshop, which is often said to speak for itself can invite resistance. Nevertheless after a brief discussion with the teacher and the course co-ordinator introductions were made and the project was underway.

The students formed a group and politely and attentively listened as the course coordinator introduced the researcher as a “useful addition” to the workshop. The research project and the staff and student’s place in it were introduced in terms of fellow craftspeople with a shared interest in workshop life.

The Ethics Committee approved handout was read, explained and distributed and volunteers sought. All but one volunteered making the management of the group much easier than initially envisaged. Consent forms were distributed signed and returned and, after the student who abstained was assured that her decision would be respected, the formalities were complete.

The course co-ordinator later spoke about the introduction to the research project expressing the view that he thought it was a constructive introduction to workshop practice.

"Right moments" are crucial if research is to be effective - not only does everybody and everything have to be physically in place but readiness in a psychological sense is also important. A semester is divided into two terms. A project from the first term had to be assessed before the second term work could be introduced. This was an unexpected and opportune turn of events, a chance to observe an assessment review without seeing the objects in production in the workshop. Witnessing the first assessment review allowed a comparison between it and the later end of course review.

The review was held at the student’s workbenches thus retaining the nexus between the workshop, the jewellery objects and techno/social relations which made them. They remained “at home” and were not asked to conform to (or perform in) an



unfamiliar venue where expectations may have been different. Nevertheless the objects and the workshop were vulnerable without a human spokesperson, a cleared space to be noticed and visual support, to separate them from their technical heritage. With a spokesperson, cleared space and visual support they were not left to entirely speak for themselves. Workshop assessment binds objects to the techno/social environment in which they are made privileging their role as records of skill and technical facility the workshop offers. The objects remained at their home benches. The students moved as a group from bench to bench each student in turn speaking as an advocate for the objects, their role as makers and as spectators for the advocacy of the work of others. The audience listened without commenting and clapped at the end of each brief performance. No journals were shown although drawings (mainly drawings of objects on bodies) accompanied some objects.

A techno/social event such as this separates the objects from their role as desirable wearables. They hover in the territory between the industrial workshop and the visual art studio – attention is only transferred from the techniques of production to meaning and aesthetics via a leap of imagination. It gave the objects an opportunity to show what the workshop had accomplished rather than an opportunity to prove themselves in exhibition or on the body. Although the students moved from bench to bench and positioned themselves in a sight line to include both objects and maker and interact if they wished, few took up the offer: students were reluctant to close in on object and maker in spite of the encouragement of the teacher.

The twenty-one students each talked for approximately one minute enabling the assessment review to be completed in less than a half hour. No paper work was required from the students.

A feature of teaching workshops is that of performance, students continually perform for other students and staff in the workshop. Assessment reviews simply formalise performance in front of a peer audience. To a degree the objects and the workshop are, at least temporarily, at the mercy of their maker's ability to perform to an audience. After a short break the teacher assembled the group, discussed the first term work and outlined the projects for the second term. The students arranged themselves around the circular table and facing the white board.




He firstly thanked the students for their involvement and results and expressed a willingness to talk individually about any problems they had during the first term. Although the teacher encouraged the students to talk about their ideas during their reviews his concerns now at the white board were mainly technical, workshop concerns. This was workshop jewellery; the problems discussed were not about design or aesthetics but rather the relations between workshops and objects.

The relations between object and workshop are worthy of consideration for users and makers. Workshop objects retain their means of production, for users as mystique and makers as indelible skills - the workshop's fingerprints remain. A discussion on assessment linked objects with workshop practice and institutional objectives: this unavoidable but irritating feature of institutional life positions the workshop uncomfortably between the internalised, esoteric ideals the student brings to the workshop and institutional objectives in the form of assessment criteria. An example was the definition of jewellery: the teacher’s definition for the limited production course was hand scale objects. Would a definition such as this be accepted in the general community or is it an institutional objective imposed on the workshop?

Theorising the roles objects perform in material culture is often the basis for production in the academy, rather than the classic forms used in every day life. Buying materials for the course was the next step, money had to be paid at a central office and an account number brought to the workshop technician to claim the materials: an A4 sheet of paper was attached to the white board with the instructions to make the transaction.

The intervention of the administrative system of the university adds its imprimatur to the object. Money and paper are transformed into materials – materials can be transformed by the workshop back into paper and money when objects are exhibited (as critique) or sold (as money). The students re-assembled in front of the white board awaiting guidelines for the next project. They sat impassively throughout the teacher’s presentation: an explanation of the one-piece blanking die for limited batch production. The




blanking die is called a pancake or waffle die because its hinged action resembles that of a waffle iron.

The pancake die principle was presented in four modes; sound, image, object and action, each mode adding conceptually to the principle of its manufacture and operation. Sound, in the form of talk, led to a philosophic/theoretical discussion. Image in the form of whiteboard drawing introduced geometry as a starting point for body adornment. A material example in the form of an object, the die as a working example, enabled the principle to be seen and touched and finally the cutting action of the die as a bench demonstration brought the theory, image, and geometry of the die together as a workshop tool.

This is an example of “an array of relations” forming an object - each phase of explanation adding to and remaining in the network which constitutes the theory of the pancake die. The students broke into informal chat groups around the workshop and then into two groups, one group asked to assemble around a demonstration bench and the other to wait for a second demonstration.

A die is more than a theoretical construct; it could not be used if it is not made and making required tacit knowledge and practice. For this the class was split into two groups, the reduced numbers enabling all to see the bench demonstration of the die cutting technique and the application of main tool for the course, the piercing saw. The piercing saw technique was demonstrated at the bench using a saw guide attached to the bench by the studio technician. The demonstration was completed by handing around a finished die, this time it included knowledge of the tools and skills needed to make it. The students stood passively watching and listening. The demonstration was repeated for the second group of students.

Articulating the principles behind the die was one thing, making it is something else - talk, drawings, examples and demonstrations are abstractions - seeing the die being made brings the hand of the student directly to the task, and the workshop into action. After the demonstration the students scattered, some left the workshop, others sought isolation or group support whilst others began drawing. Nevertheless the die



making demonstration is not finished and jewellery objects cannot be made until they return to the workshop furniture, machines and tools to practice and master the skills of saw piercing a pancake die.

The rigidity of instruction and the fluency of demonstration are contested when students attempt to personalise them in the context of their fledgling skills, desires and values. The instruction and demonstration is forced back through the wrong end of a funnel by the innocents. Not all workshop demonstrations are formal and premeditated. Later in the course a spontaneous demonstration took place. A spontaneous workshop demonstration can result from a student question and/or an overlooked but important element of workshop life. A demonstration of making a file cleaning tool is such an example.

The teacher attracts a small group of students around an anvil mounted on one of a cluster of stumps to demonstrate making a file cleaner. He places a strip of copper on the anvil and thins and spreads it by hammering one end. This also work hardens it and this combination of thinning and hardening produces a tool which can be kept permanently in the toolbox. He then talked about and demonstrated the function and use of the tool. It is a tool for removing metal trapped in the teeth of files which restricts their cutting action and transfers one type of metal to another.

Tool making is intrinsic to workshop life. The workshop contextualises itself with its current projects by continually adding to the store of tools and machines it makes available to its inhabitants.

Making tools has been specific up till now (the pancake die was a tool) and an integral part of the construction of the course object. The file cleaner is the first general tool to be demonstrated - hands making tools to make tools to make objects is a part of workshop life. Understanding and making the pancake die is only the beginning; it has to be connected to its functional and aesthetic possibilities for it to become a piece of efficacious socio/technical apparatus. A long talk/discussion/demonstration brought together everything connected with, and emanating from, the pancake die such as notions of quality and price, materials and finish, design, craft and the body.




Teacher's word use
Type of word Technical Theoretical Conceptual Design Inspirational Number of Words 40 8 16 15 0

Table 9 Table 9 shows the concentrations of teacher’s interests and concerns in his introduction to the pancake die. The language used by the teacher to explain the operation, the aesthetic and use of the pancake concept as encapsulated in Table 9 favours the technical over other concerns and interests. The analysis is tempered by the informality of the presentation, its experiential basis and student intervention. Through the teacher, the workshop has its say.

The distinctive feature of the pancake die is its capacity to cut identical multiples and cutting multiples for batch production is the predominant aim of the course. A batch is a group of identical or similar objects understood as one in the workshop but as individual pieces for distribution as autonomous objects in individual sites once they leave. At the conclusion of the discussion on the function, aesthetic and use of the pancake die the teacher displayed three brooches as examples of batch production. By selecting brooches as examples a category of production objects is endorsed directing the results of the pancake technique towards the torso form, the brooch. The three brooches - a throwaway 1970’s Save the Whale badge, a brooch made by an American jeweller connecting his major exhibition work with low cost production objects and an example of the teacher’s own production work are displayed. In each case attention was focused on the ingeniousness of the pin attachment.

The course was materialised in a particular form at this point as the teacher and the three brooches affirmed the brooch form as a “fact” for the project. Will this “fact” be endorsed by the students when their objects are submitted for assessment? The following discussion is predicated on the assertion that the workshop makes objects. The workshop’s interests, in this case, are technical and economic, the technical is manifested in the preoccupation with attachments, how they are made



and from what, and economic because the workshop can pay its way by the production of this type of inexpensive saleable object. The first brooch, a Save the Whale badge, is self-explanatory; it was produced in the 1970s to promote the cessation of the whale kill. These low cost badges were pressed and screen printed in large numbers for wide distribution. Interest in the relationship between the safety pin brooch back and the function of the object was the main concern. Its perceived short life span validated the cheap safety-pin fitting: an intimate linking of its social role and its technical manifestation, of an objective and an object.

The second, a brooch by Bally, an American jeweller with an impressive promotional website (a significant means of distributing production work and now a workshop outreach), was presented as an exemplar of production jewellery. Like his major exhibition work, it used discarded scraps of yellow and black reflective road signs as raw material for a decorative brooch form. It was a production object made for wide distribution, its modest price tag a boost to the jeweller’s income and workshop payment. The function of the piece, for the maker is to make money and for the buyer inexpensive pleasure, aims which sit well with the pancake die’s capacity to blank forms en masse at low cost. Thus the low tech approach of the pin design and how it brought the brooch and the human body together was its main interest.

The third brooch, made by the teacher, brought the authority of the maker to bear on the project and the teacher and workshop together. Intimate details of its life world were accessible because it was accompanied by its maker; the object had a “social” as well as technical existence. Students immediately responded to this connection by showing interest in the details of its production, where it was sold, and the selling price. A network of production, which now included the maker and student, was constructed.

A detailed description of how the piece was made drew the students further into the world of the teacher's brooch. The square pieces of wood cut to shape in an industrial workshop were stained dark brown by the maker. A related image on either side of the wooden shape, in this case the sun and the moon, necessitated the invention of a clip that would allow the wearer to choose either image at will. For the maker the sun and moon images merely differentiated one side from the other



thus directing attention to the clip attachment which enables the changeover with a simple movement. The material used on the clip, its thickness and the way it was attached to both the wooden form and the clothing were of prime interest to both the teacher/maker and the audience of students. The pin became an integral part of the visual and functional elements of the piece.

Is the difference between a personal and impersonal object mediated through the difference between an image (aesthetics and meaning) and an invention (in this case a novel clothing clip or attachment)? This course concerned production objects not "works of art" thus the ingenuity of the clip, the performance of attaching and detaching, could equal, or even supplant seeing or being seen with the object. Perhaps a personal performance piece. The display and discussion of the brooch samples centred on technique and cost is as profound as an abstract theoretical talk on meaning and visual qualities. How does this fit with academic craft? Interest in technique and cost led to a discussion on the process and advantages of writing a design brief to instruct the production of socio/technical objects: a case of writing to the workshop.

With formal proceedings out of the way the researcher’s attention is drawn to the techno/social buzz of workshop life and the typical workshop mood which occurs in the time and space between formal activities and self directed work at the bench. Although the unusual presence and demands of the researcher adds to and interrupts the normal mood of the workshop, it is an awareness of the freewheeling character of the workshop which is significant at these times.

Students amble toward their benches after the white board session. A student stops to talk to the researcher at the jewellery cases displaying finished work from the first project, examples of the workshop’s output. Why did these particular objects find their way to the display cases: were they “masterpieces” or objects of selfpromotion? The researcher then speaks to a few students still clustered around the white board about their plans for the pancake die and batch production. Other students talk and laugh in small groups near the benches before commencing work. Another student is working at a machine, the fly press. The die is working well, the researcher comments “that’s the sound” Student, smiling - “yes”.




Some leave the workshop for a break. Later they gradually return and the teacher starts to move around the benches for brief discussions with some, stopping longer with others such as late students and those who need help with the bench arrangement and body position for saw piercing. The workshop sound of piercing saws cutting metal begins to rise above the social sounds of talk and laughter.

Later the course co-ordinator enters the workshop with an outsider and discusses and demonstrates a technical process. The researcher talks to the studio technician in the passageway outside the workshop and discovers that he was a welder by trade. The teacher leaves the workshop later to return to talk to a very late arrival who was reading the whiteboard notes. The teacher chastens the student by emphasising the importance of being there for the introductory talk. The studio technician helps reposition a saw guide for a left handed student; the workshop takes over.

As the students settle at the benches, the sound of piercing saw blades battling with the hard stainless steel gradually overtakes other workshop noises, broken only by occasional cries of frustration and anguish as blades break and the uncomfortable sawing position takes its toll. The researcher introduces himself to a jewellery major and students of graphic design and architecture for later conversations and talks to a mature age student about his reasons for return to study after a long absence. The studio technician starts a conversation questioning the researcher about the thesis – will it become a book – what value is it to the university jewellery department etc? Two students leave the main workshop to anneal metal, later to return together to prepare it on the power roller for blanking.

The day drifts on: it is mainly a day for the unsupervised saw piercing, workshop work. The researcher leaves early, along with many of the students.

The work shop is not always a space organised by the imposed authority of the institution or its human agents; when left to its own devices an inherent dynamic takes over and mediates its socio/technical world. Weekly sessions usually began with a formal lecture. Lectures in workshops rarely start on time; waiting for them to begin is ideal for exploring workshop details such as the paper work on walls and bench tops. In this case the full gamut of workshop



interests was found including a list of jewellery suppliers, a tool and machinery catalogue, copies of the course outline, a trade jewellery magazine, gem price list, student projects on prominent jewellers, occupational, health and safety advice and travel posters; the workshop speaks.

What can be made of the variety of paper work on the walls of the workshop? Is it representative of what goes (or went) on in the workshop or is it a random collection accumulated over time?

The students are asked to “bring a chair” ready for a talk on sales and marketing. Before they can settle, the course co-ordinator intervenes and asks for a “quick word” about chairs in the workshop. The plastic stacking chairs some of the students are using are removed and the students asked to use their bench chairs for the lecture and return them when it is finished.

This turns the talk to safety issues in particular keeping major pathways clear of chairs as well as bags and toolboxes.

Occupational Health and Safety is a current preoccupation in institutional workshops. Laws, rules and codes of practice can affect workshop life and the nature of the objects produced therein. The workshop must eventually release its products for sale if it and its human affiliates are to survive, although it sometimes keeps some to display as a record of its work. Nevertheless it is important for students to know something about the marketplace, as professional practice and the authority and survival of the workshop depends on selling. The lecture begins by making a connection between selling and capitalism: in a capitalist society a sale is an unavoidable aspect of making and is both a form of appreciation and measure of success.

The details of the relationship between cost of production and selling price was spelt out by suggesting that all costs necessary to sustain a lifestyle should to be added to the cost of running a workshop and operating a small business. Overheads, research and development, outside services, idea generation, organising contracts and designing time should be included when costing work.




Cost and pricing is conceptualised as money in a capitalist economic system. Money should not be over looked as an actor in the workshop. It is a factor in the development of workshop objects, money is exchanged for tools and materials brought to the workshop to make objects and objects are exchanged for money through sales and marketing strategies to sustain the workshop. Money is often discussed (where to buy and at what cost?) as students require additional materials and tools needed by the course and the workshop.

Costs and prices although often dismissed as alien to the creative adventure are, in fact, unavoidable elements of the lifeworld of workshops. They are a part of the design and the production of all objects and a major issue for the workshop which makes them. The object’s life post-workshop depends on price and mode of selling. The differences between selling venues such as markets, jewellery stores, boutiques, galleries, from home, on the Internet, to friends and through exhibitions is a factor in determining the object’s future. It is necessary to match venues with objects. The ownership of objects after they leave the workshop is also a factor: for instance ownership is exchanged on sale to a retail outlet, but remains connected to the maker when on consignment. A professional attitude to marketing is a factor in the socio/economic status of the object when it leaves the workshop. Publicity in the communication media helps objects to get out into the wider community where they can be seen and related to particular cultural environments, while association with organisations can position the object within networks of support and advice.

Objects leave as immutable mobiles, separated from the workshop modalities which made them. They then become actors in other networks according to the venues, and socio/economic realms they find themselves. They are attracted to particular venues and socio/economic realms by an in built set of primary marketing and sales characteristics and remade by a secondary set by marketing strategies in those venues and realms. Production work is a transparent example of this but to an extent all art works are influenced by these factors. Marketing and selling are vexed issues in the craft/art world, the art object can attempt to stand aloof from the marketplace but ultimately the market cannot be ignored. Machines are central to the social and technical life of a workshop, but they can be difficult to get to know (Mackenzie, 2002, pp. 52-53). A student working at an uncooperative machine, the fly press, is watched by another student and the researcher. The die is not cutting properly and the students are discussing



alternative cutting strategies. The researcher intervenes and makes a suggestion which later proves to be contrary to the teacher’s advice.

Variations in technique occur when humans interpret it. Technique is not immutable; it too is subject to contextual relations with tools, machines, environments and people all capable of transforming the "universal" into the local. The teacher arrives during this controversy and assumes control. He gently but firmly discusses and demonstrates the setting up procedure for blank cutting. Although this was a tense moment the intervention by the researcher was ameliorated by the subtle and measured intervention of the teacher.

Being a non-participating observer is difficult to maintain over a long period. Over time one learns something of the culture and habits of the focus group sufficiently to want to impose "outsider" knowledge on it. Perhaps researcher intervention should be confined to the role of "cultural labourer". The collaborative effort resulted in successful die cuts and the press an amiable rather than difficult partner, a happy group working together. The talk was now positive, the actions unified and the spirit light-hearted.

The teacher settled the difficulty between the two students, the machine and the researcher with a story (see this block of metal it should be as far away from the machine as possible, it is a trouble maker) and a firm but gentle demonstration creating an affable relationship between humans and non-humans. Add to, rather than abandon, a network and humans and non-humans can settle controversies. The teacher speaks for the machine, by adding to the network the cutting action of the die, the direction of the die flap, why non-parallel surfaces create problems and how placing the die and the blanking material between soft surfaces protects the cutting edges of the die and increases its life span.

Another student arrives at the press after the controversy had been settled and attempts to cut blanks. Unsuccessful, the student “blames” the non-humans (the machine, the materials and the theory of the pancake die) for the failure of his die to cut and “punished” the machine by using extreme force against it. He had not heard the teacher speak for the machine and was unaware of the subtlety of its needs. The




two successful students sided with the machine and the die blaming the dysfunctional relationship on the unsuccessful student. He blamed the machine and the supportive relationship the two successful students had with the teacher, exacerbated by one of them claiming to have a privileged relationship with the teacher. The teacher could not solve the controversy for the unsuccessful student because the latter refused to allow the teacher to speak for the machine. Separation was the only solution and the student was sent back to the bench to modify his die in an attempt to make a dissident non-human actor (the pancake die) a compatible mediator in the controversy between himself, the teacher and the machine.

The two successful students remained at the machine taking it in turns to cut blanks; alternatively as user and spectator.

Other students worked the machine without controversy. The solution to the initial controversy, at least temporarily, had extinguished new controversies; the action of the machine now unites rather than separates.

Machines are the centres of attention in a workshop; they have both presence and authority. They are the signature of workshop appearance and the focus of much of its social interaction. They are indispensable as collaborators in processes humans cannot carry out alone but they can be difficult if things do not go their way. The ultimate aim of the machine/human interaction is the cyborg, perfect symmetry between human and machine. Geometry is important to the collaborative operation of machines. A group of students’ mill around the fly press watching as the teacher coaxes another die to work. He demonstrates cutting the blank assuming the geometry of the die and the machine to be correct. Geometry is important. The previous machine demonstration was successful because the geometry of the die was correct enabling the teacher to fluently and impressively demonstrate without having to re-explain die theory. Correct geometry produced a working relationship between the machine, teacher, student and researcher. But when incorrect geometry makes blanks difficult to cut a new controversy develops in the relationship between machine and humans. To counter the incorrect geometry additional mediators need to be added to the network which produced a working relationship between the machine, teacher, student and researcher. This was the case when the teacher intervened to help another student unsuccessfully using the machine. The teacher assembled the same



equipment used for a die with correct geometry and attempted to cut a blank. The familiar click, the sound of a successful cut, was missing causing the teacher to apply more force to the machine than previously used for the die with correct geometry. This asymmetrical relationship between teacher and machine was created by the teacher adding extra force to the die cutting network in an attempt to over power the machine. Another addition to the network caused by imperfect geometry was a change in the relationship between the teacher and the student: the blame for the failure of the die to cut opened the relationship for re-negotiation. The third addition occurred when the teacher had to retreat from the ideal (because of the incorrect geometry) and use equipment, employ actions and revise earlier assertions in order to entice the die to cut. Backing off from a previously claimed inviolable position again upset the relations between the humans and the machine, in particular the teacher’s authority over it. When the revised procedure still did not work, the attention was redirected toward the die and the student who made it. The hierarchical relationship between the teacher and student was again placed under negotiation when the teacher inspected the die and found it had been made incorrectly. A tension developed as blame was apportioned; the student, although unaware that the die was cut with incorrect geometry was blamed by the teacher and the teacher was blamed because his introduction to die making did not guard against incorrect die cutting. As there was no time to cut a new die and the requirements of the course were specific, twenty identical pieces had to be blanked from the die; the expanded network was set in train.

When teacher and student are using a die to cut at the machine, a three way exchange between teacher, machine and student results: three sets of interests each with a stake in the outcome. Successful use of the die is a power struggle which is ultimately negotiated between teacher knowledge, status and authority, student desire and ownership and the machine’s unerring reliance on correct geometry.

Groups collected around machines are an example of socio/technical relations constructed when workshops make objects. Unity (in Figure 4) between machine, teacher, student and the observing researcher is dependent on the solution of machine controversies.




Figure 4.

Success and failure of the pancake die at the machine, in this case the fly press, are examples of workshop action manifesting relations between humans and non-humans. It is an instance when a machine mediated the relations between humans and non-humans by offering an indispensable link between human aspirations and objects. The machine brought aspirations and objects together for both success and failure. Success and failure affects the relationship between the humans who are using the machine. In this role, could it be said to be a Social Machine? Workshops are not confined to their physical space, contents or resident humans, they invite others in, organise action in other workshops and operate outside institutional “rules”. An example of the latter came to notice when student who was having problems in cutting blanks in workshop time laid out twenty finished pieces in a pattern on the bench top. The student had used the workshop outside class time and the expertise of another lecturer to complete the project. Many students leave the workshop during workshop time and many leave early and do not return. It would be easy to dismiss this behaviour as “laziness” or some other human frailty but fulfilling course requirements is sometimes more readily achieved with outside support, reassurance, affiliations, rest, disengagement, etc. as well as technical and design help not available in one workshop or at a specific time.

The student was an outsider; taking the course as a minor option in her graphic design degree she brought another notion of study to the jewellery programme. She was not comfortable in the workshop but liked both designing and wearing jewellery. Although she liked to work outside the "culture" of the workshop she still needed it to fulfil both the desire to make and the course requirements. She was adamant about not cutting another die but rather found outside help to make the errant sample die fulfil the requirements of the batch production project.




Workshops can erroneously feel like homogenous spaces disconnected from the outside world, a world of their own. Unannounced arrival of outsiders can disrupt this illusion. During the die cutting demonstration the jewellery course co-ordinator brought a group of outsiders into the workshop momentarily catching the attention of the class. The visitors were the head of the art school and architects gathering information for a new school building. The course coordinator was relieved to find the class full and active while the visitors were present.

Outsiders create unease and need to be identified and their behaviour scrutinised on how they relate to "normal" workshop activities. Outsiders do not have to enter the workshop to open it up to an outside world. A visit by the researcher to a jewellery department in another institution resulted in a cross-institutional discussion with the teacher on jewellery, jewellery teaching and workshops.

Difference/similarity/amalgamation underlies the relations between workshops in competition. Outside also includes the interrelationship between the joint activities of networks of workshops. A whiteboard talk about the resources available to jewellers to speed up production, reduce tedious repetitive actions and improve incomes is based on the interrelationship of workshops. The workshop can orchestrate production in other workshops rather than relying on its own resources. Real time interaction is possible because the speed of new communication technologies enable spaces, people, tools and machines to link workshops as a single entity.

The teacher outlined the uses and advantages of such technologies and how they can expand the facilities and production range of individual workshops. Computers can talk to each other and activate technologies such as computer aided design (CAD); computer aided manufacture (CAM) using laser cutting, water cutting, wire cutting and 3D technologies such as rapid prototypers, 3D printers and automated production casting to make objects off site.




The workshop enlists temporary outsiders to make it more efficient, speed up its operations and bring technologies that would be too expensive, too big and too intrusive into the workshop without upsetting its normal composure. They are, in effect, a virtual workshop accessed in ethereal computer space thus diffusing the boundaries between the material and the virtual. Workshops constantly use numbers as part of their everyday language, for example numbers to describe tools and machines, to measure objects and prepare students for assessment. Numbers are also used to limit self expression, for instance an end of course paper was limited to 250 words, and to compare student skill levels, the number 15 was cited as an average when students were asked about saw blade breakage during die cutting. The teacher estimated that he would have broken about 6 cutting a similar die thus bench-marking a number to aspire to and as a standard for professional practice. Numbers then became the basis for an expanded discussion on saw piercing principles and practice.

Is there a relationship between hand skills and the "quality" of objects? In the case of the pancake die competent hand skills would certainly make a die that cuts cleanly and lasts longer but does skill open up or limit “creative” possibilities? A complex die might be more interesting and more difficult to cut that a simple one and make a difference in the number of blade breakages. The number discussion moved to assessment. Number was used to place a relative value on the pancake die exercise (20% of total): number as a means of directing student interest and effort.

Is there a difference between number use in the visual art and the jewellery department? Number kept assessment on the agenda. Unless the project was completed attaining full marks would not possible, “if you haven’t finished you can’t get full marks – if it isn't, do it again if you want full marks”. The teacher wanted 20 pieces by the end of the day. Was the exercise worth repeating for extra marks? It was left up to the students to manage numbers according to their outcomes they desired.

Assessment can be negotiated although the authority of the institution and its representatives usually prevail. The negotiation often settles on numbers, one of the most common institutional assessment markers.




The relationship between assessment and numbers continued at the machine in a discussion between the researcher and a student. The student had cut 13 blanks (but needed 20 for assessment) with a die which appeared to be worn out. Various combinations of surfaces for cutting to revive the cutting action were discussed but the ideal machine use and the cutting principle had to be compromised in pursuit of numbers. Nevertheless the pursuit of numbers can have positive outcomes; in this case it led to experiments in the die cutting process which would not have been attempted with perfect machine/die symmetry.

Cutting blanks to a predetermined number can only be facilitated if the machine (the fly press) is a partner in the conversations between humans - the machine keeps the lines of “communication” open by its willingness to compromise. In this case the conversations concerned ways of asking the machine for the numbers to fulfil the assessment criteria. A student turned on a radio so far unused in the workshop. Backed by the group of students at her bench she tuned it to a middle of the road rock station. Another student hearing the radio and without seeking the opinion of other students changed the station to contemporary rock. As he changed the station he loudly expressed annoyance with the music being played as a deliberate affront to his sensibilities. The friction caused by this episode divided the students and temporarily affected the operations of the workshop. Controversies in a workshop are not necessarily caused by workshop actions, they can come about by ideological, aesthetic and political divides brought to it by humans.

The episode raised the question of the relevance of sound in a workshop. Workshop sound is in two forms, sound generated by the workshop and sound introduced into the workshop. Workshop sounds generated by the workshop can be used to

monitor and evaluate workshop and human performance such as intensity of work, type of work, correct and incorrect tool and machine use and sound introduced to the workshop such as laughter and conversation and non workshop sound such radios, tape and disk players, the level of human involvement.




For a jewellery teacher sound made by the workshop signifies how well it and its humans are performing. Strangely the human voice is a discord in this environment, like abnormal machine and tool sounds it can signify that something is wrong and need of attention. Students accept some workshop sounds and contest others.

Time is an indispensable mediator when anything is made. Objects in academic workshops are rigorously conditioned by time sliced into segments, constrained within limits and pitted against its self. Time is a factor behind all the decisions made about the shape and form of the academic workshop object; it is not only itself an indispensable mediator but impacts on the other mediators in the network. Time sets the distance of the making process prior to making, disengages but hovers during the making process and rigorously intervenes at the end. Only at the end, when time is rendered “opaque” by closing one time slot and opening another, is its impact on the object visible (“I needed more time”). Time is transformed into talk and objects during assessment.

Learning and teaching institutions cannot avoid deadlines. Even post graduate research deadlines have to be met. Deadlines are a means of managing time and time management is passed from the institution to the student to the object. Thus time becomes built into institutional objects affecting their number, shape and form. Talk brings objects into being: objects are formed by conversations in the workshop. Talking with, and listening to, students, teacher, technician, co-ordinator and visiting lecturer on their relations with the workshop, the course and each other offers divergent insights into workshop life. Firstly a number of unconnected discussions with and between students explore non-institutional insights into workshop life.

A student talked with delight at the success he had with a die which would not cut during scheduled workshop time. He displayed the blanks in copper and aluminium as a pattern on the bench top. The outside was brought to bear on the workshop by this conversation, the frustrations he felt working in the confines of scheduled class time were ameliorated by the success of working unsupervised in the workshop outside of class time.




The inviolability of the workshop as the only site where objects are made is questioned by this conversation - students make objects wherever they can.

Another talked of her plans for a bracelet using the repeated blanks. The discussion went beyond the project to the technical problems of hinge making and then to the notion of tacit learning. Options for hinge making were discussed and later acted upon enabling the bracelet to function on the body. Technical decisions, pertinent to the workshop but not the course, were made by this conversation. Another talked about the limited life span of a pancake die and strategies to increase it, leading to a discussion on the difference between tool steel and stainless steel as a die material. The conversation brought the influence of materials on die making into focus and the effect the limited life spans of tools, machines and workshops have on production. The notion of life span and the function of the die are made with this conversation. The teacher joined the discussion on materials. He talked about how the softness of wood responded to machine pressure and that steel supported worn dies although it tended to mark the blanks. The teacher suggested the use of a piece of clean stainless steel as a die support. The conversation about materials made a longer lasting die.

Conversations construct their own agendas, in this case, outside/inside, technique and materials. A discussion with a student ensued on the social relations formed by workshops, in particular how student numbers decrease as the day wears on and whether organised breaks might stem the exodus: or is it just the way of workshop life. Do long self-structured projects such as those in this course make human relations with the workshop inevitable? Perhaps projects have a “natural” growth cycle which determines their relations with the workshop and is the growth pattern and workshop relations manifested in these attendance patterns? Perhaps some stages are better resolved outside the workshop such as idea development and paper work because the technical imposition of the workshop is inhibiting. The university impinges on student time; they have other commitments to fulfil and deadlines to meet: a lull in one site produces activity in another.




Students in the course are comprised of jewellery majors, jewellery minors and students taking jewellery as a single broadening course. Jewellery minors and single course students can come from any school or discipline within the university and enrol in certain jewellery courses although students of art, architecture, industrial design and visual communication fill most places.

Discussing jewellery with non-major students reveals things about jewellery workshop life obscured by the passion and knowledge of those who choose it as a major option.

Talking with such a student at the press about her relations with the jewellery workshop revealed how she began as a jewellery major but shifted to glass after experiencing it as a minor option. The technical and physical limitations of jewellery making and the jewellery workshop were frustrating when compared to the directness of working with glass. She described jewellery making as fiddling about and not going directly to the object as one did with glass. Her love of glass was cultivated by the direct contact with the material. Tools and machines do not intervene as much, the maker works directly with the elements, heat and air and the process, which to a significant degree limits the participation of others. She found a counter-workshop that was more conducive to her notion of making.

Workshops and the machines and tools in them are material specific, that is, they are designed to respond to the nature of particular materials and transform them into objects. Workshops thus define the actions necessary for the humans to make objects with, and in them. The actions become performances and the performances construct identities and social relations within the workshop. Jewellery making is tool and machine driven and its performance space is localised and personal. Working with glass opens up space and is reliant on managing difficult to harness, heat and air. In conversation another non-major student expressed a different experience with the jewellery workshop; she was a graphic design student who had been struggling with the tools and machines in the jewellery workshop. It was not that she had difficulty in using them but the struggle seemed to be in their nature and what they made her do in order to materialise an idea. Later she needed to make a series of small holes and was shown by the teacher on how to use a pendant drill, a motorised drill with a flexible shaft. The ease, simplicity and effectiveness of the drilling process




delighted and encouraged her: a specific machine had helped her to become, in the context of the course, a jeweller. As a graphic design student, the jewellery production course was her first in the jewellery workshop. Her major in the Visual Communication programme was graphics not illustration because she claimed she could not draw. When asked about her knowledge of computers she said that, as a previous TAFE (technical college) course had covered all the programs she did not have to repeat them at university. Dualities are interesting (between TAFE and university, between hand and computer, between jewellery and graphics) as they extend to the notion of self. She spoke two languages (English and Mandarin) and, although she felt Australian rather than Chinese, both cultures assigned her to the other. Estrangement from the workshop (not jewellery) seemed to be a characteristic of students doing single courses in the jewellery department.

Another non-major, an architectural student, needed help with a technical problem; he had to remove a large amount of superfluous plastic from the centre of a die. The chasm between concept (which he had in his head) and object (which he was trying to make) needed to be bridged with tools, machines and processes to produce a working die. For a non-jeweller with little familiarity with the workshop (like scientists without their technicians or artists without their craftspeople), he was adrift in surroundings he could not mobilise. A discussion with him about his future was interesting in this context. His plan was to be a builder rather than an architect (in his uncle's building firm), interesting given his understanding of concept and object in the jewellery workshop. What he was learning as an architectural student was the antithesis of what he needed as a builder. Perhaps his future role in his uncle’s firm was to do what he is learning at university: to convert ideas into paper work not objects.

The workshop means different things to different people. Talking to students whose major programme of study is not dependent on the jewellery workshop helps to understand its role a little better. In the case of the graphics student, the workshop was a means of doing a bit of jewellery which she liked to wear. Her relations with the workshop manifested another duality in her life rather than an integration of means and ends. To the architectural student the workshop seemed like a foreign land, its role as a mediator was not obvious; what it offered to make ideas into objects was inert rather than active.




Knowledge of the outside is not the sole province of jewellery majors. A discussion between a jewellery major and a jewellery minor concerning the acquisition of materials (aluminium sheet) from outside the workshop is an example. The nonmajor knew of an outside source and how to access it whilst the major did not. Knowledge to serve the workshop is not dependent on knowledge of the arcane world of the workshop.

Outside the workshop knowledge of the world is divided equally among those reliant on the workshop and those not. In fact those with less knowledge of the work shop can often help those with more knowledge because they are not encumbered with the codes and disciplines of workshop life. Students are not the only workshop residents; conversations with others associated with it open up its world from other perspectives. For instance a temporary replacement technician had been appointed for the week. His consent as a research subject and interest in the research project was an opportunity to talk to an outsider who knew jewellery making (he had his own manufacturing business) and worked occasionally in an academic workshop: an opportunity to talk about the difference between the two venues. He was keen to continue the conversation during tea break in the staff lounge: outside the workshop.

The conversation turned to the perennial question in the art/craft debate, what is the best way to learn jewellery making, mastering technique and exploring ideas or generating ideas and applying technique. The researcher argued an alternative route: technique is ideas; the objects of jewellery (practice or teaching) are embodied in the necessities of making. Integrating technique and ideas might satisfy the intellectual objectives of the university and the technical skills needed for jewellery practice. He did not differentiate between academic jewellery and the trade, arguing that thorough grounding and practice in the techniques of jewellery making prior to making objects is as necessary for university jewellers as it is for trade apprentices.

The course co-ordinator joined the conversation and talked about the relative importance of developing hand/eye/brain skills in a short university degree course. The production course is based on a single difficult hand skill, saw piercing at a constant angle. Should precious time be given to practicing this skill or should it be



bypassed by supplying tools and machines to students which predetermine the crucial relationship between angles and thicknesses. Which is most important in university workshops, the skill of die making or the concept behind its manufacture and use? What do university jewellery graduates do when they finish their degree, set up small workshops and make and sell their own work or work as designers using their knowledge of die making to design work to be made by others? The saw guides set at the correct angle and attached to each of the benches for the production techniques course limited skill development to managing the piercing saw. He wondered if it would be better to learn by making and correcting mistakes rather than using the “calculations” predetermined by the pre-set angle of the saw guide. Would it be better to practice these "calculations" as eye/hand/brain skills and develop skill development, knowledge and practice which could be transferred to other jewellery courses?

The question of what comes first, technique or ideas, is a dilemma for university workshops. They have an obligation to cover both - but does learning technique inhibit the manifestation of ideas (and do some ideas demand "bad" technique?) and is the manifestation of ideas inhibited by not having the technical skills to manifest them or are technical skills learnt through necessity. Introducing jewellery making to university students is steeped in art school methods of idea generation. Jewellery making is introduced to students with the idea behind object rather than the skill and technique to make it. Visiting a teacher’s introductory jewellery class endorsed this contention. It was held in a design studio rather than a workshop and they were making paper and card models for, or about the body to be later reproduced in metal using simple tools in the workshop.

Later when the paper and card models were translated into metal objects the idea was, to a degree, subverted by the more difficult to manage metals and tools. The teacher talked about how the translation from one material to another changed the original concept of the paper and card model. Materials also have a “voice”; different materials will speak differently about a common concept but so does the environment which processes them: in the studio students made ideas, in the workshop they made jewellery.




Conversations "oil the machinery" of the workshop and help to make objects. Conversations carried on within differing power structures “oil the machinery” differently and produce different objects.

The workshop was locked and the corridor deserted. A locked workshop is mysterious; perhaps the class had been cancelled or a catastrophe inside had occurred. No staff members were present; in fact the only humans were two students waiting in the corridor for the day to begin. The researcher talked with them about their interest in jewellery making, where it came from and what they expected from a jewellery course: bringing the workshop out into the corridor.

A workshop is rendered benign when the humans are barred - space and objects can be virtually opened by conversation and activated by human presence. When the workshop is eventually opened, formal human workshop relations which organised and structured the day up until now are absent; it is up to the workshop and students. The workshop springs into action as the serious making begins.

The workshop is a now place of practice where student skill levels are increased and gradually become as one with the workshop. The workshop is a macro actor; it is in full flight. With its authority students are designing, cutting and testing die shapes and object ideas. The workshop is doing what it knows best, it is in its element. The workshop quickly dispenses with anything but its core operations as it increasingly manages to get its own way.

Nevertheless the workshop is not in complete control, some humans refuse to come, others will not stay, experts arrive and interfere and things arrive or are left behind from other courses. For instance the teacher brought in outside paper work, a book “Cheap Thrills in the Jewellery Workshop” for students to peruse. It promoted a counter workshop by offering cheap alternatives to the traditional workshop tools and machines it was visiting. The teacher discussed the author, his Internet site and the work shops he has held in Australia with any interested students. An American hydraulic press workshop is announced for later in the year. The Internet and visitors offer the workshop mobile and virtual tools now possible because of rapid communication and transport systems not available in the past.




Diagrams explaining riveting techniques were left on the white board from a previous class - outside paper work but available to the workshop to dispense at any time. A sort of “paper work” residue spills over from one class to the next blending and subverting the homogenous nature of discrete courses.

When things from outside the course are brought in, left over or offered for future use, they enable one to revisit past experiences and glimpse possible futures. Workshop boundaries are arbitrary constructs and can be broken when new, alternative or past possibilities appear or reappear. The issue of student absence, lateness, or erratic attendance is raised when workshop boundaries are diffused. A discussion with the teacher on this issue ensues without drawing conclusions or strategies.

Erratic attendance is a concern for the workshop as the end of the semester looms. Is attendance significant for the successful completion of the course or is the course satisfied by other actions elsewhere? Is the concentration and effort required not sustainable over the course? Is the workshop environment too demanding? Perhaps the workload across the programme is such that it is not possible to spend four and a half continuous hours per week on a single university course. This is the right time for the researcher to collect data as the students are not encumbered by formal obligations to the workshop; the workshop is now making objects and does not seem to mind interruptions. The course is at the right stage to look for students who are willing to talk and respond to the prepared question sheets. Finding and talking to jewellery majors, explaining the questions and the value of the research was the first step.

Deciding on the content of the question sheets and enrolling subjects is a stressful process. Was I leading them to a prescribed actor network? Perhaps the questions should have concerned making objects in a workshop and later applying ANT to look at the responses. Would interviews have been a better option? Was the questionnaire too open ended? The aim was to find a group of jewellery majors to respond to twenty six questions on their relations with the workshop. After six sets of questions were printed and five willing subjects found the number of questions, what they were about, and a time frame was discussed in some detail.




One of the aims of a hands-on course is getting hands, tools and machines to collaborate and manifest a concept or idea into an object. They are actors which make choices, arrange detours, participate in rationalisations, act on chance, and accept serendipity, etc. in an effort to find a network that will make the object of their desire. In this setting (the macro actor, the workshop at work) the teacher is a resource filling gaps (upsets) and solving problems when seen, heard or smelled and providing mediation when necessary to maintain the workshop network. Conflict over numbers and the nature of objects arises again at the end of a course. The teacher and a student are engrossed in a controversy about number and nature in an effort to satisfy the institutional mandate, student desire, teacher authority and the mission of the course. Numbers and nature, clearly spelt out in the assessment criteria at the beginning of the course are up for negotiation at the end because they have been rewritten by the experiences of students and/in the workshop. The task of maintaining the teacher's authority and the underlying purpose of the course whilst satisfying the individual and educational needs of the student in the context of the institutional mandate requires a delicate touch. For instance one student interpreted the course as a means of making a single autonomous object made up of a configuration of identical units whilst the teacher interpreted it as a means of making a number of identical or similar but separate objects. The controversy between numbers (one or twenty) and nature (exhibition object or inexpensive production objects) was resolved by compromise and negotiation by the teacher and the student marking his work as an eligible candidate for assessment.

The building of a new "fact" by negotiating numbers and nature can resolve an assessment controversy. It highlights how a previously immutable "fact" can be modified so that humans and non-humans involved can negotiate new number and nature agreements, in fact, a new "fact". Negotiations such as these are common in workshop life. In this pre-assessment stage objects are shaping up for the big occasion. They are either shedding aberrations which do not conform to institutional demands or constructing justifications to contest them. The humans involved are also preparing for the occasion, the students with presentation strategies and words and the teacher with dates, time, place and procedure. A primary decision for the teacher is whether assessment should be carried out with or without the students. Could the objects speak for themselves or were they at risk of being appropriated to support the assessor’s point of view when separated from the maker’s support? The teacher



proposed continuous assessment during the course because knowledge of the final assessment process early in the making process limits student “creativity” and may determine what the objects looks like at the end.

Whether objects should speak for themselves or whether they are only part of a network of human (makers, assessors, wearers or users) and non-human actors (tools, machines, furniture and spaces), indispensable to their existence is a crucial question raised by formal assessment. Pre-assessment time was characterised by its quietness, small attendance and traffic in and out of the workshop. Small and erratic attendance could be dead-line related, the end of the semester is closing in and all courses in the student programme are demanding attention at the same time. A notice appeared without introduction on the white board heralding the end of the course.

Project 3 Edition of 10 – or as discussed with R…

250 word essay Briefly outlining the concept of the work and discussing the design process (technical and aesthetic) work and essay due Thursday June 27th 9 am

Don’t forget presentation

The notice signified the end of the course and a reminder of the necessary assessment objects and time and place of assessment. For the teacher it was time to assess the student work and the efficacy of his teaching, for the students to promote objects compromised by the limitations of time and for the researcher time is up, is there enough data, does it mean anything…..?

"Finished" objects stripped of the means for change and development herald a stressful period in workshop life. Time is up for everybody interested in the workshop objects.



The assessment arrangements result from a discussion between the course coordinator and the teacher. Assessment procedures are a means of appraising the course and grading the human’s activities in the workshop. A number of options were discussed including the relative value of group and individual assessment. The assessment details are to be formalised by the course co-ordinator at end of the day.

Leaving assessment procedures in a state of flux till the end of a course is not such a bad idea. The events of the course will never be identical each time it is presented even when the introductory paper work remains unchanged. Students (groups and individuals), teachers and workshops remake the course in new forms on each occasion. Workshops modify assessment criteria. To finalise assessment arrangements the teacher, co-ordinator and researcher retired to the staff lounge to discuss assessment protocol and procedures. The discussion was cautious in the beginning, tentatively proposing and evaluating opinions. Although the conversation often strayed from the topic, proposals gradually emerged and took shape. Much of the discussion concerned the relationship between the course and the students and what it meant to them in terms of learning. Finally it was decided three approaches would be used; the students would read their previously written 250 word essay to the group, they would set up a display of their work as a mini exhibition and they would discuss their work with the teacher on a one to one basis. The course co-ordinator then left to prepare the assessment paper work.

Over cups of coffee and tea assessment was separated from the course and the workshop in which it was conducted. It was decided that all who had a hand in the manifestation of the course should be involved in its assessment, the coordinator, teacher, students, and the researcher as an onlooker. Later that day the prepared assessment documentation was distributed via email formally outlining the procedure and time table for assessment. It consisted of a Assessment protocol sheet, Where, When, What and Times sheet and Activities sheet, and an outline of the purpose of the course, the criteria for grading the work, the grades and the relationship between the course expectations and the university expectations, a sheet in the form of a table detailing separately the grading and criteria for assessment and a group feed back sheet where students could comment on the course.



The workshop had done its job - this assessment, unlike the earlier one would be carried out outside the workshop, in a quasi exhibition setting away from the world of the workshop. A notice placed on the white board outlines the procedure for students to formally evaluate the course.

Q101 Jewellery Production Techniques Course Home page – course evaluation 9.30 – 10 am The computer pool is booked for you to do the course evaluation for this course or you can do it at home if you have internet…….

Not only is it time for the work produced by students to be evaluated but it is time for the students to evaluate the course which produced the work. How well did the workshop manage the course? The last workshop day, a time to fine tune objects for assessment, the transition period between making objects in the workshop and defending them in the assessment "court room". The students, waiting for a new regime of confinement and interrogation on assessment day are busy fine tuning objects freed from the teacher, paper work, skill development, but alone with any problems incurred in the workshop. This brief autonomy permits inter-student display, consideration of now not possible alternative approaches to the course and getting the objects to look their best. Students have something to show as the course is about to leave the workshop and be reformed as paper work.

There is no formal instruction during “swot vac”. The large workshop where the course was taken is locked and those who still need to work had to use a smaller access workshop. The only staff member available is the studio

technician/storeperson. Use of the access workshop is for one week only: the week prior to assessment.




The lock out, the workshop denies access to the students and their work, it no longer has any role to play in the shape and form of the objects, they now must use a temporary space or go it alone. This is the hiatus between the prescribed course outcomes and the autonomous object before it is converted into paper, words and numbers. The next phase in the object's life cycle (its immutable mobility?) is during and after assessment which will eventually lead to severance with its exclusive ties with the workshop, the jewellery department, the art school and the university.

This is the last formal workshop contact the researcher has with the course, students and staff although the connections made with the jewellery department will enable ongoing relationships.

It is assessment day for the pancake die and batch production project. The handout states that assessment is to begin in the morning after the students set up their work for display and finish early afternoon when all the work is to be collected and removed from the studio.

The objects are to be evaluated and removed from the institution, their existence is to be translated into words and numbers and the objects are either destroyed, recycled or reconstituted as objects of desire. The assessment venue is a studio away from the workshop reconfigured as a quasi exhibition space by arranging small tables in a U shape and covering them with clean sheets of paper. This differs from the mid semester assessment, the objects are now separated from the tools, machines and general ambience of the workshop which made them. Exhibition and display is somewhat like a half way house for objects, although they are to a degree autonomous they are still constrained by their role as learning and teaching objects but yet to be mobilised by the desire of a wearer. Many students have seriously taken up the exhibition model by staging their objects in settings which exhort their presence and enhance their appeal to the viewer/assessor. Paper, cloth and found objects are used either to highlight or camouflage the objects, depending on whether the student wants the objects to be above or within their surroundings. Prior to the assessment the staff and the researcher move around the exhibition informally commenting on the displays. The assessment appears to be designed to compare the objects with the aims of the course rather than comparing one student’s work with the next.



Presentation is intended to enhance the capacity of the environment to display the objects in the best light and is important as a means of guiding the object’s entry into the world. The students are gathered in readiness for the assessment process. They start by reading from their previously prepared 250 word essays to the group. At least this was the intent. Very few actually read from the essays, preferring to make off the cuff statements and remarks about their work. Perhaps the familiarity with each other and their work legitimated this informality. The teacher commented after each statement either in the form a summation or question.

This phase was about students talking about their work to the group and the teacher responding to their statements. The process of translating objects into words and numbers had begun. Before this got underway a brief informal feedback session ensued. The teacher asked for comments on the course.

This was a verbal version of the evaluation sheets the university asked for and the comment sheets the jewellery department wanted. After a break the individual reviews commenced. Each student was allowed five minutes with the teacher to talk about their displayed work and anything else related to the course. The researcher observed and noted key elements of each of these dialogues. The course co-ordinator talked with some students after their session with the teacher.

The conversations were short (unless there was a controversy) and were guided by the displayed work on the table. Generally the student spoke first and the teacher reacted to both the student's talk and the work itself. The teacher used an identical mark sheet for each student to guide but not dictate the direction of the conversation.




Another dimension is added to the presentation of the object. It is entering the world which it is meant to inhabit, transferred from the interests of its maker to the desires of a user. It is no longer only an exhibition object but rather one that responds to the personal desires of an individual, albeit in this instance in an artificial world of an institution and by one of its agents. The fate of the students and objects are now in the hands of the institution, their fate to be later encapsulated permanently in words and numbers.

The objects are now complete as their function as assessment objects completes the making process. They are separated from the workshop and its humans although traces of both remain. Their fate now lies in the relationships they form in the outside world with the humans and non-humans they encounter along the way. Nevertheless their days are numbered. It was time to collate and review the data, where it came from and what it might mean. Data collection is not a fluid process, it never runs smoothly, students and staff are preoccupied with their own concerns, assisting the researcher is not, nor should it be, a high priority. The researcher’s initial organisation fell into an amorphous pile. The collected essays, journals and question sheet responses now had to be turned into something which looked like formal workshop research projects.

The Workshop Research: the overall approach Summary This is an outline of the overall approach to two workshop research tasks. In both tasks student paper work is analysed in the context of institutional paper work.

The notion of paperwork to paperwork as a method of exploring institutional texts in a workshop setting is extrapolated from Latour’s (1987, pp. 21- 63) lengthy discussion on literature in “Science in Action”.

Paperwork in the context of the workshop research is generated by the production of material and discursive objects. Words and numbers used to disseminate institutional requirements and record their outcomes are collected and analysed as a method for interpreting workshop life. It is based on the premise that paper work both produces material and discursive objects and later replaces them enabling the abandoned objects to remain alive and revisited by proxy. The word "paper" is a



metaphor appropriated from the non-digitised past and refers to any available recording or reading technology, such as paper, tape, disk, screen, etc.

The residency in the jewellery workshop was originally intended to explore an “industrial” site in a university where academic knowledge is generated and disseminated. Early in the residency it became clear that the workshop’s responsibility, other than teaching students to make jewellery objects, was also a clearing house for institutional mandates. As the two agendas met in the workshop (student’s intent on learning jewellery making and the university intent on manifesting its core interests) it was decided to collect, consider and analyse data which epitomised the encounter. Two research tasks surfaced from the large amount of raw data collected on this basis, both involving workshop paperwork. The first explores the premise that students rewrite instructional institutional paperwork when they make objects in the workshop by infusing them with personal and sub-cultural objectives. The second explores the premise that paperwork rewritten by students as objects infused with personal and sub-cultural objectives rewrites assessment paperwork as new institutional paper work during mandatory assessment processes.

Institutional workshop paperwork is not plucked from thin air; it is authored on the knowledge, skills, experience and competence of administrators, educators, artists and craftspeople with a vested interest in both agendas. That is, institutional paper work is constructed by the vested interests of others who have previously made “objects” as a basis for the paper work they author, endorse and implement in the workshop. Students then use the institutional paper work to produce objects to produce new paper work. New student paper work such as assessment and other institutional records, student journals, records of sale, visual images, etc. influences the next round of institutional paper work by suggesting amendments, corrections and directional changes. The cycle of paperwork, objects, paperwork continues alternatively excising and adding students, objects and workshops from and to the loop.

Nevertheless some paperwork is imported from outside the institution and influences how new paper work is produced (Latour, 1987, p. 31). Paperwork from outside acts similarly to citations in written texts; it enables students to bring



outside authorities to bear on both their paperwork and institutional paperwork, authorities that, consciously or unconsciously, are taken into account when new paper work is written. In the case of the jewellery workshop, other jewellers, theorists, writers, critics, gallery directors, marketers and salespeople, grant bodies and specialist organisations not formally linked to the workshop influence institutional and student paper work through books, journals, magazines, catalogue essays, grant applications, sales records and organisation accreditation criteria. Although these influences are beyond the scope of the study it is important they are considered as one of the limitations of the research. The assertion that institutional paper work is contested and rewritten by students and modified by imported paper work cannot be ignored if they want to "pass" the course.

Other factors also impinge on the student’s interpretation of the institutional texts such as the teacher’s informal verbal explanations and demonstrations, the cultural, educational and technical capital students and teachers bring with them and the resources drawn from sites within the university but outside the jewellery workshop. Nevertheless by looking at how students relate to institutional texts a general picture of their relevance can be gained. But “paper first” is an institutional approach to object making which seems to be accepted without question. Bamberger (1991) in her paper “the Laboratory for Making Things” questions the notion of “paper first” after observing and theorising the scantily researched dichotomy between “natural” makers who design, make and understand by doing but have difficulty applying and writing texts and those who need or desire explanatory paperwork prior to making. For many starting with the hands and then drawing the texts into the making process as the object grows is a more natural approach to making. Many academic workshop courses (including the one studied) are based on the first approach, that is abstract institutional texts (verbal and written) are introduced prior to making, and making is written about by students during and after the making process.

Focusing on paper work is a way of exploring the relations between workshop operations and other agendas, in the case of this study, those imposed by the university. Institutional and student paper work reformed by workshop practice and knowledge, can be the basis for considering the workshop as a model site for curriculum writing. Does the authority of the institutional paper work give authority



to the personal paper work, or is the institutional paper work merely a starting point for the production of new paper work? Does it matter from where the authority of the paper work emanates or is it necessary to know the motives of those who instigate and implement it?

In order to contextualise the two research projects field notes taken during the residency have been presented prior to the two formal analyses in the workshop narrative “The Workshop makes Objects”. The narrative transcriptions and observations preceding the formal analyses enable the lively, social, often chaotic activities of the workshop to bear on cold and somewhat abstract research.

Hence the three interacting strands of the research in order of presentation are: 1. a narrative transcription and commentary from the researcher's journal 2. an analysis of, and student response to, instructional introductory institutional paper work 3. an analysis of, and student responses to, institutional assessment paperwork

As a general guide to both research tasks Latour’s No.2 rule of method and his first principle (Latour, 1987, pp. 258-259) are acknowledged: • Latour's No. 2 rule of method - “To determine the objectivity or subjectivity of a claim, the efficiency or perfection of a mechanism, we do not look for their intrinsic qualities but at all the transformations they undergo later in the hand of others”. • And his first principle - “the fate of facts and machines is in later users’ hands; their qualities are thus a consequence, not a cause, of a collective action”.

Research such as this can only be taken at face value if it is assumed that institutional texts are read by its human research subjects. Asking students to read the texts prior to the research stifles the “everyday” of workshop life but assuming they do not read them limits the efficacy of the research. The best to be done is to rest on Latour's (1987, p. 60) claim that people use three strategies when confronted with paper work, giving up, going along or working through and hope the content



of the institutional paperwork is ingested by one, or a combination, of these strategies. Giving up is the most common strategy; people do not always read texts, they go their own way, going along the subject reads and believes the author’s assertion without question and, in fact, assists in its claim by going along with it without dispute. Working through is the least common requiring reenactment of the steps which led to the claim under exactly the same conditions used by the author. Although institutional texts are not always read they nevertheless must seep into the social and technical networks in the workshop because students ultimately need them to fulfill course requirements.

Application 1: institutional paperwork and workshop objects Summary In Application 1 the content of the institutional paper work is placed against what students thought, wrote (and drew) before, during and after they made objects in the name of institutional paper work. The analysis rests upon responses to questionnaires, study of personal journal entries and the content of a short essay.

This section is predicated on Latour’s aforementioned rule of method and first principle. Rather than searching for the intrinsic implications of the institutional texts, it is “the transformations they undergo later in the hand of others” which impels the analysis. In this case the others are a class of jewellery production students and in particular four students selected for closer scrutiny. Included in the transformation is the researcher who interprets and analyses the texts and his mentor, Latour, always lurking in the background trying to keep things in his domain.

Although student objects start from institutional paper work they are modified by student interventions and production of new paper work.

The paperwork, collected from the institution includes university, school of art, jewellery programme and jewellery production techniques course texts. The paperwork collected from students include responses to a questionnaire, journal entries and a 250 word essay from four jewellery majors named as A, B, C and D.




Questions asked of the institutional paperwork are: 1. what did the university paper work ask of the students? 2. what were the student's responses to the questionnaire on institutional paper work? 3. what did the student’s journals say about the interpretation of the institutional texts? 4. what did the student's say about the course in the 250-word essay? 5. in each of these cases did the student responses to the institutional texts rewrite the workshop course and if so how?

A collective analysis of student responses to institutional paper work To understand student response to institutional paperwork it is necessary to firstly analyse its content. Four institutional texts, the university core objectives, the school of art modus operandi, the jewellery department aims and the course outline for Jewellery Production Techniques, were analysed in the light of student response to a questionnaire, their journal entries and in a short essay. The questionnaire asked four students (A, B, C and D) to interpret institutional paper work, their journals, encouraged by the teacher but not assessed, were a source of day to day interpretation of the course and the 250 essay, mandatory paper work on individual techno/aesthetic evaluations of their work throughout the course, was a course post mortem.

Part 1: Before the course: institutional paperwork and student objects The institutional paperwork analysed are: 1. University wide texts: from University Graduate Qualities document 2. School of art texts: from South Australian School of Art website 3. Programme texts: from South Australian School of Art - Jewellery + Metal website 4. Course texts: from a student handout –Jewellery Production Techniques.




The result of the analysis is in two parts; the first shows the main institutional objective (highlighted) and the second, a collective summation of the text content which led to the main institutional objective.

The university wide texts The university’s core mission as outlined in the University Graduate Qualities document. The Graduate: The ideal graduate is a professional; a lifelong learner and problem solver who can adapt to either individual or collaborative work practices, is ethical and is capable of taking her/his place in the community.

South Australian School of Art Art school objectives from its website The Student: As well as acquiring practical, problem solving and research skills and developing creatively through self-expression the student should be passionate about art and consider it as a potential career.

The jewellery department metals programme The jewellery and metal programme outline for enrolled and/or prospective students. The Object: A crafts practitioner should be able to produce objects that are both conceptual and practical by exploring a range of alternative, precious and non-precious materials for the body.

The course - jewellery production techniques The Course statement, for distribution to jewellery students enrolled in this course. The Market: Use innovative, simple techniques to produce marketable, saleable objects that will support both a lifestyle and a passion for the craft.

In brief the four texts collectively refer to the graduate in the community, the student at art school, the object for the body and the market to sustain a career and lifestyle.




For students or prospective students, outcomes from The Jewellery Production Course depend on the interaction of, and relations between, the aims and values of these four sectors encompassed in the course, Jewellery Production Techniques.

Table 10 shows the intersection the four texts: Interaction of, and relations between, the four institutional texts
University Graduate Student professional Lifelong learner School of Art career Creative problem solving skills, creativity, self expression, passion Practical skills Jewellery and metal programme Crafts practitioner, The course - batch production Supports artist lifestyle

Object Market Work practices, community

Conceptual and practical works, materials and processes

Innovative and "low tec" techniques Wide audience, sold through retail outlet. Capitalise on design development

Table 10

Institutional text analysis - inferences Students must concede to the demands of university, art school, jewellery programme and course texts in order to successfully complete the course, Jewellery Production Techniques, by manifesting new paperwork by the production of objects in the workshop.

The four institutional texts promote the course as a well rounded university experience by including the graduate, the student, the object and the market, a comprehensive education if embraced by the students taking the course. If students interpret and use the texts according to institutional demands they would fulfil the requirements of university study considered to be important in the texts. However the four texts conflict with each other. For instance the ideal art school student may not be interested in making material objects, “creativity” does not have to include material objects nor would they necessarily be interested in markets. Thus the question: did the students interpret the texts as prescribed or did their actions in the workshop rewrite them as new texts?

Table 10 illustrates the interaction between the institutional texts. The construction of the graduate in the university texts is reinforced in the school of art as a career, in the jewellery and metal programme as a crafts practitioner and the course as an



artist's lifestyle. The construction of the student in the university texts is as a lifelong learner and in the art school as a creative problem solver but is not represented in either of the jewellery department texts. The object is not represented in the university texts but referred to in the art school, the jewellery programme and the course and the market is mentioned only in the university and course texts.

The Hand and the Object The university texts are graduate oriented; concerned with how the university is represented when the graduates take their place in the community: the hand and the object as producers of useful citizens. The art school texts are student orientated and are directed towards how the art school would like to be known, predominantly a site for the production of the of self and creativity: the hand and the object as producers of creative, problem solving self-expressive people. The jewellery and metal programme texts focus upon the material and conceptual object as a formal entity, a world within itself: the hand and the object as producers of a form of material culture. The market is referred to most strongly in the course texts; it is overtly "commercial" and orientated towards supporting a way of life by capturing an audience: the hand and object as producers of economic capital.

To consider the translation and transformation of the institutional texts the inferences, graduate in the community, the student at art school, the object for the body and the market to sustain a career and lifestyle are considered with the analysis of student responses to a questionnaire, in student journals and by a short essay. Firstly the questionnaire -

Part 2: About the course: student response to the institutional paperwork questionnaire Four students were asked four questions referring to their reading (or perception) of the above four institutional texts disseminated by the institution, texts which could influence the shape and form of the objects they make. Specifically the students were asked what an object might look like according to their interpretation of texts supplied by four levels in the institutional hierarchy – at the general university level, the art school level, the jewellery department level and the course level.




The analysis consisted of student responses to, and researcher’s interpretation of the following set of questions:

Question 1 - "What did you think a “university” object should look like according to your understanding of a university’s core mission"?

The researcher's collective interpretation of the responses to the university object varied from being unclear and too concerned with economics, should exhibit a good finish, represent the acquisition of knowledge, show the interface between technique and idea, skill, personal style and experimentation to striking, elaborate but boundless.

Question 2 - "What do you think an “art school” object should look like according to your reading of BVA texts"?

The researcher's collective interpretation of the responses varied from design, originality and personal development, a reflection of the learning environment, underlying concept rather than appearance, show personal effort, encompass contemporary theories and traditional influences to artistic, original and aesthetically pleasing.

Question 3 - "What do you think a “jewellery department” object should look like according to your reading of their texts"?

Researcher's collective interpretation of the responses varied from design, originality, personal development, reflection of the learning environment and to being well made. It should also fit the course guidelines and the course aims, exhibit new skills, show a personal and creative touch, appeal to the viewer and exhibit good craftpersonship and an eye for detail.

Question 4 - "What did you think the object expected from this course would look like according to your reading of the course paper work supplied by the jewellery department'?




Researcher's collective interpretation of the student varied from disinterest in course paperwork to wearability, jewellery scale and a good finish. It also should show appropriate making techniques, experimentation, highlight the processes and skills and their use learnt in the course. The correct number of objects and the use of the production techniques from the course should be displayed as well as lack of complication, good construction, professionalism and good craftpersonship.

Table 11 shows the intersection between the institutional texts and student responses.

Student responses and institutional paperwork
Student A University object Not clear because the university does not present a clear understanding of its core mission - too concerned with economics Quality of finish, show an accumulation of knowledge, intersection of technique and ideas, university -objects are boundless Exhibit learned skills, personal style and experimentation Art school object Emphasise design and originality, personal development and understanding in a learning environment Jewellery dept. object Emphasise design and originality, personal development and understanding in a learning environment Course object Not influenced by course paper work

Student B

Can look like anything but must have an underlying concept

Should be well made and fit the guidelines given

Student C

Student D

Show professional finish, striking and elaborate

Show personal effort and encompass contemporary theories and traditional influences Should be artistic, original and aesthetically pleasing

Show lessons learnt in the workshop, new skills, and personal and creative touch Should be appealing, well crafted and detailed

Should be wearable, to jewellery scale, well finished, appropriately made, show experimentation and use the processes learnt in the semester. It should show the skills taught and how they can be used Make the number asked, use production techniques, not too complicated, well constructed and professional looking Should be professional and well crafted

Table 11

Analysis of questionnaire response – inferences Table 11 illustrates the interaction between the institutional texts and student responses. The relations between the institutional texts and student response are interpreted by matches and mismatches. The first analysis looks at whether student response to the four questions on institutional paper work went along with the analysis of institutional texts. The responses appear as lists in the student’s own words.




University texts: nil went along.

Art school texts: they went along by agreeing on originality, personal development, understanding in a learning environment, be concept based, show personal effort and be artistic and original

Jewellery programme texts: they went along by agreeing an object should be well made, conform to guidelines, show workmanship skills, show new skills, be well crafted and detailed

Course texts: they went along by agreeing on wearability, scale, appropriateness of manufacture and numbers

The second analysis concerns how student responses to the four questions on institutional paper work rewrote the institutional texts.

University texts: they rewrote the university texts as economics, finish, knowledge, relations between technique and ideas, unboundedness, learned skills, personal style, experimentation and as striking and elaborate

Art school texts: they rewrote the art school texts as design, to look like anything, to encompass contemporary theories and traditional influences and be aesthetic

Jewellery programme texts: they rewrote the jewellery programme texts as design, originality, personal development, personal touch, creative touch and appeal

Course texts: they rewrote the Jewellery Production Course texts as not requiring paperwork, experimentation, use of processes, use of taught skills, use of course techniques, uncomplicated, well constructed, well crafted and well finished

According to Table 11 the students did not emphatically differentiate between the four strands of institutional paper work, although the art school and course texts were the most clearly matched. Such things as originality, concept and artistry were mentioned as understood in the construction of the art school student and course texts by production and the market. The jewellery programme strongly promoted



adherence to institutional requirements in particular its emphasis on craft qualities. The university object was the most distanced from the workshop and thus the least clearly articulated. The student responses to the university texts borrowed from the other three institutional texts, re-covering ground such finish, skills, style and appearance as well as the acquisition of knowledge.

In their response to the institutional texts student's hands and objects were mainly concerned with art school and the Jewellery Production Course aims.

Part 3: During the course: student journals The student journals, described here as continuous paper work, ostensibly used by students as an integral part of the production of objects, are analysed according to the researcher’s personal experience as a maker and teacher. The four students were asked to "Comment on the role continuous personal paper work plays/played in the production of your emerging object. What is its impact on both the technical and sensory/aesthetic aspects of your emerging object”?

The student’s briefly outlined how they use their personal journal (as continuous paper work) and the role it plays in the production of objects. The relevant sections of the journals were later scanned for meaning by the researcher for inferences contained in both word and image and the analysis encapsulated in one or two sentences.

The production of personal paper work is an adjunct to the production of objects and, in a sense, embodied in the object. When personal paper work and object are separated (because of failure, sale, loss, etc.) the paperwork remains as a record to either replace or "become" the object.

Student comments on continuous paperwork and researcher observations of student journal entries plots the process of transforming institution centred paperwork into student centred objects.




Student comments on continuous paper work and researcher's observations of journal entries
Student A B Student stated attitudes to continuous paper work (journal) Does not give journal work high priority. Works directly with materials Uses journal mainly to develop plans for objects - journal helps keep in touch with the ideas behind object making. Used as a planning tool Uses journal for drawing and testing ideas for objects rather than technique. Journal used to develop the form and aesthetics of the objects to be produced. Used journal as a visualising tool Claims to use journal to shape ideas into a form ready for production and to use drawings rather than words. Used as a technical planning tool Researcher's observations of student continuous paper work (journal) Used only as a reference for course information Journal sparsely used Used as a reference for die technique and course information and to test sample die shapes to select from. Technique and process as object. Journal used not only to develop form and aesthetic but also as sort of running narrative on the production of the objects. Contains historical and other references from outside the course and a few cursory notes on given technique, but ideas predominate. "Artist's" journal to explore ideas Contained drawings of finished pieces rather than developmental drawings leading up to finished drawings. Used to test finished motifs as plans for production. Written notes were mainly comments on these (almost) finished forms. Plans ready to transfer straight to objects



Table 12

Student journal analyses – inferences Journal work presents an opportunity for students to subvert or personalise institutional texts. They are an opportunity to test, in relative privacy, personal interests and passions in spite of institutional directives: an opportunity to rewrite institutional texts before they are modified to comply with institutional assessment criteria. Nevertheless journals are not popular with all workshop students, some begrudgingly use them and others start with good intentions but ignore them once the making is underway. Table 12 looks at the journals from two perspectives, on the left as student responses to the questionnaire and on the right observations by the researcher.

The responses to the journal question varied from irrelevancy to a general planning tool, a means to visualise finished objects and a method to bring technique and object together. The researcher's observations saw the journals as a repository of course information, a sorting of technique and process, an opportunity for an “artist” to explore ideas and as the basis for planning for production.

A correlation between student use of journals and the researcher's observations of it is born out in the table. A number of general functions of workshop journals are also articulated in this analysis such as idea development, planning technical



processes and matching limiting technique with material objects. As one student suggests, not every one wants or needs to use a journal to make material objects, bringing the resources of the workshop to bear on ideas and materials is also an effective approach. Educational institutions either demand or imply the use of journals as they fit well within the intellectual traditions of the academy and are available, if needed, for assessment. Journals are, in a sense, personalised course abstracts, a repository for, and a revelation of the application of the hand and the object in workshop production.

Part 4: After the course: the 250 word essay Part 4 looks at the institutional text analysis and its relation to the contents of a 250word essay written at, and for the end of the course. The essay topic copied verbatim from the whiteboard in the workshop – a 250 word essay briefly outlining the concept of the work and discussing the design process (technical and aesthetic) asked the students for a written exegesis to accompany their objects. This differs from the responses to the researcher's questions because it asked students to summarise their experiences after completing the course. Although they were not asked to consciously consider institutional texts in the essay question their construction of the course may incidentally comment on them. In effect, the essays (and the journals) constitute an examination of how institutional texts "seep into" workshop practice. What do the essays say about the course when institutional texts are replaced by objects for assessment?

Where in the essays are the institutional texts: is there a relationship between the institutional paperwork at the beginning of the course and the essay paper work written at the end of the course?

To probe these questions an analysis of the essays is compared with the analysis of the institutional texts (Table 13). The claim that the four institutional texts collectively refer to the graduate in the community, the student at art school, the object for the body and the market to sustain a career and a lifestyle is tested by an analysis of the 250 word essays. The essay analysis is presented in the table in black or grey text, black represents the major emphasis in the essays and grey the minor.




The relationship between institutional texts and student essays
Student A B C D Graduate – university texts Student – Art School texts Research Design, experiment Expression, research, passion, ideas, concepts, personal Object – jewellery dept. texts Materials, technique Technique, body, materials Object, body, materials, technique, tools, inscription Body, technique Market – course texts Analysis, time, production production production Sales, audience, money

Table 13

The 250 word essay – inferences Table 13 brings the course to a conclusion by tabling student essays with institutional texts. The essays were about student workshop experiences as they transformed institutional texts into personal texts. Each student was allotted a major (black) and minor (grey) key to illustrate their relations with the institutional texts. Student A was mainly concerned with materials and technique with a little on research and production. Student B was similar to A whilst C emphasised interest in expression, passion and ideas and the object and the market. Student D was mainly concerned with the market. There was little reference to the university texts in any of the essays.

The essay was intended to encourage students to think about why and how they made objects in the context of the course. The researcher was more interested in what the essays said about the institutional texts. Table 13 shows the four essays covered much of the ground outlined in the institutional texts except for the university texts.

Together the questionnaires, journals and essays are a source of data which test the statement that workshops rewrite institutional texts in the hands of students. The analysis of the questionnaire response, journals and essays suggested that student intentions resulted from the ongoing encounter with the workshop rather than the institutional texts.

The next testing ground for the paperwork to paperwork claim is assessment, the notion that the workshop which rewrote primary institutional texts by the production of objects sees them rewritten by the institution as assessment texts.



Application 2: Workshop assessment: assessment paperwork, workshop objects and the examination The examination combines the techniques of an observing hierarchy and those of a normalizing judgement. It is a normalizing gaze, a surveillance that makes it possible to qualify, to classify and to punish. It establishes over individuals a visibility through which one differentiates them and judges them. That is why, in all the mechanisms of discipline, the examination is highly ritualised. In it are combined the ceremony of power and the form of the experiment, the deployment of force and the establishment of truth. At the heart of the procedures of discipline, it manifests the subjection of those who are perceived as objects and the objectification of those who are subjected. The superimposition of the power relations and knowledge relations assumes in the examination all its visible brilliance. It is yet another innovation of the classical age that the historians of science have left unexplored. People write the history of experiments on those born blind, on wolf-children or under hypnosis. But who will write the more general, more fluid, but also more determinant history of the 'examination' - its rituals, its methods, its characters and their roles, its play of questions and answers, its systems of marking and classification? For in this slender technique are to be found a whole domain of knowledge, a whole type of power. One often speaks of the ideology that the human "sciences" bring with them, in either discreet or prolix manner. But does their very technology, this tiny operational schema that has become so widespread (from psychiatry to pedagogy, from the diagnosis of diseases to the hiring of labour), this familiar method of the examination, implement, within a single mechanism, power relations that make it possible to extract and constitute knowledge? It is not simply the level of consciousness, of representations and in what one thinks one knows, but at the level of what makes possible the knowledge that is transformed into political investment (Foucault, 1991, pp.184-185). Summary Two things are considered in Application 2, the institutional assessment requirements, and the process of assessment at the end of the course. Paperwork which guides assessment and the paperwork generated during assessment together permit another insight into the socio/technical world of the workshop.

The implementation and production of assessment paperwork opens pathways from one course to another from one level of a course to the next and authorises practice as a credentialed practitioner. Assessment paper work “qualifies, classifies or punishes” students, teachers and the course and, importantly, is source material for the revision of paper work for following generations of students, teachers and courses.



In Application 1 the researcher looked at the transformation of institutional paper work into student paper work by the production of workshop objects. Application 2 focuses on the paper work used to assess workshop objects and the paperwork produced by them as assessment grades and commentary in the form of records in words, letters and numbers.

A workshop course is resolved and accounted for similarly to any other university course, as a set of recorded words, letters and numbers estranged from the material and discursive objects used to make them. In this form they are more useable for the institution than their cumbersome ancestors because, as Latour said, they have three characteristics not available to their parent objects. First, in the knowing hands of “paper shufflers”, they become expedient data which encapsulates the proficiency of students, the expertise of teachers and the standing of institutions. Second, as paper work they are more mobile than the objects used to make them; they can travel quickly and easily between sites as needed and third, they are standardised enabling them to be mixed with other data to assess overall individual and institutional performance free from the limitations of the clumsy objects which made them (Latour, 1999, p.255).

Thus the aim is to consider the analysis of the institutional assessment texts in the light of the assessment process as they are "rewritten" to demonstrate the merits of the course, teacher, students and workshop objects as they seek the approval of the institution.

The analysis is in two parts, an analysis of the institutional texts that refer to assessment and an analysis of the assessment process which produce new texts.

Part 1: Analysis of institutional assessment paperwork Five examples of institutional assessment paperwork are analysed. They are the assessment criteria for the course, assessment for all assignments, assessment criteria for pancake die, assessment criteria for limited production and assessment criteria for studio sessions.




In Table 14 the assessment texts are analysed from three standpoints, the humans involved in their application, the non-humans enrolled in their construction and the actions assessment asks students to take to fulfill the criteria of the course.

Humans, non-humans and actions embodied in institutional assessment texts
Assessment texts Human involvement in assessment no Overall course assessment 0 nil Non-human involvement in assessment no 13 Work, materials, workshop, limited production, jewellery production, limited edition, batch production, techniques, local, national, contemporary, craft practice, limited production Assignments, due date, seven days, due date, disability Pancake die process, pancake die technique, stainless steel die, twenty pieces, accuracy, shape Course, limited edition, batch production, ten plus, tooling, process, design, concept Studio, skills, materials, lecture, studio, studio, weekly, lecture topics, projects/assignments, attendance, lecture, footwear, clothing, workshop, studios, safety glasses, grade, mark, studio, assessment, projects, studio, environment, studio, exercises Actions asked of students in assessment no 5 Demonstrate, understanding, develop, respond, demonstrate

Assessment for all assignments


Lecturer, technical officer, course coordinator your



Assessment criteria for pancake die Assessment criteria for limited production studio performance assessment




Submitted, collected, returned, resubmitted, extensions, presented Demonstrate, demonstrated, negotiate Opportunity, demonstrated, negotiate, produce Provide, opportunity, develop, demonstrated, learning, explore, working, participation, excluded, learning


You, your




Your, your, you, your, your, your, students, you, you







Table 14 Analysis of institutional assessment criteria - inferences In Table 14 the analysis searched for the dominant imperatives in the institutional assessment texts, that is were they located in the workshop object, as the embodiment of changes to the student maker or in the actions both the object and its maker were asked to perform in order to “pass” the course?

Assessment from the analysis is directed toward “non-human” criteria, (58 mentions) (the
non-human involvement in assessment),

whilst humans, (human

involvement in





and actions, (actions

asked of students in assessment),

together comprised of 43

mentions (15 human and 28 actions).

What then is assessment in the institutional texts? From the analysis it is making, knowing, using and presenting non-human objects. Who must make, know, use and present the non-human objects: the individual human, the student. And what actions need to be taken for the individual human, the student, to make, know, use and present, participation as an individual maker.

From the analysis, assessment network for institutional texts is making, knowing, using and presenting non-human objects as an individual human and demonstrating the results of individual action.

The analysis of the institutional assessment texts (Table 14) provides a background to an analysis of the assessment process (Assessment Theatre) to follow. If

Assessment Theatre is considered in the light of the above analysis what can be found when students (and teachers) make objects in the workshop which rewrite the assessment texts and, in fact, the introductory texts in Application 1.

Part 2: Assessment theatre: performing assessment Part 2 is called assessment theatre because course, student, teacher and object are asked to perform in front of an audience to marshal creditability for themselves and each other. The nexus between their inter-dependency and their individual interests relies on their ability to capture an audience (from the institution to fellow students) although it is possible for a "star" to emerge and dominate the stage. In a performance environment such as this all four actors (course, student, teacher and object) have to convince the institution of their creditability, the teacher no less because his/her creditability is embodied in the performance of the course, student performance and object as well as his own. There are two performances in Assessment Theatre the first when the object is performed in “public” by the students and teacher and the second, a more intimate affair, when the course, teacher, student and object perform a “four hander” for the institutional “mark” sheet.




The following analysis is in two sections the first is based on “public” or group performances and the second on the “four hander”. The first, the “public” or group performance, is divided in two sections, the mid-semester assessment and the end of course assessment.

The mid-semester “public” or group performance Although the two performances are explored together they differ in a number of ways, mainly because of disparities of time and place. The mid semester group assessment was held in the workshop amid benches, machines and tools and the end of course group assessment in a more formal, quasi-exhibition setting separated physically and conceptually from the workshop. These differences influence the “importance” of the events and student’s attitude toward them. The socio/technical details influencing the events have been previously discussed in the work shop narrative "the Workshop Makes Objects". In this section the organisation and analysis is looked at, in both the mid semester and end of course assessment, by using a simple discourse analysis carried out by the researcher during the performance in front of the class and the teacher. The more substantial analysis, the one to one reviews with course, teacher, student and object, is dealt with in Part 3.

Mid semester group review Although there were twenty-one students participating in the mid semester review each only spoke for about a minute enabling the assessment to be finished in less than a half hour. No paper work was required from the students. The students were simply asked to talk about their objects to the group.

The below table is based on the dominant categories of interests found by the researcher in the voices of students as they talked about their work to the class in the workshop.




Student main concerns
A Student “Useful” object B Concept or idea C Technical problems or difficulties D Explanation of technique E Transformation of technique to object

1 + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + At this point the teacher suggested they talk more about ideas than technical difficulties & problems 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Total + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 7 + + 12 + 6 4 2 +

+ + +

+ +

Table 15

Mid semester group review - inferences Based on student talk Table 15 tells us something about how they individually and collectively responded to the course. The total responses from the table is 30(A+B+C+D+E=30) consisting of 7A, 11B, 6C, 4D and 2E. “Useful” objects, concepts or ideas and technical problems or difficulties were the main responses comprising 24 out of the 30 responses. It is impossible to know how this table would have looked if the teacher had not intervened after student 5 and directed the talk towards ideas and away from technical difficulties. Although the numbers are not sufficiently substantial to draw conclusions the difference between before and after teacher intervention was discernable. For instance C, technical problems or difficulties, sits at 33% before and 17% after intervention, whilst before and after percentage for B, concepts and ideas, remained roughly the same (33% and 39%).

End of semester group performance The end of course assessment was much more elaborate than the first and was carried out in a space separate from the workshop and set up specifically for the assessment performance.



The first phase consisted of each student talking about their work to the group ostensibly from their previously prepared 250 word essay. In most cases the essay was not consulted, the students preferring to talk from their carefully displayed objects encouraging interventions from the teacher. This was a group phase: all were asked to look and listen as their name was called. Figure 16 was constructed from the researcher's notes taken during each student talk. It includes a single word précis of the teacher’s comments.

Student concerns and teacher comment
Student “Useful” object

Concept idea or

Technical problems or difficulties

Explanation technique of

Transformation technique to object of Teacher input affirmed exemplar instructed taught commented affirmed commented categorised categorised categorised instructed affirmed taught affirmed affirmed affirmed taught instructed affirmed

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Total

+ + +

+ + + + + + +


+ + + + + + + + + 11 + + + + + + 5

+ + + + +

+ 4 11


Table 16

End of semester group review - inferences Based on a transcription and analysis of student talk concerning their work Table 16 tells us something about how they individually and collectively responded to the course. The total responses from the table is 32 (A+B+C+D+E=32) consisting of 1A, 11B, 5C, 4D and 11E. Concepts or ideas and transformation from technique to object were the main responses comprising 22 out of the 32 responses. Intervention by the teacher revealed 5 affirmed, 1 exemplar, 2 instructed, 3 taught, 2 commented and 3 categorised. The teacher’s main response, affirmations, could be regarded as either a neutral reaction or a genuine endorsement of the student overview of their semester's work. Instructed and taught, although different in the sense that




instructions were aimed at the individual (what to do next, steps toward, improvement, etc.) whilst the opportunity to teach directed towards the group together made up 5 interventions.

Part 3: Individual reviews: (student, teacher, object) After a break the individual reviews commenced: each student was allocated five minutes with the teacher to talk about their work and anything else related to the course. The researcher sat in on each review and noted the key words used by the student and the teacher during the performance. The programme coordinator sat in on some performances and talked to some students and the teacher after their session.

The following word/number analysis tables result from sitting in on 18 course, teacher, student and object assessment performances. The conversations were short (unless there was a controversy) and included “interjections” by the objects displayed on a table. Generally the student spoke first and the teacher reacted to both the student's talk and the interjections of the objects. The teacher had an identical mark sheet for each student which guided but did not dictate the direction of the conversation. The researcher sat in on these conversations and listed words that denoted themes (eg materials, concept, etc) spoken by the student and the teacher. Student, teacher and objects were considered as single entities. The below raw analyses are constructed by identifying key words and their frequency of use during the conversation. The argument that assessment interests from both the perspective of the students and the teacher are located in the analysis underpins the analysis. The results of the overall analysis stem from 39 total key words used in the analysis, the basis of all the tables which follow. The table headings for word usage are: Shared key words, teacher + student - 13 Student only key words - 9 Teacher only key words - 17 Shared key words + student key words - 22 Shared key words + teacher key words – 30




Shared key words, teacher plus student Range and incidence of the 13 shared key words (used by both student and teacher)
Common key words technique tools materials number design time assessment human process concept idea display mechanics Student use 16 3 4 2 11 1 1 4 1 3 1 1 1 % of total key words (39) 41 7 10 5 28 2.5 2.5 10 2.5 7 2.5 2.5 2.5 Teacher use 11 6 6 2 15 5 3 1 3 1 1 7 2 % of total key words (39) 28 15 15 5 38.5 13 7 2.5 7 2.5 2.5 18 5

Table 17 Student only key words Range and incidence of 9 key words used only by students
Words used only by students outside negotiation variation development prototype cost market wearability Number of uses 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 % of total key words (39) 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5

Table 18 Teacher only key words Range and incidence of 17 key words used only by teacher
Teacher only key words student attendance quality detail series industry durability body presentation labels chemistry commitment explore work finish price aesthetics Number of uses % of total key words (39) 2.5 7 10 23 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 13 2.5 2.5 5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5

1 3 4 9 1 1 1 1 5 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1

Table 19




Shared key words + student key words The range and incidence of the 22 key words (student + shared) used by the students
Student key words Technique Tools Materials Number Design Outside Time Negotiation Assessment Human Process Concept Variation Development Mechanics Prototype Cost Idea Market Wearability Display Learning Number of uses 16 2 5 2 13 1 1 1 1 5 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 % of total key words (39) 41 5 13 5 33 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 13 2.5 8 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5

Table 20




Shared key words + teacher key words The range and incidence of the 30 key words (teacher + shared) used by the teacher
Teacher's words key Number of uses % of total key words (39) 31 15 13 46 5 2.5 10 8 13 23 2.5 13 5 5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 13 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5

Technique Tools Materials Design Process Student Time Attendance Quality Detail Concept Display Mechanics Number Series Industry Durability Body Presentation Assessment Labels Chemistry Human Commitment Explore Ideas Work Finish Price Aesthetics

12 6 5 18 2 1 4 3 5 9 1 5 2 2 1 1 1 1 5 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1

Table 21

A useful overall finding from the analysis was the disparity between the total key words used by student and teacher, 56 % in the case of the students 76% in the case of the teacher.

A comparison between the 39 key words ranked in order used by the students and the teacher revealed both disparity and overlap. They agreed that technique and design were important but differed on the next three on the top five on their lists. The top five student words were: 1. technique 2. design 3. materials/humans 4. concept and 5. tools/numbers




The top five teacher words were: 1. design 2. technique 3. detail 4. tools 5. materials/quality/display

Individual reviews - inferences The tables do not demand too much analysis, they speak for themselves. Nevertheless a reminder of what they are about will help to negotiate the researcher’s observations. Table 17 shows the words and frequency of use of 13 shared key words (used by both teacher and student), Table 18, the words and frequency of use of 9 key words used only by students, Table 19 the word and frequency of use of 17 key words only used by the teacher. Additionally Table 20 refers to the number of times 13 shared key words (used by both teacher and student) were used by the students and Table 21 the number of times 13 shared key words (used by both teacher and student) were used by the teacher.

Without identifying key words the tables were intended to convey the coincidence and disparity of interests between course, teacher, student and object during the individual reviews. For instance they showed that the teacher's interests were broader than the students (Tables 18 & 19), almost double, 17 key words only used by the teacher and 9 key words by the students, but they also shared a number of interests (13 key words) (Table 17). Nevertheless the frequency of use of the 13 shared key words was greater overall by the teacher than the students except for the word technique.

Although the name and frequency of use of key words is significant in showing coincidence or disparity between the teacher and students the words themselves are also important if the nature of the course is to be understood by its results. That is, if the course set out to achieve certain ends (see institutional assessment analysis) what did the assessment have to say about the fulfilment of these ends? By considering the analysis of the assessment paper work in the light of an analysis of the assessment process it is possible to consider how students read the paperwork when they produced objects in the workshop. For instance the ranking in order of



the number of times the 39 key words were used by the students (student's concerns) were: 1. technique, 2. design, 3. materials/humans, 4. concept, 5. tools/numbers,

The ranking in order of number of times the 39 key words were used by the teacher (teacher's concerns) were: 1. design, 2. technique, 3. detail, 4. tools, 5. materials/quality/display

These show a consistency of interests in the most frequently used words but a shift to other concerns in the less used words. Perhaps the coincidence in the most frequently used words (design and technique) simply means the students must fall into line with the teacher's interests in order to “pass” the course but once it has been fulfilled other student interests can be attended to.

Table 19, key words used only by the teacher, is particularly significant because it reveals three interests, detail, quality and presentation, not represented in the student only table (Table 18). In fact key words used only by students are not sufficiently significant in number to denote interests independent of the course.

The rewritten texts: institutional assessment paperwork and student reviews Application 2 culminated in a mire of tables, words and numbers that, although innately interesting did not necessarily lead to new insights on workshop assessment. But perhaps that is all the research set out to do (produce words and numbers) or indeed all it can do, research does seem to find its own way in spite of the researcher’s zealous attempts to direct it. The research was underpinned by the assertion that the fate of material and discursive objects would ultimately end up as words and numbers filed for later use. Why should the fate of workshop assessment



research be any different? The research, in a sense, has validated this assertion and completed its task if it makes available words and numbers for contextual use in other time and places. They are now imbued with the aforementioned three characteristics unavailable when only in the form of courses, teachers, students and objects: they can be shuffled, are mobile and easily mixed with other words and numbers in other contexts, times and places.

Nevertheless the aim of Application 2 was to explore the rewrite of institutional assessment texts when the workshop makes objects. Relating the institutional assessment text analysis with the analysis of the assessment process is the first step. The institutional assessment text analysis is précised as “Assessment from the analysis of the institutional texts is making, knowing, using and presenting nonhuman objects as an individual human and demonstrating the results of individual action”. How do the words and numbers which encapsulate the assessment process fit with this statement? The dominance of the non-human totalling 58 mentions aligns with the institutional assessment texts emphases on non-human objects. Humans and actions totalling 43 mentions, 15 human and 28 actions assigns actions as important in the assessment process and in correspondence with institutional assessment text actions such as making, knowing, using and presenting. The humans who must make, know, use and present are mainly the individual student in both analyses. From these general statements students make objects which rewrite the institutional assessment texts into forms similar to the requirements of institutional assessment texts.

A general overview such as the above merely states the obvious; students must conform to institutional requirements to “pass” the course. Perhaps investigating some of the detail in the tables might reveal more of the relationship between the institutional assessment texts and the assessment process. For instance Tables 18 and 19 illustrate the disparity of interests between student and teacher during the teacher/student/ reviews. But they do not say too much, key words used only by students are not sufficiently significant in numbers (out of 22 students only nine words are used and they are only mentioned once) but are of interest because they are not used by or shared by the teacher and they are all action words. Teacher key words are greater in number (17) and use and predominantly refer to non-human attributes such as quality, detail and presentation. Key words used by student and



teacher tend towards the non-human such as technique, design and materials although reference to the human is also significant there. The disparity between student and teacher interests is dissolved in Table 17 where their conversations are centred on two obvious aspects of objects, technique and design. Could it be that focus on the non-human aspects of the institutional texts (dominant in the institutional assessment text analysis) are directed by the teacher? It is of interest that in these conversations human qualities (not dominant in the institutional texts) are of interest to the students and not the teacher, a text rewrite perhaps. Table 20 shows the key words shared by the students and teacher were tabled with the key words used only by students the student key words remained the same whereas the shared words materials, design and human increased in usage (the key word technique remained the same). This means that students increase their usage of these words when they are in conversation with the teacher. When the shared key words were mixed with the key words used mainly by the teacher, technique and design increased and detail was added suggesting that when teacher and student were in conversation the shared words design and technique increased slightly with teacher use and the key word detail, not a shared word but a teacher word entered the conversation.

Academic workshop assessment is a vexed process; it has a number of simultaneous but conflicting obligations to carry out. It has to satisfy the core aims of the university, maintain the authority of facilitators, such as teachers, course writers and administrators, uphold the validity of programmes and courses and, most importantly, satisfy student idiosyncratic desires, passions and vocational interests. Can the words and numbers, the paperwork, which embody their interests, satisfy all involved in their construction and can the paperwork from the assessment process be used to modify future paperwork? The research was limited in achieving its aims because the socio/technical world of the workshop and the intervention of others are difficult to pin down in words and numbers; they should be looked at in the context of the workshop narrative.

If nothing else, the research points to a time and space where a collision between institutional demands and student desires might occur. The struggle occurs in the space between the delivery of the institutional introductory texts at the beginning of the course, and the implementation of the assessment texts at the end. Ultimately



the institution wins out; the power enforced by the institution through institutional texts subverts student desire. Students have a course to pass.




Project 3: Triptych: the jewellery exhibition

Summary Triptych, a jewellery exhibition and its sponsor, the Helpmann Academy, are followed as they simultaneously make themselves and each other by engaging in a joint project, promoting jewellery education in South Australia. The premise on which the exhibition is based and the aims of the Helpmann Academy (an umbrella organisation representing art and performance education) are described and gradually brought together as they set out to make themselves and each other. To help understand this amalgam of shared and disparate interests ANT is used as a tool to construct a network of exhibition makers. The appropriation of craft as a display and marketing tool is explored as the exhibition is conceived and crafted to fruition.

The flurry of professional and workshop activity is not the only place for the hand and the object to perform. Quiet reflection and contemplation on past events is also a site for the study of craft. The final task involves the researcher sitting back and musing on an exhibition experience after rummaging through files for a few tatty records, photographs and objects to trigger memories.

This research mobilises actor-network theory as a methodology/method for interpreting the events leading up to and culminating in a jewellery exhibition, Triptych, in June 1996 at the Artspace gallery in Adelaide, South Australia.

Using ANT to explore this event in a field of memories and texts tests the premise that particular institutional arrangements will produce a particular notion of jewellery, in fact, a particular notion of craft. It is argued that, for the mediating institution, in this case the Helpmann Academy, to authorise a particular notion of jewellery craft, it has to produce an identity for itself as an authority and display that identity publicly.

Introduction: Craft and the exhibition, Triptych It is no longer an expectation that an incontestable meaning for the word craft can be found. Yet the word is used freely and interchangeably to allude to particular disciplines and cultural practices in everyday language, academic literature and



education as if it had inviolable meaning. The confusion surrounding the word, although acknowledged by both practitioners and writers in the visual arts in general, has not impeded its use institutionally as alternatives have proven to be equally elusive and problematic.

Institutions of various kinds, educational, professional, funding etc., wielding considerable power, influence and authority over their constituency, have grown around contextualised meanings of the word craft. These meanings must be reflected in the roles they perform and understood by the market they wish to capture if the institutions are to become, and remain, viable in their field. Thus institutions are promising ports of call in a search for meanings of craft as they are bound to produce texts, practices and ideologies in their name as raw material for analysis. Therefore the task of pursuing a universal meaning for the word may be best put aside and replaced by a more fertile strategy that pursues a local meaning of craft within the texts, practices and ideologies that speak of it in specific contexts. The meaning of the word at a given time and place is contingent on the way it is used as a contextual inscription.

The case I am arguing is that the simple, yet disruptive notion that “reading” textual referents in context makes particular “objects” also applies to the “object” craft and the “object” institution. I am not referring here to selected textual referents, the socalled important ones, but in a post-structuralist sense to all textual referents, large or small, visible or invisible, material or digital, written or imaged, human or nonhuman, which make craft and its enabling institutions in context (Foucault, 1995; Clemens, 1996).

I am also arguing that there is not a universal meaning for craft, that it is an open sign and problematic and that its infinite “meanings” are embodied in the institutions which articulate it in their interests. Additionally I am positing that when institutions construct a meaning for craft in their interests they, in effect, construct themselves in a certain way as their construction materials can only be found in the notion of the craft they are presenting to the world.

The basis for the arguments stems from a particular stance taken toward the notion of craft: that craft is what happens in the “laboratory” when things are made and



remains viable as an entity for contemplation when making is complete. Making does not necessarily entail producing discrete material objects; in fact, material objects themselves may constitute the machinery of the laboratory. This is the case in a “laboratory” called the Triptych exhibition; the jewellery objects already constructed in the workshops of the exhibitors are then set the task of making an exhibition with defined objectives. It is not the isolated actions that produced the object, they can be another study at another time but rather how the objects craft an exhibition.

In order to pursue these arguments I will engage actor-network theory as a way of performing the argument in the context of a particular event, Triptych, a jewellery exhibition, sponsored by an institution the Helpmann Academy.

Methodology: ANT as a translator of interests Actor-network theory is used as a means of opening up passages within Triptych and the Helpmann Academy. Two papers are called on as models for the task. Both use actor-network theory and both seek to understand how a homogenous outcome is made by a network of seemingly disparate parts. The first is Robert Bud’s essay “The myth and the machine: seeing science through museum eyes”. Bud sought to understand the construction of a science museum from two perspectives, the myth created by placing objects in a shrine-like setting and thus rendering them “sacred” and the machine where the exhibits are arranged and identified “with clearly defined instrumental functions performed by an engineered system” (Bud, 1988, p.135). Bud (1988, p.139) employs the ANT concept of translation for the task and cites Callon to delineate its stages thus:

1. problematisation, the central actors (human and non-human) define the problem, 2. interressement, other spokespeople are caught 3. enrolment, their roles are defined 4. mobilisation of allies, the effectiveness of negotiations are tested against the constant threat of betrayal.

I am suggesting that jewellery in the exhibition Triptych was also presented on two fronts, as “irresistible” objects of desire and as a calculated selection of objects to perform a specific function for the exhibition makers.



The second is Bram Dov Abramson’s “Translating nations: Actor-network theory in/and Canada”. Abramson (1998, p. 8) also used Latour and Callon’s sequence of translation, problematisation, interessement, enrollment and mobilisation, to show how the independent aims of disparate actors can be displaced and merged by the results of negotiations. He used translation to fashion the diverse motivations and interests of all the actors into a single desire for a common outcome. As Callon and Latour (cited in Abramson 1998, p. 4) wrote:

By translation we understand all the negotiations, intrigues, calculations, acts of persuasion and violence, thanks to which an actor or force takes, or causes to be conferred on itself, authority to speak or act on behalf of another actor or force. The question asked in this paper was, put simply, what is the unified nation Canada when it is made up of such diverse, conflicting and separate cultural, linguistic and national interests? How could these interests be enrolled so that a single nation, Canada, could speak on their behalf?

In order for the Helpmann Academy to be a recognisable entity it also had to translate a diversity of interests in such a way that it had the authority to speak and act on behalf of the actors it represents.

The research not only sets out to locate meanings for craft in institutional settings and to test the capacity of institutions to make themselves by enrolling others, it is also an exercise in trialling actor-network theory within a personal experiential framework. The task is to mobilise the theory, set it to work, with a minimum of reference to its formal organisation and dominant theorists. The task will be difficult, as the ease with which one can lapse into either a theoretical quagmire or conversely a piece of inane personal writing has to be relentlessly managed. The tension between these two opposing positions can be sensed as the writing struggles to avoid the dominance of either.

Nevertheless writing the story and the theory simultaneously is an attempt to come to understand both more fully. Without ANT, the story of Triptych would have been little more than the usual outline of the process of exhibition making



experienced many times before: curators, exhibitors, objects, invitations, publicity and a few arguments and pacts with people along the way, grist for the mill for exhibition-making. Conversely, over-viewing the theory would merely amount to recounting the primary sources and authors in one’s own words and supplementing them with the interpretations of others. Of course this is valuable as an introduction but, to really know a theory, it has to be transplanted in one’s own patch, as it were.

Actor-network theory is useful in this regard; it creates an equal distance between the writer, the event (in this case Triptych) and the theoretical tool kit by initially assigning the same “value” and the same name, “actants” to all the human and nonhuman participants in the event. The spotlight is removed from the human actors and replaced with a diffuse light cast over all the actors. Without the distraction of highlights all are subject to the same scrutiny. The possibility of revealing insights is enhanced because actants that may have been unnoticed or considered insignificant can be brought into focus. De-centering is a constant in actor-network theory.

But, as is evident from studies influenced by ANT, de-centring is better understood as a method of analysis, which, given the observation 'something was done', systematically avoids the form of 'explanation', provided by grammar (which is at once fundamental and beside the point) that runs; 'some one must have done it.' (Lee & Stenner 1999, p. 92) The seemingly insignificant actors may be missed because their stand-alone importance does not position them centre stage where they can be seen. In actornetwork theory the ANT notion of mediation enables the seemingly “insignificant” to perform macro roles. By connecting networks intermediaries enable all actors to participate in the making of an event.

Intermediaries provide the still missing link which connects actors into a network and defines the network itself. Intermediaries are the language of the network. Through intermediaries actors communicate with one another and that is the way actors translate their intentions into other actors. (Stalder, 1997, p. 7) Actor-network theory as a tool which brings networks into focus encouraged a revisitation of the exhibition Triptych “in the making” rather than merely as a




reflection on a scattered series of emotional incidents that lead ultimately to what could be easily be described, somewhat erroneously, as a disappointing event. The social value of the exercise and the notion that something could, in fact, be made by disparate groups and institutions was a revelation enabled by actor-network theory.

Problematisation: The exhibition, what? where? whom? The intention of this narrative is to revisit and explore a jewellery exhibition, Triptych, held in June 1996 in the Festival Centre Artspace gallery in Adelaide South Australia.

The exhibition was ostensibly about a public display of jewellery objects drawn from a particular niche of craft production, the teaching and learning institutions: so-called academic craft. Through the channel of a joint exhibition between partner institutions it was intended to display to the public, prospective students and industry the scope and output of these institutions and the healthy articulation they shared. The project, eventually called “Triptych”, involved the three streams of jewellery making from the jewellery faculties in a TAFE college and a university co-operating in a joint exhibition. The staff members from the jewellery faculties selected a current and past student and each made three pieces of jewellery to show the breadth and depth of jewellery education and training in South Australia. The exhibition was made under the auspices of the Helpmann Academy, an independent umbrella body set up to promote cross institutional activities between departments within these institutions.

The geographical location of the exhibition is the city of Adelaide, capital of South Australia. It is a small city located in southern central Australia that relies on the “arts”, to a significant extent, for its identity and status. The reputation as an arts capital is built predominantly on the national and international reputation of its biennial arts festival. The festival brings to the city overseas and interstate artists and companies with considerable reputations in performance and visual arts. For a brief moment the arts world looks at Adelaide and then looks away. In the shadow cast by the festivals, the local arts community quietly goes about the business of maintaining an arts profile for the city.




Arts education institutions are important to the arts community in Adelaide; they train, educate and support local practitioners in keeping with the city’s reputation as an arts capital. They have a responsibility beyond their primary role as art educators as their facilities and capacity to attract human and capital resources to the state is crucial to the well being of the arts in general. Nevertheless duplication of programmes and resources in the education institutions is a problem for such a small city. In this instance at the time of the Triptych exhibition (1996), the South Australian School of Art and its affiliate the School of Design at the University of South Australia and the North Adelaide School of Art in the department of TAFE conducted similar visual art programmes. The School of Design trained jewelers for the design industry and the North Adelaide School of Art taught a craft based programme for independent craft jewelers and a trade technology course for indentured apprentices. The three programmes in the two institutions embodied three approaches to jewellery making, design, craft and technology. The three programmes operated separately and inter-relationships were rare: in fact a certain level of enmity existed between the programmes. It was the desire to articulate overlapping programmes such as these and ameliorate inefficient use of resources that an umbrella body, the Helpmann Academy, was envisaged. It was the mission of this overarching body to smooth out these divisions and cultivate a closer working relationship between the institutions.

The Helpmann Academy The Helpmann Academy was born, not specifically for the event “Triptych”, but for smoothing the physical and ideological fissures that separated institutions, departments, staffs, individuals, buildings, philosophies, social cliques and imbalances of cultural capital, in arts education in Adelaide. It was to illustrate that both the duplication of resources and the myth that cultural capital reflected quality could be overcome if a neutral umbrella organisation absorbed the conflicting disjunctions.

“Triptych” was not the only Helpmann project envisaged in this form. A number of exhibitions planned as a series of single events were intended to ally departments in the partner institutions engaged in similar activities. Jewellery was the first off the block as, at the time, it was considered to be viable in its respective institutions and thus had the potential to provide positive exposure for the Helpmann Academy.



The role the unique and problematic institution, the Helpmann Academy, plays in the construction of Triptych is significant enough for a more thorough examination of its modus operandi to be undertaken.

The Helpmann Academy was formed to highlight the specific interests and needs of the visual and performance arts in South Australia and take them beyond institutional politics and territorial squabbles. Arts training had been hidden in the institutional hierarchy of complex tertiary education campuses such as TAFE colleges, colleges of advanced education and later universities: it was in need of a body to bring it back into sight. It was thought at the time of its formation that the Helpmann Academy might evolve into an independent arts institution similar to the traditional independent arts schools of the past. Several models within this format were initially considered including an exclusive school only for those with exceptional talent. Although there was general agreement on the desirability of such an organization the entrenched interests and hierarchical nature of arts departments within universities and TAFE frustrated the development of an independent institution. A configuration was finally decided upon in the form of a “partnership that unifies” the ideologies and practices of the institutions it represented. The Helpmann web site in its own words put it thus:

A Better Model for Arts Education Formed in 1994 the Helpmann Academy is a unique partnership of all the tertiary arts training establishments in South Australia… The Academy unifies the skills and resources of South Australia’s universities and TAFE To authorise events such as Triptych in its name, Helpmann had to make itself in a form where these events reflect a similar authority it assumes for itself. As the identity of the Helpmann Academy is predicated on it establishing identities for the institutional partners it serves, those partners have to be presented to the world as Helpmann is presented to the world. As Abramson (1998: p. 13) put it:

Macro-actors—organizations, nations, universities-are understood as aggregates of micro actors whose wills have been aligned through various materials: social, bureaucratic, physical or financial means to name a few. Macro-actors, therefore, do not “exist” per se but rather speak themselves and are spoken through their various agents.



The title for the institution was the first identity construction and titles are important; they convey information about the institution prior to formal contact. The words Helpmann and Academy, no less, identify and introduce a certain type of institution to the world. By choosing this title, the Helpmann Academy advertises itself in a certain way. Would the identities of the represented partners also be understood by the implications of Helpmann’s choice of nomenclature? A discussion of the title might say something about the information it conveys. Sir Robert Helpmann was a dancer, choreographer and actor whose name is synonymous with performance arts (Biographical Note: Papers of Sir Robert Helpmann (1909-1986), p.1.). Where does craft, for instance, sit with a notion of public performance produced as it is in seclusion and for private use? The word academy is also loaded with a particular construction of identity in western culture as its roots in Plato have become identified with universities and intellectual life in general. What would the nomenclature mean for the craft of jewellery making when it is identified as a partner in an organisation that claims the status of an academy? Or does it simply mean that the word academy was chosen to endow Helpmann with a certain prestige and thus by association lift the profile of the partners it represents? In the art world the words academy and academic also refer to a particular style of painting and sculpture. Does this archaic definition still have credibility in 21st century Adelaide? Does Helpmann construct an identity with its choice of nomenclature which also endows the identities of the partners it is representing similarly? Is their identity conditioned by being a Helpmann partner when they are connected in public events such as Triptych?

Yet titles only float on the surface. There is, of course, more to Helpmann than its choice of name. Latour used the term the “the sociology of translation” to describe how macro-actors enrol others in their name. Callon and Latour (in Abramson 1998, p. 4) talked about aligning actors and points of view thus:

In order to grow we must enrol other wills by translating what they want and by reifying this translation in such a way that none of them can desire anything else any longer. For Helpmann to work it had to be more than a name, it had to translate the desires of the partners into events in such a way that they accepted them as their own.



Interressment: The exhibition: in whose interest? The Helpmann Academy having decided on a “unique partnership” as its modus operandi had to implement it in some way. It had to initiate events and offer advantages without recognising the boundaries separating the institutions it represented. Its initiatives included small grants for exhibitions and performances, funding for visiting artists and speakers, specialised educational opportunities and a newsletter as a united voice of the partners. But major public events were needed if it was to assume an important position in arts education in South Australia.

In the mid 1990s three major public events were planned, a combined graduate exhibition, a fund raising dinner and the subject of this research, collaborative exhibitions bringing similar departments together in a single exhibition space with a broad based common aim. Although a number of these joint shows were envisaged, only two got off the ground, an electronic image/printmaking exhibition and the subject of this research, the jewellery exhibition, Triptych. Triptych was an ideal opportunity for Helpmann to promote itself as an influential entity in both the educational and visual art scene.

So far the exhibition, Triptych, has been seen as vehicle for the Helpmann Academy to manifest itself in a public event. But Triptych is also another

manifestation of a genre of events called exhibitions and exhibitions have a trajectory indifferent to the intentions of exhibition makers. Although Triptych is ostensibly the consequence of the intentions of Helpmann, it cannot avoid representing the inbuilt characteristics of the exhibition genre. It is therefore important to know something about exhibitions if Triptych is to be fully understood. Exhibitions are merely a tool of the museum for its temporary and mobile events. Triptych is such a mobile museum and as Vergo (1989, p. 41) wrote “museums exist in order to acquire, safeguard, conserve and display objects, artefacts and works of art of various kinds”. In spite of the intentions of

Helpmann, Triptych’s primary mandate is to collect and safely display the jewellery objects selected for the exhibition. Much of the energy of the committee was expended on making the exhibition work simply as a mobile museum. Of course museum exhibitions can do more than merely look after and display an assortment of objects; exhibitions are overtly or covertly thematic and according to Vergo (1989, p. 46):



In the case of most exhibitions at least, objects are brought together not simply for the sake of their physical manifestation or juxtaposition, but because they are a part of a story one is trying to tell. The ‘context’ of the exhibition confers upon them a ‘meaning’ beyond any significance they may already possess as cultural artefacts or objects of aesthetic contemplation. Through being incorporated into an exhibition, they become not merely works of art or tokens of a certain culture or society, but elements of a narrative, forming part of a thread of discourse which is itself one element in a more complex web of meanings. The exhibition, Triptych, intended to display jewellery objects with “meaning beyond any significance they may already possess as cultural artefacts or objects of aesthetic contemplation”.

One of the aims of this research was to locate the source and nature of the meaning of Triptych and identify its actant mediators, some of which were written into the exhibition proposal. For instance the Helpmann Academy, the University of South Australia, TAFE, the School of Design jewellery department, the North Adelaide School of Art jewellery department, the three strands of jewellery making taught in the two jewellery departments, (design, craft and trade), the three lecturers who manage them and the students and recent graduates they selected. Others were enrolled as the needs of its form and shape demanded. The problems and interests of all actors cause the process of exhibition making to alternatively fragment and overlap. The place where the problems and the interests overlap is where an exhibition can be constructed and where Helpmann can be made.

Perhaps the text that announced the exhibition can be investigated as a place where the problems and interests overlap sufficiently to start making an exhibition. In an introductory statement written by a principal actor, a lecturer from the University of South Australia titled “Overview and budget for the proposed Helpmann Academy Jewellery Touring Exhibition”, a number of problems and interests were enunciated. They were problems because means had to be found to express them in the exhibition and interests because they can help to maintain jewellery as a viable academic option.




From the document aims of the exhibition were to: 1.promote an increased awareness of South Australian jewellery education available to students from the targeted areas” 2.recognise those who have flourished in an environment where contemporary jewellery has not been seen as central to the arts or the trade. 3.make a long term contribution to the profile of the Helpmann Academy and further promote its presence in South Australia and overseas 4.ensure that the North Adelaide School of Art and the University of South Australia will benefit for the same reasons 5. ensure that the exposure has the added bonus of having, the potential to attract local and overseas prospective students. A statement of the official problems and interests such as these tends to camouflage underlying local social, cultural and economic problems and interests. Having three strands of jewellery education and training (craft, design and trade) in two institutions in a small city such as Adelaide generates problems for the individual teaching institutions concerned. The problems could be defined pragmatically in terms of resources such as funding and the diminishing student pool or socially that the perception of a hierarchy rather than individual needs and ambitions governs the choice between comparable departments within, and across institutions. The jewellery departments could be considered as a microcosm of the problems besetting art and craft education in general, that of status, articulation and the rationalisation of resources. An exhibition such as Triptych was assigned the difficult task of smoothing these differences and stimulating further co-operative activities.

Enrolment: The exhibition: making a team If the exhibition was to appear to the public as a unified entity, a team of actors had to be built with/from their attendant interests. Spokespeople had to be gathered whose shared interest in the success of the exhibition had to surpass the conflicting interests and positions they hold as individuals and institutional representatives. “A Better Model for Arts Education”, the slogan for the Helpmann Academy, had to become, at least temporarily, their slogan and Triptych, their exhibition. To




understand the interests and positions the actors had to acknowledge it is prudent to return to the Helpmann Academy’s place in the exhibition.

The Helpmann Academy has two macro roles to play in its association with the partners it represents. It is not only a macro actor but also a macro mediator. It does not perform the events it initiates but rather brings together micro actors to perform them in its name. It becomes a macro actor only when it is performing as a macro mediator. If it claims the mediating role of papering over the gaps and smoothing out the differences in art/craft education it must be seen to be doing this in events under its name. Its ability to create “A Better Model for Arts Education” and claim credit for the performance of the partners it represents depends on the partners accepting its mediation. Helpmann, in a sense, anoints its partners with an identity that it proclaims for itself. The partners as spokespersons for their own interests are also enrolled as spokepersons for Helpmann.

In order to illustrate and promote its role as a macro actor and mediator to its partners and public the Helpmann Academy had to sponsor specific and identifiable events in its name. It had to assemble a team of micro actors to fashion events according to the image it wanted to project. It was necessary to “enrol” a chain of micro actors from all its seats of identity in a formation that was sufficiently coherent for public display if Helpmann was to be seen, and thus become, what it claimed to be in its promotional material.

But Helpmann’s exhibition is ineffective as an in house venture, Helpmann needed a public image. For this it was necessary to enrol media actors such as objects, labels and viewing structures to broadcast itself at the exhibition and other public spaces. It was objects, labels and viewing structures, its media department, added to the team which assembled all positions and interests associated with the exhibition as one. All the institutional actors are ultimately reliant on them for their individual success as exhibitors makers. The exhibition had to be a success if individual exhibitors or spokespersons were to be seen to be successful and only if they were successful could Helpmann claim success. As a moment for saying what craft is the choice of objects, labels and the viewing structures that accompany them are crucial.




The objects were the first to show the way. At the "show and tell" meeting when each exhibitor brought one piece and placed it on the table a team began to form. The separation according to conventional positions of power, constructed by the status of the institution and the hierarchy of lecturer, past student and present student, remained only while each object maintained a visible relationship with its maker and its home site. Once separated the initial self-consciousness dissipated and the objects were relieved of particular characteristics ascribed to them by these associations with relative positions of power. Power became diffused as an amalgam of object (non-human) and human according to their potential as a candidate for the exhibition not as a representative of an institution. While the objects dissipated positions of power the notion of a “successful” exhibition began to form.

While objects led the way their task was not easy, they collectively had many roles to perform. Bud in his paper on the planning and construction of a chemical museum in London claimed the selection of objects was important, their task was to fulfil a number of sometimes-competing and conflicting roles in an exhibition. In the case of the chemical museum he said “each section would have exhibits illustrating history, modern development, scientific principles, work and interaction with the environment.” (Bud, 1988, p.147)

Collectively Triptych’s objects no less had to speak on behalf of a number of conflicting and competing tasks. They had to enunciate a notion of jewellery acceptable to a wide audience. They had to theorise a concept of academic craft. They had to tie together three strands of jewellery education craft, trade and design as different but equal. They had to show the vibrancy of jewellery education in South Australia. They had to show how the Helpmann imprimatur contributed to their individual and collective qualities and they had to provide individual and collective viewing pleasure for the disinterested visitor.

In short the objects are asked to act as a calculated arrangement labeled for specific functions for the exhibition makers and as objects of desire: put simply as education and entertainment.




In a complex event such as this labels are everywhere. Even before the exhibition is open to the public, words and images on an invitation card often viewed in a domestic setting create an impression of what might be seen and what it might mean, a label which attracts or discourages.

The exhibition name is an introductory label. The exhibition name, a primary label, was initially “Educating Jewellers”. The name was eventually changed to “Triptych”, a name change that shifted the object’s role at least in the eyes of the innocent from an exhibition about jewellery education to something more open ended, perhaps jewellery craft as narrative. It represented at least a partial separation from the academy by the introduction of a narrative conundrum, the triptych. Is the mindset of visitors as they confront the exhibition for the first time aware of the shift from education to entertainment? A significant label change can be crucial to how an exhibition is interpreted.

A facilitator was contracted to prepare a schedule for the exhibition from start to finish: a timeline that extended from Monday February 5th to the opening on Friday June 14th 1996. The schedule was detailed and written in note form and each note was accompanied by a date. The bulk of the timeline was taken up with labelling in one form or another, in fact from Monday 11th of February to Friday 7th of June the schedule only discussed matters that concerned writing, signage, photography, catalogue, invitations and invitation lists, proforma, framing and art work. The “labelling” actors were given a high priority in exhibition making.

The labels on the exhibition objects were especially significant. They were placed inside the frame behind the glass ostensibly to make transportation and setting up easier: fewer bits to get lost or handle. The labels included the maker’s name, status, institution, name of piece, (if applicable) type of object and materials used to make it. It was text important to the narrative. If visitors read the labels (and they do not always) attributes not necessarily embodied in the object are revealed on them. By sealing the written text behind glass with the object the labels are given authority, they are attached to the object and move when it moves and they cannot be easily be modified. (Plate 1).




Plate 1

Object audiences have to firstly weigh up the advice that comes with its labels before and after they make their own judgements on it. Through labels the professional and the powerful can stand between objects and their public and challenge their innate judgements and confidence to make choices. Labels shape opinion and status (Said, 1989, p. 136).

Viewing structures are important in how an exhibition is read. They are not only made by the interior architecture and physical layout of the exhibition site, they are also built into the housing of the objects, their arrangement in the exhibition space, the concept of the exhibition and the formula used to select them. The pathways through Triptych are marked by a flexible quasi-mathematical formula. Viewers can choose pathways from multiple choices offered by two institutions, three programmes, seven lecturers, seven students and seven graduates, many narrative possibilities. In terms of knowing the craft of jewellery making, these narratives tell multiple stories by linking institutions, programmes, lecturers, graduates and students in infinite formations. Where is the craft of jewellery in these narrative labyrinths? The quasi-mathematical formula emanated from an item on the meeting minutes (Minutes: 12/02/96):

The concept of the exhibition is that six lecturers from the two institutions choose a student and a graduate. Each participant will then offer three pieces of jewellery to be individually displayed in a showcase as seen in the sample. Fifty-four pieces will be exhibited and promoted with an accompanying catalogue which is appropriate to represent the Helpmann Academy on an overseas tour.




The above quasi-mathematical formula was not set in concrete. It could be contested in a struggle for equality and fairness as the three strands of jewellery production, design, craft and trade grappled for equality of representation. For example the original “concept” of two institutions, three programmes, six lecturers and their little team of students and graduates was increased to seven lecturers adding three more exhibitors and nine objects to the mix. A meeting agenda item acknowledged this change thus: “LS, NASA lecturer in 1996 invited to exhibit. Group now has 21 exhibitors” (Minutes: 12/02/96). Representation was not simply confined to the numbers in the quasi-mathematical formula it was also where the numbers came from and how they represented the craft of jewellery making.

The viewing structure hinged on display case design. The objects were asked to assert their differences and perform as an integrated exhibition of objects within identical separate and separated show cases. The cases simultaneously separated the objects and merged them in a single display significantly shaping viewing structures. An agenda item titled “Problems” argued emphatically for a particular case design:

Considerable discussion on the constraints - size, depth, durability - of the frames as the conforming display unit for all works. The internal space in which to mount work is 205mm high by 18Omm wide and a maximum depth (to be confirmed next meeting) of around 38mm. Discussion focused upon whether the mounts should all be the same size, and whether all frames should be hung on the wall. WM expressed strong views on the need to consider visual continuity and practicalities of extensive touring where the work, to a degree, is outside our control. WM requested that exhibitors consider designing work to suit the exhibition concept. (Minutes: 12/02/96) The physical dimensions of the exhibition space could not be factored in to the equation accurately as the “museum” was intended to travel extensively. In order to manipulate the visitor’s relations with the exhibit by remote control the glass fronted wall cases were designed around specific dimensions and shapes and the objects locked in permanently. (Plate 2) “WM expressed strong views on the need to consider visual continuity and practicalities of extensive touring where the work, to a degree, is outside our control”. (Minutes: 12/02/96)




Plate 2

Ultimately the display case design was standardized to point where difference was indiscernible. Although the rationale was based on transportation and security the outcome, nevertheless, had implications for the viewing structure and the narrative implications of the exhibition.

“Problems” illustrates the extent the display case design affected the notion of jewellery in the exhibition. The last sentence “WM requested that exhibitors consider designing work to suit the exhibition concept” (Minutes: 12/02/96) encapsulates a general dilemma peculiar to exhibitions; to what degree should an individual object, ultimately destined for complete separation from the exhibition it is helping to make, conform to a “concept” to ensure the success of an exhibition.

In fact, the display case design favoured a form of jewellery popular in academia that of the autonomous jewellery object, the object indifferent to the body, the object near but not necessarily on the body.

But, of course, others outside institutions, teachers and current and recently graduated students had to be enrolled if it was there was going to be an exhibition. The first appointee was the aforementioned facilitator to manage the project: a mediator who, although departing before the project got underway left his mark on the show as he appointed the exhibition designer, case designer and publicist and set the agenda and timeline. The Artspace gallery director and administrators were




also enrolled, as they had to speak for the gallery space where the exhibition opening was to be held.

The facilitator attended only the inaugural meeting, an extraordinary affair where a plan and time frame for the entire process, from start to finish, was presented to the assembled cast: reference to the straight line of "science" not, as Latour called it, “the labyrinth of technology”. Nevertheless his timeline offered at this meeting remained as a guide, and therefore a significant actor, in the process of making the exhibition. In this sense the manager/curator remained from start to finish. The mediators he enrolled, although human were not visible, the exhibition designer, case designer and maker, the publicist and others only connected on opening night with an organised exhibition of work in neat individual cases with the press and critics ready with pens in hand.

Enrolling actors is not a straight forward affair. The taken for granted can have a subtle but profound effect on exhibition making. Actor-network theory refers to the taken for granted as a black box whose contents are revealed when things break down, deviate from the plan or are contested. Once opened interest is redirected from visible actors to those in the black box.

A black box contains that which no longer needs to be considered, those things whose contents have, become a matter of indifference (Stalder 1997 citing Callon and Latour, 1981 p.285). Opening the black box can be disruptive if it questions normalised assumptions and procedures. So what was in the unopened black box and how did its contents question the assumptions and procedures driving Triptych at this point?

Three object contenders for a place in the exhibition opened the black box. The first was LS’s low-tech wirework, virtually made with hands without tools (Plate 3). LS's “fiddling” with wire required no learned hand skills or tools other than those developed in the domestic sphere, hardly displaying the sophisticated skills of the craftsperson. Her inclusion offered the disruptive notion that craft is the act of making and not requiring high skills, precious materials or permanency. The second object contested the whole notion of jewellery as wearable and jewel-like. PB’s front-end loader (Plate 4), a replica of a child’s toy, parodied the tradition of

classical jewellery. He appropriated a non-jewellery object as jewellery, a postmodern concept of art that anything can be jewellery if it is called jewellery. His piece mocked the “jewelness” of jewellery, the concept of Triptych (that jewellery is a distinct category of object) and the implications of preciousness in jewellery making. He presented as an exhibition candidate an exact replica of a small commercial toy front-end loader hand made in gold and over painted in bright colours. The materials were precious and expensive but out of sight, the technique although difficult was well executed and it was small enough to hang around the neck. The third piece questioned jewellery as body adornment. It evoked the potential for objects to say something outside of its material form. DE’s Family Portrait (Plate 5) allusion to the emptiness of domestic environments was picked up and personalised in a Craft International article: “DE combines galvanised iron, acrylic sheet, brass, titanium, polyester resin and sterling silver to express an insight into his private life in Family Portrait” (Craft Arts International, issue 38, 1996-7). It also decided that the display case was its home, it was bolted in place, it was not for outside life but it was ready to travel. These images are included in the print thesis available from the University of South Australia Library.

Plate 3

Plate 4

Plate 5

If these objects opened the black box of jewellery they also opened the black box of Triptych. The contents of the black box of Triptych, when opened did not match the “rules” for the exhibition. Skill acquisition, wearability and materiality, the basis of the exhibition were contested by objects that did not require skill, were not intended to be worn and had a function beyond their form. Jewellery making was a serious business for Triptych as it represented educational capital and human resources. Its presentation was important: visitors can draw conclusions, make judgements and choices based on what they read into the exhibition. Ambiguity is an impediment




to what Triptych set out to do, especially for those in other places and from other cultures. Representations of jewellery craft were both weakened and strengthened by the contents of the black box.

Mobilisation: Putting differences aside: the exhibition as a network Ultimately it was in the interests of all for the exhibition to go ahead; the network had to work. Protagonists had, for the moment, to become allies. Nevertheless, networks of power swept through the exhibition-making process initially inhibiting the formation of a unified team.

A glimpse of a unified team came at the before-mentioned "show and tell" meeting when each person brought an object and placed it on the table for the perusal of all. This meeting not only foreshadowed the possibility of a team but also the possibility of an exhibition. Objects took over the meeting; they set aside human power struggles and reminded all of their common purpose. Objects assumed a number of positions in this process: for example some did not require human collaboration in order to exude "political" power whilst others formed human affiliations not conditioned by personal and institutional hierarchies. A group of non-humans, potential exhibition objects, took over by dismissing human disjunction and started the process of mobilising the exhibition.

The process started by objects was taken up by labelling. Labelling ultimately mobilised the exhibition. The possibility that institutions, objects and humans would be subject to scrutiny as a collective by both being media and exposed to media in spite of institutional and individual differences, did the trick. Media is not privy to, nor cares about the detail of exhibition making; it will merely write and read the exhibition as a public spectacle. What the labels say impinges on the shared interests of the collective and brings them together sufficiently for the exhibition to proceed as media and for media to have a target. Abramson (1998, p. 12) described the content of media thus:

the content of media are commodities which are produced, brought and sold, and electronic media extend the economic and cultural influence of centres of production over marginal areas.




His notion of “technological nationalism” (Abramson, 1998, p.12) applied to the nationhood of Canada could also apply to Triptych if the idea of the collective becoming, at least temporarily, a metaphoric “nation” made by the technologies of the media.

The exhibition was to be widely dispersed both through media and travel. It was intended that the work be shown locally, nationally, internationally on the Internet, through a CD-ROM and as postcards, a rather adventurous itinerary. In reality its travel was limited, locally at the exhibition venue and a limited tour of some pieces in Asia, on postcards, featuring an image of one piece from each participant and in a promotional article in a crafts magazine, "Crafts International".

Latour's (1999, p. 303) notion of Articulation, a term that "occupies the position left empty by the dichotomy between the object and subject or the external world and the mind" helps to understand why an event which achieved few of its goals was perceived as successful. The objects and labelling articulated the exhibition, brought it together with the media thus occupying the position between “the external world and the mind”. For instance its physical and virtual geographical aspirations were never met but articulation between where it said it was going (its mind) and where it actually went (the external world) rendered “failure” irrelevant. The fact that the collective proposed that the exhibition would set out on a vast physical and virtual tour was enough. Its media and the media sent it on its way. For instance an article in Craft Arts had it touring in South-East Asia:

Each of the 63 pieces has been framed in deep wooden mounts in preparation for transportation to a number of interesting destinations. South-East Asia is the first port of call and the list of venues is growing…Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Korea are some of the countries that have expressed interest in the work (Craft Arts International, issue 38, 19967). Everything accompanying the exhibition, the labels, the mounts, the exhibition design, the endorsement of the Helpmann Academy, the profile of some of the exhibitors all suggested that the extensive travelling life was inevitable. The fact that this could not be demonstrated did not matter. The impression that it did (tour




extensively) was enough because the case for the extensive tour was articulated as a powerful proposition.

As the exhibition came together the weight gradually shifted from the human actors to the non-human, as objects, labels and gallery space eventually occupied centre stage and permitted human presence on the opening night. But what did it say about the craft of jewellery appropriated as it was to make a specific function exhibition? Were they any longer jewellery objects as they sat in their rigid vertical glass fronted frames; were they now as Vergo wrote merely “elements of a narrative, forming part of a thread of discourse which is itself one element in a more complex web of meaning”?

In fact an exhibition such as this do not favour everyday wearable jewellery objects in spite of a newspaper critic’s contention that “Although outlandish, non-wearable Jewellery is not seen”, (Advertiser, 08/07/96). It could be argued that no jewellery was seen, the exhibition itself was the only visible entity. Bud (1988: p. 156) referred to a general dilemma of exhibition making especially applicable to Triptych when he wrote: “Throughout its construction a gallery is haunted by the problems of building a unique product, with objects not intended for a museum”. It could be argued that jewellery objects are not intended for the museum or exhibition, in that setting their role is transformed from a body

inscription/adornment to an anthropological curiosity. In fact, the structure of Triptych favoured a form of jewellery popular in academia, that of the autonomous jewellery object, the object that ignored the body, in particular the object that did not go around the body but rather on it or near it: the brooch form or the hand held object. The format suited the flat-backed object, hoop jewellery completed by body parts sat most uncomfortably in these structures. A conception of the craft of jewellery making was thus articulated.

The Advertiser newspaper review 8/7/96 titled Quirky Charms saw the exhibition as embodying eclectic approaches to jewellery making thus:

Triptych is an exhibition which reveals something of the range of eclectic approaches.




There is a traditional celebration of gold, silver and precious gems, high-tech works combining space age metals and quirky fabrications which reveal irreverence for conventional forms and substances. Attitude and artistic intent more than convention, often determine the choice and combination of materials as well as the form and function of the work. (Advertiser, 08/07/96) According to the Advertiser critic the exhibition was held together by its range of responses to jewellery making. The machinery of the exhibition produced a smorgasbord of jewellery forms and the inference that in these teaching institutions anything and every thing is possible. The jewellery objects had conferred “upon them a ‘meaning’ beyond any significance they may already possess as cultural artefacts or objects of aesthetic contemplation: a pleasing outcome for the exhibition makers.

Helpmann was also vindicated in the media for its part in the exhibition. According to the same newspaper review 8/7/96 “The Helpmann Academy has gone upmarket with its stylish show at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Artspace gallery until July 27……the quality of workmanship, design skills and imagination is consistently high”. Going up market is a step Helpmann appreciated if, as argued, the exhibition was intended to make Helpmann in a positive public form. By linking the quality of the work with the Helpmann Academy, it is made into a functional institution.

In another media representation, a promotional piece in a craft magazine, the quality of the exhibition and future of jewellery in Adelaide is embodied in the strength of the graduates and students, and by implication the institutions and teachers who manage them. According to the text the exhibition also hints of possible careers on graduation: “If this exhibition is any indication, we, the potential customers, have a wonderful treat in store”.

If one quality of this exhibition is to be singled out it would be the strength of the current generation of jewellers working in Adelaide, and the potential offered by the next generation. The students of today will soon be exhibiting their work in graduation exhibitions here and around the country. If this exhibition is any indication, we, the potential customers, have a wonderful treat in store. (Craft Arts International, issue 38, 1996-7)


Unlike the Advertiser critic it appears that the Helpmann Academy’s own media was more interested in attendance numbers and their standing in the community. The attendance was not linked with the quality of the work or the attraction of the jewellery objects. According to “Update”, the Helpmann Academy newsletter, it was enough for the exhibition to be a successful social event.

The “Helpmann Update” identified actors, such as “Academy Friends, Members, Board, partner school representatives, government officials, media and other invited guests” (Plate 6) not necessarily implicated in its gestation period of the exhibition, but important actors in the making of the exhibition.

'Triptych' Opening Over 200 people attended the opening of the Helpmann Academy's' Triptych' jewellery Exhibition at the Festival Centre's Art Space in June. In the crowd were exhibitors, Academy Friends, Members,

Board, partner school representatives, government officials, media and other invited guests. Mr Bill Cossey, General Manager of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust performed the opening ceremony (Helpmann Update, Volume 3, No 3, Issue 10, Sept.1996).

This image is included in the print thesis available from the University of South Australia Library.

Plate 6 Triptych Opening (Sept. 1996, Volume 3, No. 3, Issue 10)




Media reviews are not academic treatises and are influenced by commercial, political and social interests. Nevertheless they are public utterances with the potential to shape opinion and attract or deter viewers.

Humans were not alone at the opening: objects, labels, cases, viewing arrangements lighting, food and drink and promotional material were also there; humans rolled into non-humans, a collective where divisions were inconsequential, all had a part to play in the exhibition event, “Triptych”.

The exhibition remained open for several weeks, continuing to speak according to the contextual mix of audience and objects. Success and failure, post exhibition, affected others not intimately involved in exhibition making such as heads of schools, educational managers and institutional bureaucrats, their positions in the arts education hierarchy implicated them in a public exhibition such as this. Nevertheless their role could only be that of arbiters; they were actors who only had the authority to review the responses of others.

The actors, of course, are not limited to those who were invited to the opening ceremony. The exhibition, the objects and the Helpmann Academy are shaped and re-shaped by waves of new actors in the form of gallery visitors and their interests as the event is available for public scrutiny.

The exhibition brought together actors who otherwise would have remained apart. Although the formal articulation was temporary, the humans, objects, meetings, shared inscriptions, venues and ideas never formed in this way again; only informal relations between macro-actors (Helpmann, TAFE, University) and the microactors that constructed them remained. Post exhibition the Helpmann Academy was seen as an option when in house or articulated projects are envisaged. In the eyes of the participants an abstraction such as the Helpmann Academy was transformed into a concrete entity by its role in making the exhibition. For the institutions, it brought people together in a cooperative event that later could be manifested in personal and institutional affiliations.




SECTION 4: Reflections: with professionalism, institutionalisation and
marketing in mind

This section is epitomised by the claim that professionalism, institutionalisation, and promotion problematise craft, disrupt its fundamental significance and appropriate it for their own ends. The research, reflected on from these perspectives for both revelational and empirical outcomes, is overviewed and theorised in this section.




CHAPTER 8: Revisiting the sites of representation, the Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object and the Masterpiece Summary This chapter is an overview and commentary on the research findings and their implications, the appropriateness of ANT as a theory/methodology/method and the additions the thesis makes to craft literature. The chapter also covers the creation and usefulness of The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object and the Masterpiece, as actual and metaphoric research tools.

Revisiting the sites of representation Using experiential knowledge, the opinions of others, a consortium of experts, the art/craft debate and factoring in sites, problems, arguments, questions, resources and methods how did the sites represent craft and its relations with the world?

Revisiting the problem of craft in the three sites of representation with postresearch knowledge offers new insights into their practices and operations. The problem post-research rests on how the sites constructed and acknowledged craft and how their relations with it differed from each other. Using a theory/methodology/method such as ANT in this context not only locates craft in the selected sites but identifies ANT as a tool useful for opening up other sites where ideas are transformed into objects.

The analysis of the first craft site of representation, the craft organisation Craftsouth, is predicated on the assumption that its publicly disseminated texts would divulge its past and current relations with craft.

The first text(s) under analysis, a selection of annual reports 1980 to 2000, laid out the achievements and future plans for the organisation during this period. ANT's translating interests were employed as analytical tools to disclose practices and operations in and by the organisation over a twenty year span. Translating interests set up an imagery dialogue between Craftsouth, its members, prospective members and the public. The hand and the object emerged as salient topics for the dialogue because of their fundamental significance to craft at all times and in all places. Initially led by craftspeople members, prospective members and the public the



dialogue was gradually taken over by the organisation to press its internalised interests. Monitoring the gradual submission of the hand and the object in this context plotted the transfer of interests from outside the organisation to inside the organisation. The visible hand and object were progressively submerged under initiatives concerned with business and professional interests. Although the hand and the object remained, they were obscured and appropriated to construct the craft professional compatible with Craftsouth's perception of member requirements and its public profile. However the hand and the object submerged as they were in pursuit of professionalism cannot be excised; to become professional craftspeople must make objects by hand. Craft organisations should overtly acknowledge their foundations: the act of making and the material object, a craftsperson cannot become a professional without them. The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object came into view during the analysis of the reports first as a finding and second as a potential research tool.

Although annual reports are publicly available, they are not the first port of call for those seeking the services of a craft organisation. The first textual contact prospective members and the wider public make with the organisation is its title. It is commonplace to broadly infer the nature of craft organisation practices and operations by including in their title words such as guild, association, society or council. An analysis of forty eight craft organisation from Australia, Britain, Canada and the USA which used one of these words in their title sought correlations with geographical locations and inferred relations to craft, thereby connecting the word choice with certain general intentions. The analysis used the relations between titles, geographical locations and craft to construct a matrix for use by both the craft organisations under study and others beyond the range of this research. Location and, importantly, craft interests were used to encapsulate the general practices and operations of craft organisations in the study. Titles are important and should encompass as much information as possible to encourage further interest in the organisation.

The ultimate aim of the analysis of titles was to find a place for Craftsouth in the field of craft organisations. Although an attempt to categorise Craftsouth by its title was inconclusive the analysis resulted in a discussion of the role and importance of nomenclature for craft organisations. Craftsouth's concern with nomenclature in its



annual reports validates title research as more than trivial curiosity. The title, Craftsouth, is the latest in a sequence of titles used over the history of the organisation as it searched for the public profile it wanted. Discussion on the role of titles in the annual reports of Craftsouth exemplified its concerns and attested to its sensitivity to a public image. The interest in titles in Craftsouth's annual reports validated the title analysis. Titles are important to craft organisations and should encapsulate their general field of interests. According to the analysis, Craftsouth fails to provide adequate specific detail about its practices and operations in its title.

But titles are too general to uncover the detail of interests and services offered by craft organisations. At websites and in hard copy promotional material, titles are followed by introductory statements which expand on the organisation's interests and services and their relations with craft. In this analysis the same organisations used in the title analysis were again sorted by their association with the word guild, association, society or council, enabling cross referencing between title and introductory statement analysis. An ANT analysis then looked inside these statements for three things, human involvement (the social), non-human resources (the technical) and the relations between them (the actions) to explicate the organisation’s interests and services. The relations between humans, non-humans and their actions were a means of making more detailed connections between the organisation, craft and its public. The analysis of introductory statements also enabled a matrix to be constructed where other organisations, including Craftsouth, could be located in a Western international context. The information contained in introductory statements takes the enquirer deeper into the practices and operations of the organisation, enabling decisions to be made on its appropriateness to their needs. Introductory statements provide a wealth of information (Ellis, 1999) on the public profile the organisation projects but not necessarily how it goes about its day to business.

The analysis of Craftsouth's introductory statements was a more fruitful means of finding its fit within other Western craft organisations and for understanding its relations with craft. Craftsouth was found to fit with societies and councils according the sample because of a similar balance between human and non-human participation. Although Craftsouth changed its name from the Crafts Council to Craftsouth in 1997/8, according to this research it still retains some of the



characteristics of a council (the word used in its previous title) although these characteristics are now hidden by the name change. Craftsouth is regional, not devoted to a specific craft and is interested in mobilising people in active projects.

Titles and introductory statements are essentially promotional texts. To understand Craftsouth from the inside, it was necessary to analyse a range of texts which deal with the details of its practices and operations. The texts included a media release, its constitution, website, the year 2000 annual report and its accreditation document. Three macro actants were sought from the analysis - humans, objects and actions.

By finding the individual and collective human involvement in Craftsouth, the analysis identified those who managed Craftsouth's practices and operations. According to the analysis, humans as networks of administrators and collectives inside and outside the organisation managed its practices and operations. The objects of Craftsouth were predominantly from outside in workshops and wholesale and retail outlets. It also gained strength and authority by engaging and affiliating with other craft representations who make objects in their own right. Craftsouth assists and offers services to members and the community as a professional and business organisation. Identifying the actions of Craftsouth helped understand how it went about connecting and authorising human and non-human actors to work in its name.

The analysis of Craftsouth’s membership accreditation document, already scrutinised in the general Craftsouth analysis, was an example of how the hand and object could be appropriated to make the professional rather than shape the qualities, meaning and aesthetics of discrete material objects. Although the object is included in the process of accreditation, it is bound by paperwork (texts and images) rather than materiality. The Craftsouth accreditation document outlined the criteria of a masterpiece used to enrol members and regulate its practices and operations in the form it desired.

The analysis enabled comparisons to be made between Craftsouth’s accreditation document and medieval craft guilds leading to the notion of the Masterpiece. By considering the roots of the Masterpiece in medieval times and its counterpart in



Craftsouth's accreditation criteria The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object was collapsed into a single form, the Masterpiece, a useful tool especially for the study of testing, assessment and accreditation guidelines and procedures.

The analysis of the second site of craft representation, a jewellery workshop in a university, was based on the assumption that observing a course in an “academic workshop” and collecting the paperwork disseminated and produced during its implementation helps understand the relationship between traditional craft and its academic counterpart. The analysis was underpinned by an adaptation of Latour's No. 2 rule of method and his first principle - that is the efficacy of a claim to a "fact" can be tested by what happens between paperwork in and paperwork out. A jewellery course, Jewellery Production Techniques, was studied on this basis by exploring how students materialise institutional paperwork during workshop practice and how workshop practice makes new student and institutional paperwork.

Because the paperwork was collected and analysed in the context of the socio/technical world of the workshop it was important first to narrate continuous observations of workshop life over the period of the course to provide background for the formal research. A detailed diary kept by the researcher and transcribed into narrative form not only provided a snapshot of workshop life but also set the formal research projects in the context of workshop life. The transformation of university demands into student outcomes took place in an environment which was far from the systematic, measured world of a science laboratory. The narrative, in the form of observations, conversations and reflections, included macro and micro events, social formations, controversies and disruptions which are both part of the everyday routine of workshop life and the distinguishing features of a teaching workshop in a university. The workshop narrative highlighted the everyday relations of humans and non-humans in the workshop because, and in spite of the institutional demands placed on them. This is important to a workshop study as it situates the more formal workshop research in the context of the socio/technical realities of university workshop life.

To understand craft in an academic workshop by looking at the paperwork which imposes on, critiques and modifies workshop life and its "industrial" ambience, it



was first necessary to analyse university and student produced texts. The university's interests were revealed by collecting and analysing paperwork it used to modify traditional workshop operations and practices to make students into academic jewellers. It was argued that the workshop was modified to manifest institutional interests because teaching jewellery making was not the university's only objective. The workshop was another campus site used to fulfil universitywide educational and community aspirations and the theoretical and practical visual art and design objectives of a jewellery department in a school of art.

Nevertheless university paperwork is open to interpretation; it is far easier for the institution to write paperwork than to see it implemented in the form they intended. Students read (or don't read) paperwork according to what they want from, and what they bring to a university course. Following the analysis of the institutional texts, four students were asked to respond to the institutional texts which impacted on their jewellery course in the university. Their interpretations varied widely enough to suggest that students "rewrite" paperwork as they make objects in the workshop. The importance of this analysis rests on the comparison it offered between the university objectives and the student's interpretation of these objectives - an amalgam of what the students desired and what they thought the university wanted.

In addition to direct questioning, understanding student readings of university paperwork was explored by analysing their continuous journal paperwork. Student journals are a source of personalised rewritten institutional paperwork. Journal interpretations of institutional paperwork reveal personal beliefs about jewellery making students bring to the university which affect their relations with the academic workshop. The private nature of the journals allowed light to be shed on the individual and personal reactions students have with the course. The inferences from their journal work varied widely, ranging from collecting and evaluating technical processes to manifesting conceptual and aesthetic interests.

At the end of the course students were asked by the teacher to write a 250 word paper on their work in the course. Paperwork such as this adds to and expands on student journals by bringing together in a personal narrative the relations between the institutional paperwork, teacher's input, student desires and the influence of the



workshop. It enabled their interpretation of institutional texts, the plans they made in their journals, self- assessment of their progress and a critique of the course to be compiled in a single narrative.

Institutional assessment criteria played a major part in both channelling student actions during the course and constructing a form of institutional craft. What students are asked to produce at the end of the course is the result, for many, of frustrating negotiations with the institution and its agent, the teacher. Neither students nor craft see themselves as only servants of institutional aspirations. However, if craft is offered as a university course of study, it cannot escape the institutional demands embodied in assessment criteria and procedures. It is bound, like all programmes, to serve the wider interests of the university. Its form and the role it performs must take into account all levels of university requirements, from institutional wide texts to the practices imposed by the demands of a jewellery workshop. Institutional assessment requirements account for more than the techno/aesthetic outcomes of jewellery production. Analysing institutional assessment texts for a craft (in this case jewellery) course revealed much about university requirements at all levels - from the vision of the vice-chancellor to the teacher’s aspirations for first year undergraduate basic jewellery skills. The university demands more than assessment of material outcomes of a craft course; it wants its graduates to represent it in a particular way in the university and the wider community.

The mid semester group review introduced the notion of assessment theatre, where the craft object represented by its maker makes a public appearance, albeit in front of a captive audience. The group review introduces craft and students to the problem of winning over a disinterested public. Craft is increasingly spoken into existence and students are often initiated into craft-talk as part of institutional assessment. The mute object materialises as a spoken construct when the student performs on its behalf. Whether in the institution or at large, craft objects are dependent on the ability of their representatives to capture an audience. Craft in this setting was constructed by individual student pre-occupations and teacher intervention. An institutional/personal dichotomy was played out in the workshop where the objects were made in and by the workshop and remade with talk ranging




from the manifestation of learned technical expertise to the presentation of esoteric desire: from institutional compliance to outright rebellion.

The end of semester review differed from its mid semester counterpart by the occasion and setting, and craft is significantly constructed by occasion and setting. The occasion was the final assessment for the semester when the objects were on their own, and the setting a pseudo exhibition venue distanced from the workshop, its tools and machines. The teacher input during the individual student presentations was greater in the end of semester review; an obligation to assign marks directed the talk toward institutional interests. An overview of student representation of their objects for assessment outside the workshop differed from the mid semester review because it moved the talk from technique to two related fields, concepts and ideas behind the objects and the transformation of the technical limitations imposed on them by the course.

The final assessment was in the form of individual reviews. The individual reviews were the most significant for the student, teacher and institution and for the researcher’s analysis of the assessment process. These intimate reviews were intense and elicited the coincidences and differences in interests between teacher and student as they both try to assert themselves through the objects on display for assessment. The triad of interests, the teacher protecting himself and the course he taught by assigning grades, the student wanting to pass the course but also assert her/himself as a "creative" maker and the object now approaching independence from the course, teacher and student, were each trying to gain the upper hand. Craft was a contested construction at these individual reviews, for the teacher, the student, the institution and the object struggling for autonomy.

The course, now over, was summed up as an exercise in rewriting texts. The institutional paper work was rewritten by student responses to questionnaires, journals, essays, talk and assessment processes and importantly by their relations with workshop life. Institutional paperwork was also rewritten by the university in the form of grades and written and oral commentary by the teacher. These new texts should impact on the next round of institutional texts. What students do with institutional texts in the workshop when they made objects which "rewrote" institutional paperwork, should always remains open for negotiation. Although



students disputed and rewrote institutional texts during the course when it came to the assessment crunch they tried to negotiate a way to conform to institutional requirements in order to “pass” the course.

The workshop project was based on the ANT notion of translating interests. The dialogue, in this case, was between actants as they confront the problem of institutional jewellery making, sort out their common interests and enrol each other in the task of manifesting and mobilising them so all needs are met. In particular an adaptation of Latour's No. 2 rule of method and his first principle guided the process and following the paperwork trail was the means of exploring the dialogue eventually materialised as jewellery objects.

The analysis of the third site of craft representation, the exhibition Triptych, was made using recollections and reflections of the researcher and a collection of informal and media texts on the pretext they would divulge the exhibitions relations with craft. ANT was mobilised to explore the socio/technical affairs leading up to and culminating in a jewellery exhibition, Triptych, in a public gallery in an arts centre. This project relied more heavily on a mix of reflections, and texts as memory triggers than Craftsouth and the university jewellery workshop. It differed from the Craftsouth analysis because of the use of personal reflection and a scrappy collection of fortuitous texts rather than carefully composed official documents. It, of course, differed from the workshop research which was formal, organised and bounded in real time and specific experiences. Nevertheless a

theory/methodology/method such as ANT was required to utilise and organise the memories and make the haphazard collection of texts into a research project. However as material to be interrogated by ANT it was like any other data made available for analysis. The rationale of the research, studying craft in sites of representation was represented in Triptych by an exhibition of institutional jewellery making. Jewellery making in Triptych averted the notion of objects away from their role as personal adornment to a display of teaching skills by jewellery teachers (and hence the making skills of jewellery students) and the capacity of institutions to organise viable educational sites around them. Few of the jewellery objects would leave the confines of their sealed exhibition cases for human hands to touch, the predominant aim of jewellery craft. However jewellery craft in Triptych went beyond teachers, institutions and students, it was also a launching pad for a



then new umbrella organisation called the Helpmann Academy. Jewellery craft for the Helpmann Academy promoted the idea that it could accomplish what institutions, teachers and students, in isolation, could not. Helpmann claimed that only an overarching organisation could temporarily dismantle personal and institutional barriers and conflicts to jointly promote a generic product, regional jewellery education. In doing so it implied a particular notion of jewellery, Helpmann jewellery, a form that only it could authorise thus constructing and disseminating a public identity for itself. By exploring this event through a field of memories and texts it is argued that a Helpmann notion of jewellery craft is opened for consideration.

However the Triptych research revealed more than institutional and Helpmann constructions of jewellery craft. The public display of jewellery objects was mediated by a generic form, the exhibition. The impact of the generic exhibition on Triptych surfaced as the story of its making unfolded. Exhibitions are the public face of institutionalised displays called museums. A third task for ANT in Triptych could not be avoided, revealing the concept of the museum and its impact on the representation of the objects it displays. The museum exhibition, a common vehicle used in the Craft/Art world for promotion, gains prestige and finds markets by organising events in its own way. Rather than an impediment, the construction of institutional craft in Triptych was advanced by the way exhibitions work. Succinctly put by Vergo (1989: p. 46) "in most exhibitions at least, objects are brought together not simply for the sake of their physical manifestation or juxtaposition, but because they are a part of a story one is trying to tell". The generic museum, in the case of Triptych, constructs craft as a story about teachers, students, teaching institutions and the Helpmann Academy rather than about the sensory, tactile body related objects it employed.

One of the means used to find craft in the thesis is to look at the roles the hand and the object play in the texts and practices in the sites which represent them. The hand and the object, although embedded in the narrative of Triptych, were performed by the way the skills of the jeweller were portrayed. Once the jewellery was sealed in boxes and placed in the exhibition space, the hand was hidden by its separation from maker and user and the object rendered fluid by the various functions it was asked to perform. The hand made the exhibition in a particular form and then



disappeared from sight and each object a bit player in a single Masterpiece, the exhibition.

Exhibitions perform functions outside those designated by their constructors. Significantly viewers bring concepts of jewellery, ideas about jewellery education and affiliations with the institutions to the exhibition and shape it accordingly. Triptych performed only some of its intended "official" roles but on the local level and, for those not in the target audience, it performed a multitude of roles. Indeed the proposed vast physical and virtual journey mapped out for Triptych did not eventuate; it remained mainly in and for the local community.

Taken together, the three sites representing Craft in this study can be seen, on reflection, as the “New Apprenticeship.” In contrast to the researcher’s own apprenticeship as a fitter and turner, or even later as induction as a jeweller, this new apprenticeship places quite different emphases on the role of the object and the hand in its making. The work of making is still important, but it is mediated much more strongly by paperwork, by business and marketing activities. Even to “pass” the courses requires mediation of objects and self through paperwork. Assessment has at least these two forms. Professionally, too, the recognition of craft work through the organisation requires attention to business skills, marketing and exhibitions, in ways that are qualitatively different, both to the craftsperson and to those engaging with the education and training or exhibition of objects. This new apprenticeship – university education and training, participation in exhibitions and membership of a relevant organisation – allows both for continuity of emphasis on the craft object and its maker and for differentiation and individualisation of the hand worker in a marketised context.

Craft objects do not stand alone. They are ascribed roles by those responsible for their construction and dissemination. Revisiting the sites of representation such as Craftsouth, the academic jewellery workshop and Triptych in which the researcher was, at various times, an insider and outsider, permitted reflections on the construction and dissemination of objects in context. Context, in this thesis is encapsulated by the notion of the Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object.




The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object: targets of research/tool for research As the research was able to provide only a range of snapshots of the three craft sites of representation and a rapidly changing craft scene rendered the research findings impermanent, it is up to the efficacy of the tools used and produced along the way to substantiate it, ensure its future and promote its adaptability in other contexts. The tools used were based on ANT. Early in the research, ANT led the analysis towards the search for hands and objects as a method of finding the practices and operations in the craft sites of representation. As a consequence, the active but hidden hand and the extant but fluid object were found in the overt practices and operations of these sites. The hidden hand was a way of acknowledging the presence of the hand when it was responsible for, but submerged beneath, the overt interests and concerns of the sites of representation. The fluid object referred to the way the object was shaped to conform and adapt its form and function to the contextual needs in the sites of representation. It is further argued that, as ANT searched for the hand and object in these sites it was covertly providing a research tool for use in other sites of craft representation. Thus the finding, The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object, was born as a tool for use in this study and for other studies at other times.

A short history of the thesis helps to understand how this portable tool emerged. Prior to the study the researcher assumed that the hand and object were obstinately carrying out their traditional roles by resisting the new technologies threatening to replace them. Awareness of these looming technologies prompted the study in the first instance as they were assumed to be an enemy of craft. As the research unfolded it became apparent it was more complex than the take-over of hand and object by new technologies. Hints of the complexity of the situation emerged in the early stages of the Craftsouth research where the hand and the object were seen to be slowly submerged over time under social, cultural and economic forces which included but did not privilege new technologies. When the academic workshop and exhibition Triptych were subsequently explored awareness of the subjection of hand and object to other agendas influenced the outcomes of their research. It became clear that although the hand and object were far from eradicated, their submerged but still vital presence was problematic for the sites and the humans who manage and access them.




The terms the Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object suited the outcomes study. Craft was found in the study to be an amorphous entity and, like other contemporary practices and operations, was difficult to circumscribe with universally agreed upon margins or boundaries. Even when margins or boundaries were drawn in context, they proved to be impermanent, shifting, alternatively blurring and focusing and constantly at risk of being redrawn by those in power in particular times and places. If craft is to be studied, there is need for a tool which could follow its somewhat elusive trajectories. The tool must be portable, stable and at hand if the shifting craft scene is to be kept under surveillance long enough for a thesis to be written. When the sites have mutated into other forms, a more permanent tool is useful if the thesis is to last as a study of craft. It needed a tool that is able to move with the ground it is surveying - a virtual rather than a concrete entity. A tool, in the form of the Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object serendipitously emerged as the research unfolded.

The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object grew as a way of acknowledging the camouflaged hand and object in the selected sites of representation. The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object was a portable tool which could deal with contextual constructions of craft, be moved to other sites when needed and redo past research when the research was no longer relevant. Although the three sites used in the research - the craft organisation, the university workshop and the exhibition will not remain in their present forms, the notion of craft embodied in the concept of the Hidden Hand and Fluid Object (in material, discursive or virtual form) keeps them alive by acknowledging the hand and the object as the founders and the basis of their current operations and practices. In spite of a constantly shifting craft, the Hidden Hand and Fluid Object is a method available for use wherever and whenever craft is explored.

Thus two useful applications are promised by the concept, the Hidden Hand and Fluid Object. First it can be the focus for the search in craft sites of representation and second it is a tool for use in unearthing craft in other sites of representation at other times. It was its place as a focus for this research and as a tool for the other projects which gave it its significance.




The research makes the claim that the hand and the object, although hidden and fluid, persist in spite of being problematic in their sites of representation. The sites can be well managed but still fail to recognise the presence of the hand and object thus breaching the fundamental connection between humans and non-humans in these sites. The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object can reunite humans and nonhumans and re-humanise objects in sites of craft representation. By re-visiting well known places (sites of organisational craft, institutional craft, and the craft exhibition) where the hand and the object, at least, are still given cursory acknowledgement, an opportunity is opened up to redeem human presence in other sites. It brings into focus the claim that craft can both recognise and satisfy the needs for humans as creatures of the material world in spite of the intervention of dehumanising technologies and socio/cultural formations. Of course further testing in other sites is necessary if the following question is to be answered. Is the Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object a sufficiently flexible tool to locate and understand the relations between craft, its humans and its objects?

The Masterpiece: a fluid tool of management As the Craftsouth research progressed it was apparent that The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object, itself claimed as a useful research tool, could be collapsed into the single form of The Masterpiece when accreditation or assessment analyses are required. The Masterpiece is, in a sense, a black box built and sealed according to local needs and circumstances but available for opening and rebuilding as needs and circumstances change.

A particular construction of the Masterpiece emerged from a realisation during the analysis of Craftsouth that hands and objects were valued according to local rather than universal criteria. A study of medieval craft guilds also found that local rather than universal criteria were used to select apprentices to be trained and installed as journeymen and to induct tradespersons as guild members. The Masterpiece was a fluid construct, shaped and adapted according to the needs of industry and power structures at given times and in particular places. The contemporary form of the Masterpiece only differed from its medieval ancestor by the nature of their differing socio/technical environments. Thus the Masterpiece enabled a comparative study of craft organisations across history and in the other selected sites of representation, the academic workshop and the exhibition when assessment, accreditation and



selection processes were under notice. The concept, the Hidden Hand and Fluid Object, collapsed into the form of the Masterpiece, is also a tool available to study craft sites of representation. The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object in this form is enhanced as a versatile tool to explore craft practices and operations especially when they are related to accreditation and assessment criteria and procedures.

Further research can build on this study. It would be possible to study, using the two concepts of the Fluid Hand and the Hidden Object and the Masterpiece, other craft sites, to examine the ways in which hand and object relate and are or not visible. It might also be worth considering study of trade training sites in

comparison with university craft education sites for the ways in which the object and the hand are represented and made visible. The extension of the idea of the new apprenticeship might then be able to be fleshed out more deliberately as the focus for new work. Other studies which could flow from this research include the comparison of different approaches of ‘consumers’ or purchasers of craft objects and the ways objects transmute in their different settings, with other relations to other objects, hands and contexts.

Appraising ANT: the pros and cons The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object and The Masterpiece came to notice because they resonated with ANT's claim that the discovery of science "facts" entailed more than the implementation of a rational science method - the hidden and fluid use of hands and objects and opening and closing "black boxes" all contributed to a seemingly unencumbered science "fact". The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object and The Masterpiece could only be found and used in the texts, practices and aspirations of Craftsouth, the academic jewellery workshop and the exhibition, Triptych, if an inquisitive theory/methodology/method such as ANT was on hand to unearth them. ANT's oft disputed, but important claim that ideas become objects by networks of humans, non-humans and their actions crucial for understanding science "facts" resonates with the similar claim substantiated in the research findings. That is, craft in sites of representation can only be fully understood if the human and non-human mediators which construct the network which makes craft at that site are taken into account.




The match between ANT and the intentions and outcomes of the research was fortuitous. In the beginning, neither a clear picture of the research aims nor a deep understanding of ANT encouraged the project. They both came into focus, separately and slowly, to later merge, when each became a servant of the other. But ANT was and remains a creature of science and although Latour is a critic of rational science method, he still believed in science and, rarely discussed it in terms of Craft/Art. Craft in the visual arts, the stepping off point for the thesis, is not a branch of science whereas ANT is really a modification and adaptation of the science method. The esotery of craft in the visual arts is easy to dismiss in ANT terms because it is emotional, sensory and arcane. ANT, in contrast, is about the socio/technical actions of humans and non-humans, differing from the visual arts (and poetry) because of its empirical basis. ANT is concrete in spite of its radicalism: craft, at least for some, has absorbed and appropriated many of visual arts intangible qualities. Nevertheless ANT builds bridges between craft, visual art and other sites of representation. As a constant tool of examination it enables diverse sites to be seen in a generic form, explored not for differences but because they share the capability to mediate ideas into objects.

ANT promotes generalisability, particularly useful in a study of craft, where the interaction of human hand and object remains a priority without which the field would not exist. Further studies for ANT in the arena of craft could include a study of the hand and object in the workshops of self employed makers, in the craft market place, such as the Jam Factory shops, where the touch of the hand and the hand made object underlie marketing strategies and a visual art site such as the Experimental Art Foundation where the hand and the object are assigned conceptual as well as craft roles. How the hand and object inter-relate in the art/craft debates can be further illuminated by study of art and craft curricula in the secondary and tertiary education sectors, the rationale of funding and grant dispensing bodies and in the acquisition policies of state and national galleries.

Adding to the literature pool The interests and concerns which underscore the thesis, organising the making and using body, academic craft in/and the visual arts, craft’s public performance and craft writing were contextualised and analysed in three craft sites of representation. A study of a craft organisation, an example of organising the making and using



body, adds to the literature by detailing the consequences of the professionalisation of craft. It highlights the influence of context when craft is made and distributed. It also shows how the interests of craft makers and users were shaped by the pressure of management techniques. The thesis added to craft education literature by studying in depth one important relatively recent teaching and learning venue for craftspeople, the university workshop by bringing together the mission of university study and the nature of workshop life. By studying the formation and presentation of a particular exhibition in depth the thesis has added insights to exhibition making, one of the important promotional venues for craft in a wider cultural setting. The particular nature, function and limitations of such a venue when explored and theorised found how all involved in making an exhibition had to work together if the separate motives of all are to be satisfied. The thesis has added to craft as a written construct by employing ANT as a voice for constructing craft in sites of representation. A new “apprenticeship” for craftspeople was proposed by the three sites, membership of a professional body, education and training in a university and public profiling through a promoted graduate exhibition. It is an apprenticeship because it accounts for all elements of the initiation into the workworld of a craftsperson. The new apprenticeship differs from the traditional apprenticeship the researcher experienced in the 1950s because it is fragmented in non-mandatory sites, is managed to a significant degree by the “apprentice” and is situated in a different socio/cultural climate.

Although the thesis set out to explore craft it also contributed to visual art and the ongoing art/craft debate. The claim that ideas are mediated into objects in craft and visual art is shared ground worthy of discrete contemplation in both disciplines. The ground which visual art and craft shared in the past has fuelled rather than settled the art/craft debate because it is now used to differentiate rather than collaborate. The thesis suggests that this need not be the case. The shared ground could also be a place where craft and visual art come together, where "in the making" is a viable site of aesthetic, corporeal and human interest in both cases. The notion of The Hidden Hand and the Fluid Object and The Masterpiece add to the literature by providing tools to sort out differences and find common grounds in the socio/cultural conflicts between craft and visual art.




Summary Sites of craft representation must now manage two agendas. They have to be viable and attractive public entities compatible with contemporary culture, industry, society and economy and continue to represent the traditions of craft; their core business and primary purpose. Hands and objects have to be adapted and incorporated within both agendas in order to remain in these sites.

Other than representing a contemporary face of craft the sites of representation have other roles to play in the wider community. They have to reach beyond their traditions as craft clubs, skills learning centres and craft markets and add something to a complex social, industrial, cultural and economic world. They have to manage the debilitating craft/art debate and distribute scarce public resources according to community wishes rather than accede to powerful cultural elites. They have to ensure a future for craft and its human followers by selecting appropriate education and training venues and writing curricula which gives craft and its adherents the best chance of survival. They have to convince industry that craft is a vital education, research and development tool and that it should plant its roots in the sub-tertiary education system to seed future expertise for industry and the arts. They have to rationalise craft's place in computer technology and support research to re-install it there. They have to compensate for the social and cultural deficit and sense of loss if craft is withdrawn from mainstream domestic, industrial and material culture.

Postscript The thesis was a challenge on several fronts. It, of course, was a challenge to the researcher, who had to come out of the workshop tidy up and go to the office. Manual experiences had to be interpreted or translated as words and the deft use of hand tools replaced by the clumsy use of a computer. Prejudices, defensive attitudes and hierarchical socio/cultural positions had to be set aside - not an easy task. The thesis was a challenge to craft as its shaky position in education, visual arts and material culture was continually confronted and questioned by other interest groups and constantly re-written in forms which challenge its traditional and contemporary constructions. The thesis was a challenge to the three sites of representation as examples of craft in action and by default a challenge to other sites where craft is the basis of their practices and operations. Finally the thesis was a challenge to



ANT and its ability to locate and break up entrenched meanings, concealed objects and normalised understandings in the world of craft.





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