Daniel Carpenter
PhD Student


Research projects

Project title: Tacit practices and the emergence of ‘heritage crafts’ – a multi-scalar study

Supervisors: Dr Nicola Thomas, Dr Joanna Sofaer (University of Southampton)

Funding body: AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership

Project description:

Use of the term ‘heritage crafts’ to describe a range of traditional craft practices has gained particular prominence in the UK in the last decade, emerging alongside a number of contemporary debates amongst practitioners, academics and policymakers about what constitutes heritage and what constitutes craft, about types of knowledge that are both inherent in the body and manifest in practice, and in relation to global initiatives such as the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003.

Although there has been heightened awareness of heritage crafts at policy level in the last ten years, scholarship has not yet got to grips with how heritage is enacted by individual crafts practitioners on a local scale, and the various and unexpected links between grassroots practice and policy debate both nationally and globally.

This research will provide a multi-scalar investigation into the channels of influence that link everyday practices with academic thought, economic trends and public policy. Its starting point is that the heritage discourses performed by craft practitioners are complex and nuanced, touching on factors such as self-identity, authenticity, economics, and environmentalism, and that they have a similarly complex and multifaceted relationship with the various heritage discourses operating at national level, within a context in which the construct of ‘nation’ itself is in flux.

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