Basketry: Between culture and nature (2013)

Mitchell, Victoria Basketry: Between culture and nature (2013). UNSPECIFIED.

Abstract Mitchell’s research for this AHRC-funded project conceives basketry as a prototypical medium of transferable knowledge, informed by and informing a variety of disciplines. Conceived as formative of the so-called intelligence that distinguishes humans from other animal species, mediating evolution and the contemporary as an archetype of ‘slow’ design, basketry-related practices are considered here for their contribution to the impulse for increased ecological sensitivity. Mitchell’s contribution to the broader collaborative project ‘Beyond the Basket’ included significant involvement in the selection of participating artists, and selection and description of artefacts, for the exhibition ‘Basketry: Making Human Nature’, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, February-May 2011, and catalogue (10,000 plus visitors, reviews including Sparke, Journal of Design History, 25:1, 2012). Additionally Mitchell co-curated (with Mary Butcher) ‘East Anglian Basketry’, Norwich University of the Arts (January to February 2011), attracting 3-4,000 visitors and resulting in a catalogue, extensive local reviews and a public lecture. For this exhibition she devised and presented a 20 minute collaged loop of historical film clips relating to regional basketry, based on the collection of the East Anglian Film Archive. Subsequent (invited) activities include conference and symposium papers (University of St Andrews, 2012, Ruthin Crafts Centre, 2011), a panel discussion, (Dartington, ‘Basketry and Beyond Festival’, 2013), and a public lecture (Forum, Norwich 2013). Research published on as ‘Tangles and Tectonics: basketry as prototype of ‘slow’ design’ and translated into French as ‘La Tectonique des Noeuds’ will be further disseminated when it appears as a contribution in ‘Tangles and Tectonics: the expanding range of contemporary basketry’ in the forthcoming T. Heslop ed., Basketry and Beyond: Constructing Cultures, Leiden: Brill, 2014.

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