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Thinking Through Craft
and the Digital Turn

Researching the relationship between making traditions and the advent of advanced tools, along with the pedagogical
implications of the digital turn in craft.


To record how academics and students in Canadian post-secondary craft programs articulate and understand the synergies between craft and digital technology...

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This research evolved from two pilot studies which surveyed participants who use both traditional craft processes and digital tools. The interest engendered by these initial pilot projects encouraged this conversation with the larger academic craft community...

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Thinking Through Craft and the Digital Turn is a collaborative effort between Alberta University of the Arts, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, NSCAD University, OCAD University and Sheridan College...

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An Exploration of Research Creation,
through exploration, innovation and invention!

Integral to our research is the production of visual representations of our enquiry which will be documented on an ongoing basis for inclusion in our exhibitions, articles and presentations.


Thinking Through Craft and the Digital Turn has been in development since 2016!

Anne Kyung-Jin Lee, My Home, My Identity, 2016

Laser cut walnut wood, 3D printing forms cast

in sterling silver and brass, Hanji paper

photo: Nicholas Kalimin

With the support of OCAD University through seed funding, a SSHRC Institutional Grant, and a program to integrate graduate students into research labs, Gradlinks, we have completed a pilot project, titled Craft, Pedagogy and the Digital Challenge. We gathered qualitative data about attitudes to craft, pedagogy and digital tools through interviewing faculty, technicians and administrators at one institution. We then designed a research-creation response and delivered a conference paper on the findings.

Another significant pilot project was undertaken by MAAD faculty and the Faculty and Curriculum Development Centre (FCDC) at OCAD University, specially designed to address student experience and course-based research. It involved gathering and analyzing perspectives of students and project-based work that used applications of digital technologies and machinery in craft design and production. Issues that became apparent in the initial pilot project were further examined in this study of the perceptions of and experiences students had while learning digital technology in textiles and jewellery classes. A conference paper was delivered on the initial findings.

As craft and material culture scholars, educators and practitioners we are often confronted by critical questions, namely: “What are the affordances, if any, of digital technologies in the craft studio in relation, for example, to innovation, social practice, and alternative ways of learning and knowing?”; “What are the ways that makers work with digital technologies that are informed by craft methodology—a primary engagement with materials, process, tools and networks?" Those are some of the questions that we will be exploring in phase 03 of this cross-country project—Thinking Through Craft and the Digital Turn.


We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Government of Canada, as well as the following universities and colleges: OCAD University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Alberta University of the Arts, Sheridan College, NSCAD University, and Saint Mary's University Research Ethics Board. An extra special shoutout goes to the folks in the OCAD U Research Office —Robert Luke, Heather Robson, Greg Singer, Melissa Golberg, Leila Talei, Samatha Leggett Christine Pineda, and MyLy Pham.


We are grateful to our OCAD University research assistants who were part of our pilot projects:
Claire Bartleman, Enna Kim, Ellie Manning, Keiko Hart

Thank you to all those who participated in our initial pilot project:
Darrell Currington, Nick Hooper, Chung-Im Kim, Stan Krzyzanowski, Kathleen Morris, Greg Sims, Marie O’Mahony, Laurie Wassink

Our very able video demonstrators are: Darrell Currington, Mark Jaroszewicz, Jillian Jerat, Dorie Millerson
Unless otherwise noted all photography on this site by Lynne Heller and Dorie Millerson.



AUArts acknowledges that it rests on the traditional Treaty 7 territories of the Blackfoot people and in the spirit of our efforts to promote reconciliation, we acknowledge the traditional territories and oral practices of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Piikani and Kainai), the Tsuut’ina (Sarcee), the Stoney Nakoda First Nations (Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley), the Metis Nation (Region 3) and all those who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.

Emily Carr University is situated on unceded, traditional and ancestral xʷθkʷəəm (Musqueam), Swwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səilətaʔɬ(Tsleil-Waututh) territories.

NSCAD University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaq Wəlastəkwiyik (Maliseet), and Passamaquoddy Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1726. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wəlastəkwiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.

OCAD University acknowledges the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand and create.

Sheridan College acknowledges that for thousands of years this has been and still is the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations, Anishinaabe Nation, Huron-Wendat and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Sheridan College sits on these lands and it is our collective responsibility to honour and respect those who have gone before us, those who are here, and those who have yet to come. We are grateful for the opportunity to be working on this land.







We welcome your participation in our initiatives. We will be conducting surveys, organizing exhibitions and writing for publications to name a few activities. If you would like to become involved or just be part of our mailing list, please get in touch with us.

© 2024 Craft and the Digital Turn