Talk: Making Meaning – Craft & Labour


UNSW Art & Design presents a special lecture by Professor Jessica Hemmings from the National College of Art & Design in Dublin.  Hemmings is internationally recognised for her research in design and textiles.

WHEN:          24th November 2016
WHERE:        UNSW Art & Design
ADDRESS:     Main lecture theatre, EG02, Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd, Paddington, 2021
HOURS:          6 – 8pm
BOOKING:     No booking necessary

In this lecture, Prof Hemmings examines the ways in which value – or the lack thereof – is attributed to goods produced in a globalised world.  Familiar criticisms are easy to level against today’s culture of overproduction – low quality goods manufactured in unacceptable working conditions have driven down quality in favour of volume.  Far harder to come by are clear solutions, especially given the formidable barriers to change of consumer apathy, the disparities of global economics, and rapidly disappearing knowledge.

Hemmings explores these topics and offers inspiring examples of designers and artists succeeding in their rejection of current models of production, such as American artist, Liza Lou, who recently explained, “The story and the way things are made is very important, it is part of the meaning… I don’t think you can separate the meaning from how things are made… if we do that, then what we do is negate labor, and the people who are part of the process.”

Hemmings discusses various practitioners including Liza Lou, Studio Formafantasma, Meekyoung Shin, Theaster Gates, and Hechizoo Studio – each of whom critique current models of production and investigate alternatives.

Jessica Hemmings is an Adjunct Professor at UNSW Art & Design and is taking part in a UNSW Art & Design Residency from 19 November – 4 December 2016.  She will assume a new position in January as a Professor of Craft at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.  Her publications include a collection of essays titled In the Loop: Knitting Now published by Black Dog, The Textile Reader (Berg), and Warp & Weft (Bloomsbury).  Her latest editorial and curatorial project, Cultural Threads, is a book about postcolonial thinking and contemporary textile practice (Bloomsbury, 2015) accompanied by a travelling exhibition Migrations.


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