Nordic Countries Conferences

Nordic Countries Conferences

Practice Makes Perfect  

1st April 2011 at Kingston University,

The third and final Nordic seminar "Practice Makes Perfect" took place on 1st April 2011 and explored ways to support artists and makers make challenging new work. This debate was hosted by Kingston University.

Exploring the boundaries of disciplinary territories and pushing the limits of personal practice often requires access to equipment, technology and expertise that most practitioners - emerging or established - find beyond their means or capabilities. 

Practice Makes Perfect was a day of presentations and dialogue aimed at curators, practitioners, commissioning bodies, further education and research institutions, studio facilitators and industrial partners already involved, or interested in exploring, innovative ways to commission, facilitate and assist with the production of logistically complex projects by contemporary practitioners. 

Three distinct organisational bodies from the public and industrial sectors across Denmark, Sweden and Finland were invited to discuss different models of practice with an invited participants from the UK, Practice Makes Perfect aimed to generate debate around how best we might assist practitioners with the creation of ambitious new work.

A synopsis of the discussion can be read under Articles

Language and Craft 

Tuesday 13 July 2010 10:00–16:00
School of Jewellery, Vittoria Street, Birmingham B1 3PA 

Craft has an unstable identity because it covers such a wide diversity of practices. But it is also a liberating hybrid practice operating at the interface of design on the one hand and fine art on the other. This day event was developed in partnership with Craftspace and School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University. It explored the language we use to write and talk about craft and asked - Does the language we use impact upon its monetary value and its value as a form of creative expression in comparison to fine art? Forming Ideas invited 3 notable speakers to give presentations on this theme.

Anne Szefer Karlsen is Director of Hordaland Kunstsenter in Bergen, which was established in 1976 as the first artist run art centre in Norway. The centre has a residency programme open to international artists, curators and writers.

Dr. Christian Schoen was the director of CIA.IS between 2004 and 2009. He curated the Icelandic Pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2009, and was responsible for the publication Icelandic Art Now. He currently runs kunst-konzepte.

Professor Jivan Astfalck is a jewellery designer and Professor at the School of Jewellery. Jivan was a contributor to Craft in Dialogue, published by IASPIS in 2005. Jivan will illustrate her ideas through a specially curated exhibition to be shown at the School as part of this event, artists will include David Clarke, Katharina Moch, Eija Mustonen, Auli Laitinen, Benjamin Lignel and Jivan herself.

Each speaker posed a question for the audience to debate in small groups, then come together to discuss insights in discussions chaired by Professor Jack Cunningham, Head of the School of Jewellery at Birmingham.

Notes from the day can be seen under Articles

Craft and Identity: New Nordic Developments 


Saturday 15 May 2010 10:20–13:30 

Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3 4SQ 


Craft has an unstable identity because it covers such a wide diversity of practices. But it is also a liberating hybrid practice operating at the interface of design on the one hand and fine art at the other. This chaired debate will explore the impact of national history and context on the identity and value of craft in the Nordic countries and the UK. 


Forming Ideas invited five notable speakers to discuss these issues with an invited audience within the context of Collect.


Karen Kjærgaard, Architect and curator presents on the relationship of craft to product design in Denmark. She questioned whether craft value is enhanced by its ability to contribute to economic success. 


Dr. Widar Halén, Director of Design and Craft, The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway will looked at the ways in which the work of contemporary craft artists relates to traditional Norwegian craft methods, shapes and expressions. 


Katarina Siltavuori, Co-founder of Galerie Norsu, Helsinki will asked whether the political context of the Nordic countries diminish the market for craft as art and how a gallery like Norsu markets both? 


Tanya Harrod, Co-editor of the Journal of Modern Craft and Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art, London examined how far national identity and history has an impact on the content and form of craft in the UK? 


Harpa Pórsdóttir, Director of Hönnunarsafn Íslands Museum of Design and Applied Art, Reyjavik was to look at the identity of craft in a country such as Iceland with a short history of craft practice? Due to adverse travel conditions (ash cloud) Harpa was unable to attend the conference.