(report on the Setting the Scene Symposium by Simone ten Hompel and Deborah Werbner)
The eminent Dutch applied art historian, Marjan Unger, engaged the participants in a lively, insightful and provocative overview of the “landscape’ of contemporary craft. She appropriated terms such as pragmatism, perspective and modernity as appropriate descriptives for professional crafts practice today. To counterbalance the overcrowded field of the designer/maker, she advised contemporary craft professionals to make new alliances and take new risks. There should be fluidity in practice between fine art, craft and installation, with makers having confidence in their skills and trying out new arenas. New values of collaboration and inventiveness are, in Unger’s view, vital to making contemporary craft endure and prosper.