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Isabelle Risner

Understanding the digital proposition: from productive autonomy to collaborative practice.

Dr. Isabelle Risner

Affiliation: Autonomatic, Falmouth University

Keywords: Collaboration, skill, digital craft practice.

Conference Activity: Presentation Fri 11th July, Pop Up Exhibition Trelissick House

Project Summary:

This paper draws on research undertaken for the author’s PhD, awarded in May 2013 and titled: The Integration of Digital Technologies into Designer-Maker Practice: a Study of Access, Attitudes and Implications. This research found that a cross-fertilisation between craft and digital technologies produces a hybrid networked practice that can amount to a new type of technology-enabled and networked craft – Technepractice – in which ‘negotiated collective engagement’ is the driving characteristic. This presents a fundamental challenge to the constructed authenticity of productive autonomy in 20th century studio craft practice. The animation of collective resources, from exteriorised skill embedded in technology to the expertise of technicians and machine operators and the use of digital data sources, requires a re-evaluation of the location and meaning of skill in digital craft practice. This paper explores the digital practice potential identified through research with makers and suggests a framework for locating craft skill in collaborative practice. The research is underpinned by an understanding of ‘collaborative value chains’ a concept demonstrated by reference to current research undertaken for the Supercrafted project*. Supercrafted is a two year research project at Falmouth University, exploring and developing online digital interaction of benefit to craft practitioners and stakeholders in the craft value chain, including audiences, customers, makers and suppliers. This research seeks to demonstrate the potential for internet-based collaborative value to be harnessed by makers for marketing and communicating with customers, as well as making. The researcher concludes that makers using digital tools and internet-based interaction could be described as acting as impresarios of concerted effort, leveraging the inherent collaborative potential of digital technology.

*Supercrafted is jointly funded by Falmouth University and Superfast Cornwall. Superfast Cornwall is bringing superfast broadband to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It is a partnership project between BT and Cornwall Development Company (CDC); funded by the EU, Cornwall Council and BT.

A question that arises from your project: How do we recognise and extend collaborative value in digital craft practice?