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Chamithri Greru, Dr Britta Kalkreuter

Match making: Broadening cultural exchange opportunities through digital access to crafts.

Chamithri Greru and Britta Kalkreuter

Affiliation: Heriot Watt University, Scotland

Keywords: cross-cultures, digital- engagements, craft

Conference activity: Presentation Fri 11th July

Project Summary:

There is a growing interest in cross-cultural exchanges between practitioners (Ravetz et al. 2013). However, even in this climate keen on cultural immersion, creating effective and meaningful engagements remains a challenging enterprise, and critics have posited that ‘craft is not straightforwardly democratic’ (ibid). Could technology’s ever rising accessibility thus be the answer for equalising the playing field for cultural exchange, opening opportunities for creative engagements irrespective of distance and mobility? The paper explores how we might transpose the characteristics of meaningful cultural exchange into a digital environment. By exploring digital potential within a cross cultural residency (ReSIde) funded by Creative Scotland in 2012/3, it questions what the digital equivalent of immersing oneself in other cultures might be, and what possibilities for collaborative creation there are at a distance. Thus it seeks to define what the 21st century digital making cultures might be calling for.

As international residencies are resource and time intensive, thus largely benefiting the chosen few, this paper investigates how digital platforms can create sustainable knowledge communities, resulting in knowledge mobility that is frequent and economic. A specific focus of analogue making cultures, witnessed during the ReSIde residency by practitioners of both traditional and contemporary making was found to be the use of ‘appresentation’ (Moon 2004). We are debating to what extend this method of creating meaningful experiences is adaptable, congenial and appropriate for the digital environment, focusing particularly on social networking platforms and looking at it from contextualisation of idea to dissemination of artefact.

Outlining key elements which helped practitioners in coming to understand their cultural translation from one world to another, comparisons are made between the physical reality and its digital presence, highlighting issues and benefits it brought to the maker experiences. As such, it is an invitation for further research and discussion to explore digital possibilities for democratic making cultures.


Moon, J.A., 2004. A handbook of reflective and experiential learning : theory and practice, London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Ravetz, A., Kettle, A. and Felcey, H., 2013. Collaborations through craft, London, UK:Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

A question that arises from your project: Can there be a digital equivalent of an analogue making within cross cultural experiences?

Full paper

Kalkreuter. B, & Greru, C. (2014). Match Making: Broadening cultural exchange opportunities through digital access to crafts. In K. Bunnell & J. Marshall (Eds.), All Makers Now: Craft Values in 21st Century Production, International Conference Proceedings, Autonomatic Research Group, Falmouth University, 10/11 July 2014 (pp. 65 – 72). Falmouth University, ISBN 978-0-9544187-9-3