From October 10th – 15th, 2018, surrounded by the beauty of Nova Scotia and its rich Maritime culture, delegates from across Canada came together for an intensive conference on the connections between craft, community, and tourism.
Starting with the pre-conference tour of Cape Breton, where craft is bursting from every corner. Delegates visited the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design as well as their satellite centre, the Customs House Artisan Incubator for emerging artisans; as well as the Fortress of Louisbourg, the Gaelic College, The Glass Artisans Studio & Gallery, Leather Works by Jolene, Iron Art & Photographs and Colouratura Art Gallery.
“I’m super glad we did a tour of the Cape Breton Centre for Craft [in Sydney]. That was really, really valuable,” – Alison Murphy, Executive Director of Craft NB.
Our official opening took place October 12th in the Central Halifax Library in collaboration with the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, lead by Ursula Johnson, featuring a moving performance by Natalie Sappier and the 2018 Polaris Prize winner, Jeremy Dutcher. Following a local gallery tour, we welcomed the community to the Craft Social, where the Robert Jekyll Award for Leadership in Craft was presented to Tom McFall and Anne Manuel.
For our second day, attendees visited NSCAD University’s Fountain Campus for a series of presentations, featuring guest speakers Annie Warburton, Director of Crafts Council UK, and Jenna Stanton. Panelists covered topics such as community engagement through craft and the long-lasting impact of craft schools. Afterwards, conference had the option to explore Nocturne Halifax, a free festival that brings art and energy to the streets of Halifax between 6 p.m.-midnight.
“I saw different models of how to be a craft artist. As an emerging practitioner, it was very helpful.” – Andrea Tsang Jackson (3rd Story Workshop), Halifax designer & textile artist
On October 14th, the conference shifted to the town of Lunenburg, where another session of talks and panels took place at the Lunenburg School for the Arts. We were thrilled to welcome the Honourable Senator Patricia Bovey to discuss placemaking and her advocacy for Canada’s cultural sector. (Read the Senator’s moving speech here)
Further panel speakers discussed community practices and working as a craft artist in small communities, followed by an open studio and gallery tour of Lunenburg. “It was great to be able to self-direct, get outside, and walk in an inspiring town,” said Anya Gansterer, Co-Artistic Director at Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio.
To wrap the conference, the CCF/FCMA held a board meeting and working session to discuss current and future plans, where plans were drafted and collaborations designed to bring the craft sector even more national events to come.
After the success of “Placemaking”, the CCF/FCMA is more driven than ever to build upon the connections we made and the knowledge we gained at this conference. We hope you will join us again for our next national events, and start your plans for the next national celebration of Craft: Craft Year 2020!
Last but not least, we have to thank the many partners and sponsors who made Placemaking possible. Thank you to Craft Nova Scotia, Craft Alliance Atlantic, Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation, Lunenburg School of the Arts, and Adams & Knickle Ltd.