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‘Making’ our way through: DIY and crafting communities in Toronto

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Drawing on an interview-based research project on Do-It-Yourself and crafting culture in Toronto, this essay explores three themes of “why craft”?: the need for personal gratification and identity-building; the desire to build a community with shared values; and the need to connect with a sense of humanity through labour in an increasingly technological and urban world. Though emerging craft communities may appear niche-like and closed off from mainstream forms of knowledge creation, discussion on these particularities provides us with examples of how crafting may benefit learning processes not originally connected to crafters. Examining what it means to craft in Toronto, and in larger independent DIY contexts may also make recognizable new models of learning that are based on communities of practice not typically associated with standards-based education.

Keywords: DIY; communities of practice; crafting; education; feminism; handmade; knit tags; new models of learning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the University of Toronto, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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  • The aim of Craft Research is to advocate and promote current and emerging craft research, including research into materials, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and style. This may be in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education.
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