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‘You’ve got to keep looking, looking, looking’: Craft thinking and authenticity

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This article outlines the foundations of an enquiry into the relationship between craft and authenticity. It provides a description of how authenticity is evolving as a philosophical concept, and what this might mean for claiming an authentic contemporary practice. It then illustrates an inconsistency in schematic analyses of craft and design thinking, which may be a barrier to the appraisal of craft as a form of ‘authentic’ cognition. The author’s personal evolution of visual conceptualizations of craft thinking is revealed through an enquiry into a decade of a digital craft practice reflexively differentiated from Human–Computer Interaction, Interaction Design and Product Design. A novel framework is proposed for situating authenticity in craft in line with relational philosophy, comprising individual, social and ecological forms of practice, and the framework is applied to a recent multidisciplinary digital craft project. Further research into craft thinking using schematics is recommended.
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Keywords: craft thinking; design thinking; heuristic research; philosophies of authenticity; reflection-in-action; reflection-on-action; reflective authenticity; reflexivity; relational authenticity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Nottingham Trent University, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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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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