A recap of the HEPHAESTUS symposium

A recap of the HEPHAESTUS symposium

From May 2nd to May 4th, 2024, the HEPHAESTUS project brought together an eclectic mix of researchers, craft makers, policy makers, craft ambassadors and enthusiasts for a dynamic symposium that traversed the realms of tradition, innovation, and community. Hosted across various venues in Gothenburg and Dals Långed, this itinerant event unfolded as a celebration of craft in its myriad forms, offering participants a platform to exchange ideas, showcase their work, and delve into the intricate world of craftsmanship.

May 2, 2024 – Opening

The symposium kicked off on May 2nd at the Röhssa Museum of Design and Craft, where attendees were treated to the vernissage of the exhibition SEMBLANCE. This captivating showcase provided a glimpse into the European community of craft makers, highlighting their diverse objects and crafting processes symbolized by their tools.

The day continued with a thought-provoking keynote speech by Elke Krasny, Professor at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna, exploring the theme of “Crafting Public Space.” A panel discussion on “Crafting Economies” rounded off the day’s events, delving into the economic and organizational aspects of craft with insights from various experts in the field.

Engaging discussions with Horizon Europe projects Craeft Project and Tracks 4 Crafts, whose representatives also joined us during this event.

Keynote speech by Elke Krasny
Panel discussions during HEPHAESTUS symposium

At the heart of the HEPHAESTUS Symposium, the panel discussion “Crafting Economies” brought together diverse perspectives into the intricate interplay between craft and economics. Chaired by the esteemed moderator, Elena Raviola, the discussion featured insights from Björn Ohlén (VGR), Ulf Dalnäs (HDK-Valand), Marta Gasparin (CBS), Angel M. Fuentes Mateos (EU), and Cecilia Helsing (Göteborgs Stad), each offering a unique lens through which to explore the economic dimensions of craft.

The panel discussion “Crafting Economies” was a dynamic forum for exploring the multifaceted dimensions of craft’s economic landscape. From regional perspectives to global initiatives, from academic insights to practical strategies, the discussion provided perspectives and ideas, offering valuable insights for policymakers, practitioners, and enthusiasts alike.

May 3, 2024 – Workshops, presentations, discussions

The day was filled with engaging sessions, presentations, and workshops, shedding light on the intricate dynamics of craft economics and organization. Attendees were also treated to a visit to the D20 ART LAB Exhibition, “A Brave New World: Tales from a Craft Utopia,” and a captivating Arena Slöjd Show. The day ended with the gathering and fostering further discussions among participants.

A recap of the HEPHAESTUS symposium

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May 4th - Open Wood Dals Långed & Not Quite, Fengersfors

The final day of the symposium commenced with more enlightening sessions and workshops, exploring diverse topics ranging from art-based research to the tactile possibilities of relationships. Attendees then embarked on a visit to Fengersfors, where they immersed themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the Craft Salong and Not Quite activities at Craft Days. The symposium concluded with a reflective closing workshop and networking, marking the end of a truly enriching experience.

The HEPHAESTUS Symposium was not just a gathering of minds but a celebration of craftsmanship, innovation, and community. As participants returned home, they carried with them memories of insightful discussions, newfound inspirations, and lasting connections forged in the spirit of creativity and collaboration. As we look towards the future, the symposium stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of craft and the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

On behalf of the HEPHAESTUS team we want to thank all the participants of the event.

Special thanks to all the organisers: Elena Raviola, Helena Hansson, Ulises Navarro Aguiar, Karl Hallberg, Samantha Hookway, Natalie Novik, Andreea Bindar and those who supported them.