“Craft enables artists to speak about many things”, says Matt Smith

By on May 20, 2017

Hybrid artist, curator and historian Matt Smith is our new professor of crafts with a special focus on ceramics and glass.

Using clay and its associated references, Matt Smith explores how cultural organisations operate using techniques of institutional critique and artist intervention. Between October 2015 and March 2016, he was the Ceramics Resident at the Victoria & Albert Museum. He gained his PhD at the University of Brighton in March 2016 with an exploration of the intersection of contemporary craft practice and queer identities. Matt Smith is currently an honorary visiting fellow at the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies. He also provides training and consultancy services to the National Trust as part of their Prejudice and Pride programme, which explores LGBT narratives in its properties.

“Craft can sometimes focus on the skill of making and the process at the expense of conceptual ideas and thinking. I was drawn to the position at Konstfack as norm criticality was a core part of the process. I am interested in how craft, in a world of mass production, enables artists to speak about many things and make space for individuality – both in terms of objects and thinking. In my own practice, I have used craft to consider subjects as diverse as LGBT identity, post colonialism and class. Encouraging and making time for critical thinking on the course, in addition to artistic production, will be an interesting aspect of the job”, says Matt Smith, who sees his main goal as professor to be the promotion of a supportive environment in which students and staff can develop, challenge themselves and take risks.

“As educators, we have the opportunity to encourage a new generation of artists and I am really looking forward to helping equip them with the skills they need to achieve their potential”, he explains.

Maria Lantz, Vice-Chancellor of Konstfack: “I am really delighted to have Matt Smith on our staff as he is one of the most interesting contemporary ceramic artists and also an excellent teacher. I particularly find his hybrid role of artist/curator very interesting and I’m sure that combination can provide our students and faculty with a new outlook on craft”.

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CRAFT! is a programme at Konstfack in which craft is viewed as a relevant method for questioning and challenging the time in which we live and as a tool for critical investigation of, and through, making and materialisation. CRAFT! is characterised by a social engagement anchored in the understanding that craft can exist between and beyond traditional boundaries.

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