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Innovation Through Craft


Students are asked to reflect on how design can act as a promoter of change, by exploring and addressing local cultural capital. Additionally, design is seen as means to revive the knowledge carried within artefacts or associated craft practices without compromising aspects of culture. It departs from theories of situated knowledge and material agency in order to discuss heritage and its potential impact on future design.

In order to expand cultural reservoirs students are encouraged to explore traditional processes and techniques in a new context. They will engage with research and investigate the potential to further innovate these existing processes. Through an extensive literature review and a close consideration of multiple sources, this unit is conceived in a professional context with case studies which can impact industry. The aim is to generate discussions on values of a post-growth society by engaging with a contemporary perspective which considers technological advances and revised theoretical stands for a more synergic use of heritage. The expected outcomes are not restricted to clothing/fashion artefacts, and can include design studio concepts, services, systems and products, workshops, etc.

  • Cultural appropriation

  • Cultural capital

  • Craft-driven innovation

  • Cultural sustainability

  • Reviving tradition

Student’s Pre-Requisite Skills and Knowledge
  • Basic knowledge on cultural sustainability

  • Elementary understanding of local craft scene

Learning Goals


Cultural assets, materialist perspective in technological context, be articulate between past/present knowledge and its values for sustainable design innovations.


Cultural sustainability, envisioning, cooperation, develop design processes based on heritage.

Pedagogical Approaches

Place-based learning;  future thinking

Key Resources
  • Throsby, D. Cultural capital. In Journal of cultural economics. 23.1-2. 1999.

  • Ceschin, F., Gaziulusoy, I. (2016) Evolution of design for sustainability: From product design to design for system innovation and transitions. Design Studies, 47, 118 – 163. Elsevier Ltd.

  • Ehrenfeld, J.R. (2005). The Roots of Sustainability. MIT Sloan Management Review.

  • Holroyd, Amy Twigger. “Forging New Futures : Cultural Significance, Revitalization, and Authenticity”. In: Design Roots : Culturally Significant Designs, Products, and Practices, edited by Stuart Walker, Martyn Evans, Tom Cassidy, Jeyon Jung, og Amy Twigger Holroyd, 1. ed., 25–38. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2018.

  • Sennet, R. The Craftsman. New Haven: Yale University. 2008

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