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Hand Thought: the role and significance of digital technologies in craft practice

Lecture Theatre 002


This lecture will take place on campus, in Lecture Theatre 002, Business & Law Building, City Campus East (full address at the bottom of the page). Refreshments will be served from 12.30pm outside of the lecture theatre. The lecture will also be available to stream online - please register for the event and a link will be sent to you to access the live stream. 

Professor Justin Marshall is a digital craftsperson and researcher who for over twenty years has investigated the integration of digital design and production technologies into craft practices. This stimulating inaugural lecture will draw on his practice-based research projects to reflect on the creative opportunities of digital tools for the craft practitioner, the implications this has for revaluating the concept of the ‘handmade’ and reflect on the mediating role of technologies in creative practices.

An underlying premise in his practice is that tools can be considered, not as neutral means to predefined fixed ends, but as active and constructive elements within the creative making process. This broad positioning will be extended in the proposition of a ‘Digital Craft Ethos’ which identifies a series of distinctions between a Pragmatic craft-oriented approach to using digital tools,, and pervasive Instrumental industrial design and engineering approaches.

About the Speaker

Professor Justin Marshall’s multidisciplinary background spans study within the fields of fine art, ceramics, design and craft, and culminated in a PhD that focused on the role and significance of computer technologies in architectural ceramics. He was one of the founding members of the ‘Autonomatic’ research group at Falmouth University, who are recognised as early adopters and innovators in the creative application of digital design and production technologies.

Alongside publishing numerous articles and conference papers he has exhibited work both nationally and internationally, including venues in Ireland, US, India, Germany, Australia and Estonia. His work has featured in field defining exhibitions; ‘LabCraft’ a Crafts Council UK touring show and ‘Fabrication Laboratory’ at the Design Museum in Barcelona. He has held solo shows; ‘Automake’ and ‘Hand Thought’ at The UK National Centre for Craft & Design.

More broadly, he is interested in how craft, as a materially sensitive and human-centred practice can have value in multidisciplinary research projects and has been involved in numerous collaborative projects that bring together diverse teams to investigate areas beyond the normal scope of craft practitioners. This includes working with computer scientists, journalists, social scientists, and designers on ‘Bespoke’, an RCUK Digital Economy project that explored how creating bespoke networked devices could respond to concerns and needs in a local area. Currently he is Principal Investigator on ‘hiCraft: Crafting a Healthier Internet’, a 3-year AHRC funded project that is using the practices and ethos of craft to explore ways in which to respond to concerns about trust, bias, transparency, and legibility in current Internet of Things (IoT) development. 

To register for this free lecture, please fill in the form below.


Event Details

Lecture Theatre 002
Business & Law Building, Northumbria University
City Campus East
Newcastle upon Tyne


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