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Reimagining craft for community development


Kevin E. Jones, Kristof Van Assche & John R. Parkins


In this paper, we explore concepts of craft as it relates to community development.
As a starting point for this discussion, we engage with development discourses that prioritise capital and labour mobility, portfolio careers, and the knowledge economy powered by innovation and creativity.

Growing in tandem with ideas about the “global city” and late-modern capitalism, these innovation narratives may have been first advanced within large metropolitan contexts, but today are more broadly pervasive and have been seen as important alternatives to traditional development strategies across regions and communities.

Our motivation for this paper comes from a general concern about the application of these development tropes across scales, geographies and communities.

More specifically, we are concerned that when applied as abstract development logics, ideas such as creativity and innovation may fail to recognise the values of place-based skills, learning, adaptation and local governance.

We thus explore “craft” as a means of connecting creativity and innovation to place and publics (Jones, Granzow, and Shields 2019) in ways that support robust alternates for sustaining local economies and local communities.

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