Handmade by Machines: Seized by the Means of Production


School of Jewellery, Birmingham






Handmade by Machines: Seized by the Means of Production

20 November 2019

School of Jewellery, Birmingham

The School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University will be hosting the 2019 Handmade by Design one-day symposium 20 November 2019 and an accompanying exhibition 11 November – 6 December 2019.

This will be the fifth outing for the successful “Handmade by Machines” symposium and this year will have international speakers, a keynote from Troy Richards of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and an exhibition of work which straddles the man/machine boundaries with a focus on jewellery and wearables. The conversation will focus on how technology has affected the way we make and interact with craft and we hope that it will be a fascinating day. 

“It is a world completely rotten with wealth, power, senility, indifference, puritanism and mental hygiene, poverty and waste, technological futility and aimless violence, and yet I cannot help but feel it has about it something of the dawning of the universe” 
– Jean Baudrillard, America (1981)

Has the relationship of technology to craft practice been altered in a digital age? What is the nature of this change and what are the opportunities which are dawning?

About the Symposium

A symposium which seeks to highlight and provoke discussion/debate on the implications/influence of technology in creative craft practice.

Handmade by Machines: Seized by the means of production will collate the most recent and cutting-edge thinking about the impact that digital technology has had on the craft world with a special focus on the way in which the technology has been seized by makers as a means of production, and the impact that this has had on what the term “hand-made” actually means. As the title of the symposium suggests, we recognise the tension between the late-capitalist and Marxist-Utopian politics inherent in this technology and are especially interested in hearing from makers and/or philosophers who are working in this area.

The symposium will be the inaugural event of the new Birmingham City University research cluster, Craft Cultures, and an online publication of the proceedings is planned to follow. An exhibition will run alongside the symposium, and this will form the backdrop to the evening’s lightning talks.

The cost of attending the symposium is £35, including morning and afternoon tea and coffee . After the event, an informal social evening will take place in the Red Lion pub, near the School of Jewellery. Please join us.


Wednesday, 20 November 2019


10:00am – 7:30pm


School of Jewellery

82-86 Vittoria Street


B1 3PA


Tickets are £35 for the day