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The Role of Craft in Crises

Monday 30 November 2020


Kendall Robbins (Chair)

Kendall Robbins is a cultural manager and student nurse who believes that through cultural practices like design and making that collectively we can address global challenges and reduce inequalities. For 10 years Kendall worked in the Architecture, Design and Fashion department of the British Council, the UK's international cultural relations organisation. She programmed, managed, commissioned, curated and produced hundreds of cultural programmes, projects, exhibitions and events in more than 60 countries, exploring themes like resilient design and craft.  She established the British Council's Crafting Futures programme and was involved in shaping projects around the world that utilised craft's transformative abilities.

In 2020, Kendall left the British Council to pursue a nursing degree at King's College London and patient advocacy work for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

Brooke Dennis

Brooke Dennis moved to London with her young family from Aotearoa New Zealand, after a massive earthquake hit their home town in 2011. 

She knows the stress and helplessness of enduring such destruction and so quickly understood the importance of mucking in and helping people as during an event like this. Along with a team of volunteers Brooke launched what became a national campaign to make scrubs for our NHS and other healthcare workers out of our textiles studio in Hackney, Make Town.

Maegan Black

With over 15 years experience in contemporary fine craft, Maegen Black has built a career from her passion. As the Director of the Canadian Crafts Federation, she works directly with professional craft organizations across the country to tackle collaborative projects, increase networking in the field, and advocate for craft and culture at the regional, national, and international level. A graduate of Toronto's Ontario College of Art and Design University in the Material Art and Design program, she holds a Bachelor of Design in jewellery and metalsmithing, and has furthered her professional development at the renowned Banff Centre for the Arts. A writer, curator, and collector, Maegen shares her insight and experience as host of the Citizens of Craft podcast, and as an instructor at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in Eastern Canada.

Masanori Nagaoka

Masanori Nagaoka Obtained a Ph.D. in Heritage Studies from the University of Tsukuba in Japan and Master degree in Archaeology and Art History from Columbia University in New York, USA, he has 16-year working experience since 2004 in the Culture sector of UNESCO at both headquarters (World Heritage Centre) and field offices (Jakarta cluster office and Kabul office), he is currently serving as a chief of culture unit at the UNESCO Office in Phonon Penh. He has been engaged in projects in all fields of UNESCO Culture sector, which include safeguarding of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, cultural diversity and creative industry promotion, cultural policies for sustainable development, museums development and promotion of international legal instruments in culture such as the UNESCO Conventions of 1954, 1972, 1972, 1995, 2001, 2003 and 2005 within the context of UNESCO’s Regular Programme and extra-budgetary funding projects.


In terms of the field of culture and creative economy, he has worked at Borobudur in Indonesia and Bamiyan in Afghanistan to develop local crafts to culture-based creative products; to revive the local community’s livelihood from disasters and promote both rural development; to manage natural resources and the environment; and to promote creative industry, trade and the private sector. He is currently developing a number of projects with international community and the Government of Cambodia for economic recovery in the handicraft sector which received negative impact from COVID 19.

PDF link to Masanori's presentation:

Nripal Adhikary

Architect, designer and visionary Nripal Adhikary truly believes in small is beautiful. He is the founder of ABARI, which he set up in 2006 with the aim of doing socially and environmentally committed research, design and construction. He seeks to examine, encourage and celebrate vernacular architectural traditions by starting a conversation around adapting traditional materials into the modern context, which was absent from the architectural narrative of Nepal. After the catastrophic earthquake that wrecked Nepal in 2015, Adhikary feels that though it is a mammoth task of rebuilding the country, there is a huge opportunity to change the course of development towards a more sustainable model, which is the only way to go. With his journey he has worked with different organizations to build schools, cafes, community hall, a library and halls. He is also actively Involved in community development projects and land restoration works. He is a very under the radar person who is always ready to help and work for the betterment of the Community he works with and bring innovation and sustainability together.


Instagram abari_nepal

Facebook @abari.nepal


Rebekah Cheng

Rebekah Cheng has been the Project Manager at Japanese furniture brand Ishinomaki Laboratory since 2018. Born from the needs of the post-disaster context of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011, Ishinomaki Laboratory has grown from its origins as a simple, public workshop to a full-fledged furniture brand with retailers in seven countries and counting. She manages international sales, communications, collaborations with designers, and the brand's 'Made in Local' initiative. She also assists with Do-It-Yourself (DIY) workshops, which the brand hosts in Japan and abroad. Prior to joining the company, Rebekah taught Japanese high school students through a project-based civic learning curriculum (Y-PLAN) with the Center for Cities+Schools at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as engaging in intensive volunteer work in Athens, Greece with Project Elea, a non-profit promoting the empowerment and social integration of refugees at Eleonas Refugee Camp.

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