North-America 🇨🇦 🇺🇸

In December 2019, we will be hosted by friends in Canada and the United States of America. Our conversation will broaden to include the continent that occupies the north-east quarter of the Pacific Rim.

In the modern era, this region has been seen as the global hegemon, determining power alliances and dominating the world’s cultural landscape. As such, it is a region against which many other cultures have defined themselves. But as the global scene diversifies, it is possible to engage with this region on an equal footing, to consider how individuals and groups face the challenge of making a culture that reflects where they are in the world.

The proposed theme is gratitude. This extends our ongoing conversation about the value of what we make. Object as an offering is one of the earliest symbolic acts in human culture. Handmade production is sustained today partly as a source of gifts, expressing the kind of care that reflects the feelings of friendship. Offerings can also extend our audience to the non-human, including nature in particular, such as trees that we might otherwise take for granted as a reliable source of shelter and beauty. And given the constant stimulation of instant gratification through advertising, gratitude is increasingly seen as an important element in well-being.

This theme is designed as one of the conversations we hope that this issue will engender. Submissions do not need to be limited by it.

Some questions to consider include:

  • How are Aboriginal and First Nation stories being told through objects today?
  • What is the role of cooperatives in making culture?
  • What Asian theme emerge from its west coast?
  • How are migrant cultures finding a place for themselves?
  • What alternative practices are emerging from the studio craft movement?
  • How does the practice of “thanksgiving” give value to objects?

The Canadian material is being developed by our Canadian editor, Lycia Trouton.

Submissions for this issue are due 1 November 2019. Please see our guidelines.