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In a new Context, we are all Apprentices: How Dialogue Between the Three States of Craft Education is a Catalyst for Adaptation

Kerlaff, Paul



Amy Lazet


This essay argues that dialogue between the three states of craft education is a key mechanism for adaptation. Adaptation here is taken as the act or process of adjustment to changing circumstances (Merriam-Webster 2022), with a particular focus on communal knowledge of making. The three identified phases of medieval craft education – apprentice, journeyman, and master – are not only relevant to current debate around workmanship (Pye 1968; Adamson 2009; Crawford 2011; Sennett 2008,2012; Ingold 2013; Korn 2013), but also resonant in modern design education. Through reflection on key texts and case studies, this essay proposes the three phases can be seen as states which are fluid, co-existent and in dialogue with one another. Dialogue between these states is a key mechanism for adaptation, for which convivial (Illich 1973) and dialogic (Sennett 2012) environments are a pre-requisite. In better understanding this mechanism, we can engage it to create resilient, adaptive communities of practice and learning.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name Cumulus Detroit 2022: Design for Adaptation
Start Date Nov 2, 2022
End Date Nov 4, 2022
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2022
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Nov 7, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 30, 2023
Pages 438-449
Series Title Cumulus Conference Proceedings Series
Series Number 9
Series ISSN 2490-046X
Book Title Design for Adaptation: Cumulus Conference Proceedings Detroit 2022
Keywords craft, community, adaptation, dialogue, apprentice, conviviality
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In A New Context, We Are All Apprentices: How Dialogue Between The Three States Of Craft Education Is A Catalyst For Adaptation (accepted version) (4.9 Mb)

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