Ms Daisy Bow du Toit

Research project: Influencers, amateurs, craftivists: exploring the impact of social media on the contemporary craft community.

Abstract

I'm investigating the relationship between the current craft revival and the growth of digital technology such as smartphones and social media. Entrenched craft concepts are challenged, such as the significance of the haptic and the body in craft learning, the boundary between amateur and professional practice, and the role of pre-digital systems such as higher education, apprenticeships, galleries and publishing. Additionally, Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown saw a wave of homebound makers, turning towards online resources to learn crafts for both pleasure and necessity. Web 2.0 opened up the Western creative economy to a diverse range of crafters, building communities that bridge different identities and geographies - shaping what is produced, how it's mediated, and who produces and purchases it, in ways that challenge concepts of amateur and the professional and enabled diverse crafters to enter the white, male dominated creative economy. I'll define what constitutes craft community membership, and explore the role of new identities - such as craft influencers and craftivists. The craft economy is recognised as key to the fast-growing creative industries, yet formal craft education is in crisis.

Biography

I come from a family of visual storytellers and am a natural ethnographer and crafter who has an interest in culture and new media. My interests have encompassed many disciplines, from visual culture, cultural studies, media studies, identity politics and craft practice. I have written about gender, race, craft, snapchat and higher education. I worked for two years as an elected Students' Union representative at Kingston University, so I have a strong interest in higher education policy. I am currently practicing embroidery, print making and cyanotype photography and my work can be seen at @daisybow_craft

Areas of research interest

  • Craft and the economy of the handmade
  • Social Media and new media studies
  • Identity politics
  • Craftivism

Qualifications

  • BA Joint Honours in English Literature & the History of Art, Film and Design, Kingston University 2013 - 2016
  • MA Gender Without Borders, Kingston University, 2016 - 2018

Funding or awards received

  • Kingston University scholarship for MA Gender Without Borders (2016 - 2018)