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One day symposium on Massclusivity – New models of viable design and craft collaborations in developing world

TORONTO, July 5, 2007—Harbourfront Centre presents a one day symposium, as part of its Innovators ideas Craft Series that complements its summer exhibition in York Quay Centre, Massclusivity – New models of viable design and craft collaboration in the developing world. The symposium brings speakers together to discuss issues such as other models of craft practice, resource sustainability, economic viability for individuals/families/villages/countries, fair trade practice and environmental/social concerns, and case studies will be presented. The symposium takes place on Friday, September 7, from 1 to 6 p.m. Symposium fee is $40 ($20 for students & seniors). To register or for more information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit


North South Project: A new model of viable design and craft collaborations in the developing world
Patty Johnson Designer Consultant, MA CSM, Toronto
Johnson has been cited for synthesizing craft and mass production in her work. Her consultancy work includes clients such as Totem Gallery, Keilhauer, Nienkamper, Sephora, Aid to Artisans, the Inter-American International Development Bank, and, the United States Agency for International Development. Johnson and Simon Fraser are embarking on a collaborative project in India that focuses on working with local jewellery and furniture artisan communities.

Moving Towards Sustainable Crafts Production
Rachel MacHenry Designer, Head of Textiles, Sheridan Institute of Technology, Oakville, Canada
MacHenry is a Toronto-based textile designer who received her MA from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Her children’s knitwear and felt line is produced through fair trade production in collaboration with community cooperatives in Nepal and India and is sold in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Post-colonial design
Michael Prokopow PhD Professor at Ryerson University, Curator, Design Exchange, Toronto
Prokopow received his PhD from Harvard University and has trained as a cultural historian. His teaching and research interests focus on questions of the historical meanings of objects, buildings and landscapes. He currently teaches material culture, cultural theory and design history at Ryerson University.

The Story of Liana Cane
Jocelyn Dow President Liana Cane Interiors, Guyana
Dow is an activist at the national, regional and international level. As a business woman, Dow is committed to environmentally sound development, exemplified in her pioneering furniture company, Liana Cane Interiors, which is based on the sustainable use of non-timber forest products.

Working in Sri Lanka
Maham Anjum, London, UK based designer originally from Pakistan
Anjum holds a MA Design by Project (2004)—Ceramics Design and a BA honours (2003)—Ceramic Design from Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, London. She currently works with Midaya Ceramics Ltd. in Sri Lanka collaborating with potters developing a line of terracotta products for Habitat.

Recent Global Projects
Simon J. H. Fraser MA RCA Course Director MA Design: Ceramics, Jewellery and Furniture, School of Fashion & Textiles – Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London UK
Fraser works with an international cohort of students realizing new design approaches. He has taught and lectured globally including at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, and New Delhi.

Recent Global Projects: Reflections on a Mission to Manila
William Gordon, design consultant through his company Faxon|Gordon, Brooklyn, NY
In 2005, Gordon lived in the Philippines designing home products for local manufacturers though the Philippine government. He was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, attended The Pratt Institute, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

The idea or trend of massclusivity includes objects that embrace handmade traditions without the sentimentality of wares mostly produced for the tourist market. Skillfully designed and made in small batch production, by micro industries, the result is affordable and appealing objects available to the mass consumer. Respect for the hand-crafted, traditional materials and skills, rigorous design applications and the economic viability of such objects define the idea of massclusivity. In some ways, it also repositions the reverence for the hand-made that was evident in North America’s Craft Movement of the 60s and early 70s. In keeping with the philosophy of Patty Johnson’s North South Project—an initiative that has fostered partnerships with the African nation of Botswana and Guyana in South America to bring design collections such as woven baskets, lights and garden furniture she produced in the developing worlds to Northern markets—Massclusivity also presents new models of viable design and craft collaborations in the developing world.

It is important to distinguish these global collaborative projects as completely counter to the cultural imperialism of the past. The work in Massclusivity genuinely represents mutual collaboration with local craftspeople, collectives, individuals and governments that promotes respect and appreciation for other cultures. The work highlights the techniques and materials that are unique to each culture and takes into consideration the impact that the designs will have on the region's community and economy. In addition to the North South Project, Johnson is working with COFOCE (Guanajuato World Trade Commission) and the Inter-American Development Bank in Guanajuato, Mexico on a project that brings together designers with local potters and furniture makers. Participating in the exhibition and symposium: Rachel MacHenry (CAN)—her work with women’s collectives in Nepal; Maham Anjum (Pakistan/UK) her work with a ceramic collective in Sri Lanka; and William Gordon (NY, USA) his recent collaboration in Manila, Philippines. The exhibition also features Q’enco, a project by Canadians Richelle Sibolboro (Ryerson University, Toronto, and the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia, Bachelor of Interior Design) and Bao Nhan (M.Arch, University of Toronto and BFA Concordia University, Montreal). Their project, Q’enco in Peru for DesignAid and Asociacion de los Artesanos en Tejido Pallay Lloraypu, translated rich Peruvian textile history into viable, sustainable and beautiful contemporary designs to foster cultural vitality and economic sustainability. The exhibition, running from July 14 to September 9, is curated by Patty Johnson and Melanie Egan, Head of Craft at Harbourfront Centre and a 2007 recipient of the John Mather Award.

Massclusivity – New models of viable design and craft collaboration in the developing world is part of Harbourfront Centre’s Innovators Ideas Craft Series, a dynamic and lively programme addressing current issues and needs within the contemporary craft field by inviting artists, curators and writers who are spear-heading contemporary practice and sparking innovative investigation through lectures, panels, discussions and exhibitions.

Harbourfront Centre bridges the generation gap. What are the defining moments of your generation? How deep are the roots of your family tree? What legacy will you leave? Generations are defined by history, cultural movements and shared experiences. They both divide and unite us. From June to December 2007, Harbourfront Centre is talking about your generation. Discover the dynamic melding of contemporary design and honoured craft skills in the exhibition of Massclusivity. Contemplate objects steeped in age-old traditions that enliven our current culture. Generations is part of an ongoing focus on ideas in programming at Harbourfront Centre. Our Lens. Your View


Media Contact:
Linda Liontis
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