New Media, New Craft?

Monday, 31 July
8:30 - 10:15 am
Rooom 207

This paper is a reflective study, which considers the use, role, and status of computer programming (when used in a creative context) within the broader context of the ideals and ethos of the late 19th century Arts and Crafts Movement. It seeks to draw comparisons between the role of programming as a means of understanding and manipulating the "material" of the computer environment, and the ethos and attitudes of the craft environment in which artists work with traditional materials. Looking beyond the physical differences between the types of process and artefact involved, this study highlights important areas of commonality of mental approach and attitude which link the ethos of traditional crafts with that of computational artists and designers. It is the contention of this paper that programming, like the traditional crafts, provides a way in which creative people can manipulate or "sculpt" the material of the computer environment. Although it is a reflective and analytical study, the foundation for this discussion derives from creative practical experience and expresses a concern that the role of programmer simply as "engineer" should, in the light of much creative computational work, be re-assessed and re-examined.

Andrew Richardson
University of Sunderland
Sunderland, United Kingdom
andrew.richardson (at)