As part of the significant change to the Made in the Middle programme, in 2002, a symposium was developed to enable dissemination and discussion of the themes raised in the exhibition. This presented an opportunity for professional development for makers, as well as encouraging critical discourse around craft and making. The symposium event has been continued alongside subsequent Made in the Middle exhibitions.

Making it in the Midlands 2004

Developing your craft career in the West Midlands

This one day symposium provided a forum for professional and aspiring makers to explore their career and making needs and to discuss the opportunities available in the West Midlands.

Speakers included:
  • Martyn Pugh - Silversmith and Chair of the seminar
  • Heather Rigg - Research Fellow in Professional Development
  • Ken Eastman - Ceramicist
  • Roger Oates - Textile Designer and Founder of Roger Oates Design
  • Anuradha Patel - Artist and Designer   
  • Jon Williams - Community Education Practitioner and Ceramicist.

This symposium was organised in partnership with Bilston Craft Gallery and held at the University of Wolverhampton.

Pushing Boundaries 2006

A symposium on national and international crafts practice.

The morning consisted of presentations by five speakers.  Themes for discussion included; approaches to practice, new markets for work, connecting to other modes and ideas of practice through exchange and collaboration. Particular emphasis was placed on international working and perspectives.

The afternoon consisted of breakout sessions led by one of the morning speakers in partnership with a guest critic.  These were informal opportunities for delegates to talk with the speakers. The discussion points from the sessions were fed back for a wider panel discussion during the plenary at the end of the day.  In addition, the symposium provided an ideal networking day for makers and other professionals within the craft sector.

Speakers included:

  • James Evans - Writer, critic and Chair of the symposium
  • Lin Cheung - Jeweller
  • Neil Brownsword - Ceramicist and academic
  • Maxine Bristow - Textile practitioner
  • Schnuppe von Gwinner - Director Craft 2eu, Germany
  • Niels van Eijk/Miriam van der Lubbe - Dutch design team

Afternoon sessions supported by: maker Helen Carnac, curator Lesley Millar and writer Kate McIntyre

This event also marked the launch of Designer Maker West Midland's handbook click here.

Pushing Boundaries was organised in partnership with Staffordshire University


Pathways to Making 2012

Developing your craft career in an expanded field

Pathways to Making 2012 was a one day symposium to debate the idea of craft as an expanded field. The event posed the questions; how are makers diversifying their practice? What potential avenues are there for the application of creative thinking and skills? The event built on the themes and pathways explored with Made in the Middle 2012.

For the symposium outline click here.