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From the Curator – Hugo Macdonald

In Radical Acts, craft is presented as a bridge between our roots and our future.

Hugo Macdonald, curator

Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters is about craft with social and environmental purpose. We tend to define craft as a process or a physical object; it is also time-honoured knowledge and a force for positive impact. Our second Harewood Biennial showcases 15 people and projects in the house and grounds that demonstrate how craft can be a radical act.

The word ‘radical’ comes from the Latin ‘radix’ meaning ‘root’. In Radical Acts, craft is presented as a bridge between our roots and our future. Each participant tackles an urgent issue of our modern lives with a resourceful attitude and hopeful intent. Craft addresses human connection, social equality and representation, climate change and conservation, material potential and natural resources, land use and landfill.

These are projects that seek to restore the equilibrium of our relationships with each other, with our habits and our habitat. Our biennial celebrates radical acts of resourcefulness, respect, restoration, regeneration and repair. There is much that we can learn from craft knowledge to help us build a healthier future with healthier systems, as individuals, communities and societies.

Our ambition with the Harewood Biennial is to introduce the many ways in which craft has real value to contemporary life. Radical Acts is also a call to arms; the show is filled with optimistic messages to inspire and empower people to think and act with purpose in their own daily lives. Every person has the power to make positive change and everybody counts. It is a radical act to take responsibility for our lifestyles and our livelihoods, and to discover that our future is in our hands.

Hugo Macdonald

The Harewood Biennial is generously supported by Arts Council England

Arts Council England