5 March 2015
Last week we welcomed Ellie Smith back to the team to take up her role as programme manager. Ellie's work will focus on design and craft and she'll be adviser for India and Sub-Saharan Africa. In amongst the hubub of re-familiarising herself with the functions of the office, we stole 10 minutes for a quick interview.
Hi Ellie, welcome back! What are you most looking forward to about being back at ADF?
I’m really excited to be back and looking forward to reconnecting with the design and craft sectors, particularly visiting designers and designer-makers in their studios to hear first-hand about their work. Often these visits can lead to future collaborations when the right international opportunity arises and part of my role is to make those connections.
Your new role includes craft as well as design – why do you think this is an important focus?
It’s a great time to be involved with craft particularly following the resurgence of interest in making as an antidote to mass production. Previous projects that have involved both designers and designer-makers have really been the highlight of my work at the British Council – for example Happiness for Daily Life in Korea that I co-curated with Clare Cumberlidge, which explored the idea of resourcefulness. I think craft is an important focus for our cultural relations work because making is usually linked in some way to resources, identity and location and so this opens up possibilities for interesting projects, commissions and discussions.
Are there any events, exhibitions or projects you’re particularly excited about?
I’m particularly looking forward to seeing What is Luxury – the Crafts Council exhibition when it opens at the V&A in April and also the museum’s show exploring Indian textiles due to open this Autumn. The Milan Salone is just round the corner and is always a great place to see interesting international collaborations and new work.
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