AAPI Craft Directory

Asheville, NC’s Center for Craft is the founding partner of Warren Wilson College’s Master’s in Critical Craft Studies—the first and only low-residency graduate program in craft history and theory. They are developing a directory of self-identified Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) working through craft today, and will continue to gather listings until August 31, 2021.

This project is a directory and a tool on what conversations come next? How does research catalyze community, action, and visibility? 

Why focus on Asian American and Pacific Islanders working through craft? 

According to the Pew Research Center, Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing groups in the US since 2000. Despite nearly 23 million Asian American in the US population, a recent study by Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH) found that 58% of their respondents could not name a prominent Asian American (Hint: Vice President Kamala Harris). 

Drawing inspiration from the Black Power Movement, students at the University of California, Berkeley are credited with unifying pan-Asian groups under the term “Asian American” in the 1960s. This grouping deliberately rejected the outdated, geographically-based, and problematic term “Oriental.” 

In the 1980s, the U.S. Census expanded the category, combining Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Today, this governmentally-determined grouping feels too broad to many, as it includes more than 20 countries and thousands of Pacific Islands, each with unique histories, cultures, languages, and craft histories.

This project is intended to catalyze conversations, be a conversation starter and to bring people of AAPI heritage together.

If you are working through craft and of AAPI heritage, add your information.

If you are a craft researcher, please consider this directory a tool for making connections. Instead of reading about the Center for Craft , talk directly with them to understand who the AAPI are, what we make, and how we shape American Craft. 

Michael Janis ward 5 dc
ROLODEX. Craft a Conversation at the Center for Craft, Jun 4–Aug 20, 2021

Currently, at Asheville’s Center for Craft in the John Cram Partner Gallery is ROLODEX. Craft a Conversation. This exhibit, curated by Namita Gupta Wiggers is this project is centered on the people of the AAPI craft communities, their descriptions of themselves, and their connections to craft – rather than on the objects they create.

Center for Craft, 67 Broadway St, Asheville, NC 28801.

Image of ROLODEX. Craft a Conversation, at the John Cram Partner Gallery.

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