About

My PhD explores how people learn amateur craft skills when using open access community making spaces. I am specifically looking at how we learn alongside others, the shift to experimentation as the creative voice emerges, and the role played by the making space in this process.

I am using autoethnographic methods, examining my own practices as a way of understanding the embodied, tactile sensations of making. The spaces I am using include Leeds Print Workshop, an artist-led printmaking cooperative in Leeds, and Hive Bradford, a community space in Shipley which uses arts and crafts as a way of supporting and developing communities in the wider Bradford area. Alongside these, I am considering my making processes, specifically sewing, within the home.
My first degree was in Fine Art (painting); I graduated from Norwich Arts University (or Norwich School of Art and Design, as it was then) and then spent fifteen years working on a range of cultural and creative industries projects, including Liverpool Biennial (1999 and 2002 editions); a programme of digital art which included residencies and an electronic and experimental music festival; a creative industries workspace; the UK’s largest puppet festival; associate lecturing on the Photography degree course at Sheffield Hallam University. I then returned to study via the MA in Culture, Creativity and Entrepreneurship at the University of Leeds. My PhD project, also based in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds, grew out of my final MA project, in which I undertook a beginner’s woodwork course to explore how we learn amateur craft skills.

My main research interests are in amateur making, craft, creativity, the creative process – including failure and experimentation – and embodiment.

Some other pages on the internet featuring my creative work

A series of pieces of short fiction, to which new pieces are added from time to time: claredanek.wordpress.com/

My photography site is now very overdue an update – it was last updated in 2012: claredanek.com