There is a long and distinguished history of representations of war veterans in art history but interest in the visual and material practices of veterans themselves has been very much limited to combatants of the First World War. “Trench art” continues to be widely studied but other local and global conflicts, such as the Northern Irish Troubles, for example, have attracted little, if any, material culture scholarship.
Recent studies of the pedagogic and professional foundations of modern craft as emanating in occupational therapy in post-conflict societies, in treating conditions from neurasthenia to PTSD, have revealed the intertwined histories of craft and conflict. This PhD project will consider craft and conflict not as fixed, easily defined concepts but as contingent processes continually making, unmaking and reshaping identity (communal; societal; psychological; corporeal) and that are often interconnected and interdependent in modern history.
It will also draw on a hybrid range of methodologies – supplementing research in public archives and museum collections with oral history, interviews and workshops, for example – to generate new insights into the politics of making in modern society and the forgotten role of conflict in forging the identity of craft.
Proposals should focus on the history and theory of craft’s intersections with particular conflicts and should ideally be located in disciplines such as art history, design history, archaeology, material culture studies or other comparable humanities subjects. However, practice-based proposals, that emanate from historical research, will also been considered.