Studio 07: Meaningful Work

Studio brief

"The aim of art is to destroy the curse of labour by making work the pleasurable satisfaction of our impulse towards energy, and giving to that energy the hope of producing something worth the exercise."
William Morris

This studio will consider the value of making – in itself, independent of the product or outcome, exploring the idea of craft as meaningful work. Art and craft will be considered not as categories of commodity, luxury or expressive objects, or as a particular set of practices, but as a broadly inclusive humanising creative experience and a way of being actively attentive to and engaged with the world. Craft making will be examined as a form of meaning-making.

As well as drawing on your own experiences of making, the studio will introduce contemporary writers who examine the nature of craft knowledge and whose ideas support an understanding of making as a human activity that is both intrinsically rewarding to the maker and outwardly directed or socially engaged. These ideas will be given a historical context in the ideological writings of William Morris, who celebrated art and craft as socially useful and individually fulfilling creative work – a politicised form of work, which was proposed as part of an alternative to industrial capitalism.

Each week there will opportunities to discuss your dissertation ideas as they evolve and for guidance as you develop your dissertation plan. 

Suggested readings, resources and preparatory activities

Carving tools


Tutor Paul Harper

Dissertation studios


Cass Studios archive by year