Conference – Day 01

Held on Friday 17 September

Thank you for joining us at the IOTA21 Futuring Craft Conference.

Presenting both live and online presentations, the conference aimed to provoke ideas that reshape, reclaim and reframe craft practice as an intrinsic and integral component of human experience and cultural understanding. The two-day conference was part of the opening celebrations for the Indian Ocean Craft Triennial.

Hear from some of the most powerful voices commenting on the state of our region today and join the conversation too. Dive into the stories and preoccupations of extraordinary artists and researchers. The 2021 program included speakers from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Italy, Iraq, India, Egypt, Canada, UK, and Australia and beyond and keynote address from respected lawyer and humsn rights advocate Nyadol Nyuon.

Presentations included a mix of practice-led talks, workshops, panel discussions, and curator tours, with break out areas for displays and demonstrations.

Day 01: Program,  WA Maritime Museum

Scroll down to view the program and click links to video recordings.

Keynote Speaker

Nyadol Nyuon

Friday, 17 September 10:00 - 11:00 am

"Who tells our stories, how do they tell them, and what informs the rights they have to speak?"

Award-winning human rights advocate, lawyer and writer, Nyadol Nyuon shares her observations of the region in terms of the political, social and economic issues confronting many of our regional neighbours with a specific focus on 'authenticity'.

Nyadol Nyuon holds a Bachelor of Arts, Victoria University and Juris Doctor, University of Melbourne. She is a regular media commentator on the ABC and was named one of the Top 11 Most Influential Women in Australia by the Australian Financial Review in 2012.

Nyadol Nyuon

Rethinking, re-focusing and revitalising the ‘craft’ agenda in education.

NWS Shipping Theatre

Friday, 17 September 11:20 am - 12:30 pm

With insights from contemporary Australian and Canadian educational systems, this session examines perceptions and realities of studio craft as a response to current funding challenges in an increasingly digital world. In this session presenters discuss the intersection of digital technology and craft as experienced in the tertiary sector and studio practice in both the Australian and Canadian context. The session provokes and proposes solutions to pertinent questions such as: What do digitally and virtuality mean for craft? How do we recentre craft at the centre of innovation, and increase its value and agency to benefit and positively impact social, cultural, economic and the political realms to counter arts defunding? Can craft provide new and interesting agendas that contribute ethical responses to the question of how we will sustain functional communities and nations on a planet with finite resources including burgeoning demands that are emerging through globalisation, change and growing populations?

IOTA21 Futuring Craft Conference programme. Photo: Christophe Canato


Dr. Lynne Heller Ph.D & Dorie Millerson | Craft Pedagogy in Precarious Times Pre-recorded presentation

Dr. Lynne Heller

Adjunct Professor | OCAD University, CANADA

Lynne Heller, Ph.D. is a post-disciplinary artist, designer, educator and academic. Her interests encompass both material and virtual culture, textiles and performance. Heller completed her PhD in 2016 at University College Dublin, Ireland with a research focus on feminist practice in online culture.

Dorie Millerson

Associate Professor of Textiles in Material Art & Design | OCAD University, CANADA

Dorie Millerson is an artist and academic specializing in textiles. Her practice focuses on needle lace and her research interests include craft pedagogy, history and technology. She holds an MFA in textiles from NSCAD University and is an Associate Professor of Textiles in Material Art & Design at OCAD University

Dr. Niklavs Rubenis & Dr. Rohan Nicol | Crafted Futures: new teaching, learning and research for craft in the Australian tertiary academy

Dr. Niklavs Rubenis

Senior Lecturer Object Design | Coordinator Object + Furntiure | Coordinator Design. School of Creative Arts and Media, University of Tasmania

Dr. Niklavs Rubenis is a designer and maker focused on craft, design, ethics and people. He is currently Coordinator of Object Design at the School of Creative Arts & Media University of Tasmania (UTAS); serves on the board of the World Crafts Council—Australia; and is a member of the Coordinating Committee for Global Climate Change Week.

Dr. Rohan Nicol

Associate Professor | Associate Head of School, School of Creative Arts and Media, University of Tasmania

Rohan Nicol is an experienced artist with an international profile achieved through a hybrid practice spanning contemporary art, craft, design and curatorship. His work focusses on environmental issues and various forms of arts-led innovation. He recently accepted a position as Associate Professor at the School of Creative Arts & Media UTAS.

How do the places we live in reflect the objects we make?

NWS Shipping Theatre

Friday, 17 September 1:30 pm - 2:25 pm 

The Eucalyptus is one of Australia’s most recognisable flora and has influenced development in communities around the Indian Ocean and beyond. This session traces the history of dye experiments with Australian Eucalypts and their international dissemination; incorporating a project that saw processes that represent friendship, exchange, expertise and create a community of practice.

The session also explores how craft can be used to discuss complex health issues (physical and mental), gender-based violence, diversity and social issues, using examples of community art projects the presenter has worked with in India, Nepal and Mexico.

Craft can reference tradition to reflect place and location, and respond to contemporary? What capacity do textiles and craft have in connecting cultures and carrying stories of cultural engagement and exchange? What does ‘multivoicedness’ look like in this context?

Susie Vickery & Sultana Shamshi. Photo: Christophe Canato
Susie Vickery & Sultana Shamshi. Photo: Christophe Canato


Liz Williamson | Weaving Eucalypts Project: local colour from Indian Ocean countries

Faculty of Art, Architecture & Design | UNSW, AUSTRALIA

Liz Williamson is a weaver, academic and textile artist based on Gadigal and Wangal lands of the Eora nation in Sydney. With a practice spanning 40 years, she is still fascinated with the process and potential of interlacing threads on her loom. Liz is an Honorary Associate Professor, UNSW, Sydney.

Susie Vickery | Appliqué for change: Community engagement with women’s health through craft and art

Textile Artist

Susie began as a theatrical costumier in Australia and the UK, specialising in men’s 19th Century dress. After moving to Kathmandu and Mumbai she worked as a craft consultant with income generation and community art workshops with projects in India, Nepal, Tibet, Myanmar, Mexico and Turkey, responding to local materials and artistic traditions. At the same time, she was studying embroidery by distance learning and creating her own embroidered animations, automata and textile pieces inspired by the projects she works with. Since returning to Australia, Susie has facilitated art workshops with local Aboriginal and refugee groups and continues to work with Tibetan, Nepali and Turkish projects.

Reviving and creating spaces and cultural livelihoods: Ballarat to India

NWS Shipping Theatre

Friday, 17 September 2:30 pm - 3:25 pm

This session explores recent and successful large-scale projects that have been able to use craft to build and energise a strong sense of collective regional identity and uniqueness. Using locally sourced material, craft traditions and makers, the projects are exemplars of applied strategic sector planning and economic development that centres craft sectors as crucial elements in developing local industry and reviving local traditions. From the City of Ballarat, (Victoria) being designated a UNESCO City of Craft and Folk Art, to the Living Lightly project in India, this session discusses how effectively communicating the value of craft and local craft making traditions can influence and inform progressive city and regional transformation projects.



IOTA21 Conference Bags. Photo: Christophe Canato


Tara Poole | Is Ballarat a Creative City?

Coordinator Creative City | City of Ballarat

Tara Poole is a strategic decision-maker in the arts and culture sector, and a business leader. Currently, she is  the City of Ballarat Coordinator Creative City – implementing the city's Creative City Strategy 2019 and applying the UNESCO Creative City designation in the area of Crafts and Folk Art. Founder of The Lost Ones Makers Studio, Gallery and performance space. Founder and Board Director Ballarat Evolve Creative Industries, activating empty retail and commercial spaces for arts and cultural initiatives. She is an advocate with a passion for delivering programs of work that make a positive difference to a community's wellbeing. A thirty year career in strategic communications and organisational management and direction, with a focus on the arts and cultural issues, social concerns and economics. Using creativity to help make better cities and people.

Shouryamoy Das & Ms Sushma Iyengar | Reviving indigenous wool craft practices of India

Shouryamoy Das

The Centre for Pastoralism

Shouryamoy Das is passionate about crafts and ecology. He had his formal education in engineering and finance. He quit the business world in 2014 after short stints in the Software and the Investment banking industries to pursue his interests in working with rural pastoral and craft communities of India.

Ms Sushma Iyengar

Curator Living Lightly, The Centre for Pastoralism

Sushma Iyengar is a social worker and educator. In the past three decades she has led transformative action with marginalised communities in the area of gender justice, indigenous cultures, cultural livelihoods, local governance, and post-disaster rehabilitation. Based in Kutch, she is also the lead curator of the exhibition ‘Living Lightly - Journeys with Pastoralists’ - an outcome of her long-standing interest in and experience with indigenous communities, including nomadic pastoralists.

SECTOR DISCUSSION | Relationships: How to create value in the world

Maritime Museum Boardroom

Friday 17, September 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Extending craft practice beyond the gallery involves relationships in the public sphere. This can involve communities in which the work will exist or circulate. It can also impact the ecology, in terms of materials used and engagement by other species. These can seem like inhibitions on the creative freedom of the artist. Negotiations with communities are often seen to involve a compromise of the original vision. Can these relationships add value to the work? How should these relationships be factored into the creative process?

Led by Community Arts Network and chaired by June Moorhouse.

Preregistration required (Capped at 16). This session will require physical attendance. If you need to attend remotely please advice the conference team on

Convened by the World Crafts Council Australia.

Day 02

Saturday 18, September

Curtin University

Fast fashion and hybrid approaches
to textile production.

Day 03

Sunday 19, September

Boola Bardip / WA Museum

Fashion Show
Curiosity and the Cloth