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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.46
Co-creation Strategies for Researching Resilience in Women Craft Groups: Challenging Dynamics of Epistemic Privilege
The paper addresses current issues in feminist knowledge production, examining a role of researchers as co-producers of knowledge and their commitment to constructing meaningful livelihoods of the researched subjects. The paper draws on an ethnographic study of a women’s lacemaking network Charming Threads in Kraków, Poland, and demonstrates the importance of the history of lacemaking locally. The lacemakers’ network was set up by Jadwiga Węgorek in 1999 to enhance individual well-being through making, creating, and exhibiting practice. The group consisted of aging individuals, predominantly women from the peripheral areas of the province. We draw on the self-reflexive accounts concerning the effects of long-term interpersonal engagement with lacemakers, access to their spaces and a dialogic exchange concerning their craft practice. We argue that in practicing anthropology, a feminist lens on knowledge production frames any research engagement as a primary responsibility of the researcher, and mindful of dangers of epistemic privilege, allows addressing operating power structures within the ethics of representation and capturing community process and community agency in meaning-making. The study confirms the value of craft activities as both creative and social processes that meaningfully contribute to the participants’ wellbeing and enhanced resilience. The paper also reports on the instances of women lacemakers taking up the roles of ethnographic researchers advocating the cultural value of their traditions, the very processes that simultaneously alter dynamics within a craft network.