Twist-hands and shuttle-kissing

Understanding Industrial Craft Skills via Embodied and Distributed Cognition


  • Simon Penny University of California, Irvine
  • Tom Fisher Nottingham Trent University


Emneord (Nøkkelord):

Cognition, Industrial Craft, Embodiment, Know-how, Material Engagement


This paper seeks to understand the skills of operating automated manufacturing machines of the C19th as craft practices, employing externally powered and automated tools around which new cultures of practice emerged. We draw upon situated/embodied/enactive/extended/distributed (SEEED) approaches to cognition to explicate the sensibilities of these practices, as well as the history of science and technology, Anthropology, STS and related fields. Our case study is a body of work focused on embodied/ embedded knowledge in the textile industry – specifically in the making of machine lace. We conclude with a proposal for multi-modal museum exhibits that provide an understanding of know-how, kinesthetic/proprioceptive skills and procedures. The authors are both long term practitioners of crafts, both traditional and industrial (see bios). This experience informs the research at every step.


Simon Penny, University of California, Irvine

Professor of Art, Music and Informatics

Tom Fisher, Nottingham Trent University

Professor of Art and Design


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Hvordan referere

Penny, S., & Fisher, T. (2021). Twist-hands and shuttle-kissing: Understanding Industrial Craft Skills via Embodied and Distributed Cognition . FormAkademisk , 14(2).

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