The Artistic Research Knitting Circle (formerly known as The Artistic Research Knitting Club) is an initiative by Marta Pagliuca Pelacani and Liza Prins. The purpose of ARKC is to join the many threads that unite Amsterdam’s artistic research community, fostering a space of informal discussion and knowledgeable craft: something in between a knitting club, a critical reading group and a talking circle. Sitting together and learning with and from one another are important fundamentals of ARKC. What we propose is a broad understanding of this way of coming together, one that is made with making, and through peer-to-peer approaches to knowledge production, pedagogy and methods. ARKC is open to everyone. For two years now, we have been welcoming members interested in the many crafts that comprise artistic research practices. This is your invitation to join us with your knitting, your punch ‘n needle or latest crochet project, to take your loom, embroidery and stretch routine in the university space as a rebellious act. We welcome lines of code, a piece of rope, stripped bark or an oil carrier (bag). We welcome critical perspectives on our choices of spaces and programmes, so feel free to get in touch with us.

ARKC welcomes crafters of all kinds, as well as passive, occasional and one-off members. We are happy to supply the knowledge and materials to help you get started with a craft we master (like knitting, mending or crochet), or learn from you how to do things in which we are interested (like weaving, basketry and spinning). Sessions are based on an equal dosage of crafting and theory. We first discuss the readings assigned, then doze off into a more informal conversation. Most sessions are co-hosted by invited practitioner’s whose trajectory is then brought to enrich the circle’s perspective on the session’s theme.

ARKC 2023/2024 – Becoming the Common Subject

Unlike previous years, this academic year’s programme starts from a prompt found in Sivlia Federici’s work, which we hope to investigate further with you. In ‘Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of Commons’, Federici makes a reference to a position she will define as common subject. Pointing to the present as a state of life in which our alienation from reproduction, consumption, and each other, allows for many of us to live in a state of oblivion vis-à-vis ‘the conditions under which what we eat, wear, or work with have been produced”, Federici suggests we must work together in order to overcome the “state of irresponsibility” that allows for the production of our life to become the production of the death of others. The work, she claims, is that of a feminist reconstruction of the commons based on collective refusal and the production of the self as “a common subject”. (Federici, Re-enchanting, p. 115-116) No specific or totalising definition of the common subject is however put forward by Federici. Together, we will spend the six upcoming ARKC sessions laying down the ground work necessary to observe Federici’s suggestion in its context, before expanding our scope to other texts that may help us arrive together at a shared definition of the common subject which satisfies us as a group. This collective research trajectory is an attempt at keeping our academic work relevant in the face of the current global emergency. As we watch, fund and fight the oppressive structures that continue to encroach upon indigenous lands and annihilate life, we believe it urgent to continue to nurture spaces of reciprocal education. ARKC has been for years one of such communities, and in so being, it is an inherently political project. This year, like the past years, we will continue to educate one another on the perilous, precarious, subaltern and hegemonic structures that are interwoven with our lives, making them possible or impossible at times.

We will continue to seek allyship with other spaces dedicated to togetherness and crafts sharing, nurturing the knowledge that the mastery of craft is not a gateway to escapism, but a claim to the autonomous powers of land, body and material. And we will do so by reading around, over or under the following themes:

18/12 – The Social Craft
29/1 – Craft as Memory
26/2 – Craft as an Epistemology / Tools for world building
18/3 – Craft as a Mourning Practice
22/4 – Craftivism
27/5 – Crafts and Song

Documentation of previous sessions (2022/2023)

chapter 3: songs of flax, session 2 with Bergur Anderson

Zine: Singing A Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Liza Prins, guided by Bergur Anderson

chapter 3: songs of flax, session 1 with Marie Ilse Bourlanges and Liza Prins

Chapter 1: soft geometries, session 2 with Mariana Lanari

Chapter 2: (non)solitary spinning, session 1 with Mariana Anacleto

Workshop with Not Just a Collective in Arnhem

An Incomplete Guide to Crochet, Including a text by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney on the importance of a improvisational life and (incomplete) instructions for free-style crochet.