Journal Article

Craft, Souvenirs and the Commodification of National Identity in 1970s’ Scotland

Andrea Peach

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 20, issue 3, pages 243-257
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online September 2007 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epm015
Craft, Souvenirs and the Commodification of National Identity in 1970s’ Scotland

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This article explores the relationship between craft, national identity and the souvenir in 1970 Scotland. Britain experienced a revival of craft practice generally in 1970s’ Scotland, but this paper argues that what happened in Scotland was distinct. The tourism industry in Scotland created a demand for objects representing ‘Scottishness’, with craft objects being consumed as souvenirs. This commodification of craft was supported by Scottish funding bodies, which encouraged craft practice as small business activity. Despite attempts by organizations such as the Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB) to regulate the quality of craft objects and promote a more contemporary identity for them, the prevailing consumer demand was for objects that reflected a historicist version of Scotland. Examining debates within 1970s’ magazine Craftwork – Scotland's Magazine of the Crafts, as well as reports from the HIDB, this article illustrates that although tourism provided an opportunity to sustain and revitalize craft production in 1970s’ Scotland, it did little to support a more contemporary craft aesthetic.

Keywords: 1970s; craft history; national identity; Scotland; souvenirs; tourism

Journal Article.  7958 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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