ACC Conference: Robin Petravic - “Good Design + Good Craft = Good Sense: The Story of Heath Ceramics”
ACC Conference: Garth Clark - “The Case for Conservativism”

ACC Conference: Lydia Matthews -"New Models in the Marketplace"

The description of Lydia Matthews lecture in the ACC Conference catalog sounds like a collection of "fun to hear phrases" that leaves the listener impressed that something important will be said, but you sure can't figure out what it will be. This ended up being a prophecy.  The description from the catalog is at the bottom of this post just in case you want to try to read it yourself.

Lydia Matthews photo Lydia Matthews gave us tons of information, her voice was easy to understand, her diction excellent, her demeanor pleasant, yet after looking at my pages and pages of notes, I can't figure out what she wanted to say.

This lecture was like the Emperor's new clothes. Obviously, she is very intelligent, but when a lecturer stands up and reads the lecture, directly from the paper, at break-neck speed, this is not communicating with the audience. Glass of water
Lydia Matthews lost me right after she showed a half-full glass of water at the beginning of the lecture.

I've looked at my notes over and over, but lacking a coherent structure to the lecture, it is as if I wasn't even there. Sorry, Lydia.  If you are reading this blog post, I hope this is constructive criticism.  When giving a lecture, all public speaking experts tend to agree: an opening paragraph with a maximum of 3 to 5 key points, a presentation that expands on those points, and a recap summary conclusion helps the audience remember what you want them to recall as the primary message.

WHAT DID I LEARN? The importance of communicating with the audience and a strong conclusion in a lecture.

LIFESTYLE OR LIVELIHOOD? Lydia Matthews makes her living in the academic world.

SUMMARY: You had a choice between defining the image (above) as a half empty or half full glass of water. I am an optimist. The next time Lydia Matthews gives a lecture she will speak slowly.


Lydia Matthews will consider how, in the face of dire forms of economic and social crisis, new models of studio practice, creative research, and entrepreneurship are emerging from the ground up around the world. Acutely aware of our dynamic and complex contemporary lifestyles, which are simultaneously local and global, many artists have recognized the intrinsic value of craft as a personally fulfilling activity and as a visual expression of exploring, interrogating, and revolutionizing material.  Craft practices are proliferating in multiple arenas today, tapping into new media networks, microeconomic systems, and diverse cultural contexts that extend beyond traditional gallery models. New forms of thinking within that are proliferating in the design world may help us account for how craft can be understood as a way to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing environment, and a way to design not only objects but also proposals for more sustainable systems and modes of living.

This post was updated on January 3, 2022.