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Alabama Workshop[s] Promote the Southeastern Creative Economy

Alabama Workshops

Alabama Workshop[s] is an initiative developed by Prof. Sheri Schumacher that responds to the gaining momentum of the creative economy in the southeast region and the ability of craft production to create sustainable local economies. Promoting the network of Alabama artisans and organizations that offer workshops for craft production, the initiative encourages a mutual exchange between people, materials and tools. Conducting and participating in workshops has the potential to enrich and economically strengthen the lives of local residents and visitors.

The Alabama Workshop[s] initiative launched in May with an information booth at the 2014 Southern Makers event in Montgomery to distribute maps with workshop locations and contact information as well as brochures about Gee’s Bend quilting workshops.  Robert Finkel, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Auburn University, designed the graphic material including the logo, survey, maps and brochures. The tremendous positive response from people interested in conducting and participating in workshops has led to future plans to establish a web site and curate a traveling exhibition of artisan works with workshop offerings at the museum exhibition sites.

Sheri Schumacher is a designer, artisan and educator.  She teaches third year architecture studios and is the Chair of the Interior Architecture Program at Auburn University's School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (APLA).  Her work investigates craft industries in contemporary culture, public interest design and the intersection of cultural studies and architecture. She is committed to expanding design toward greater relevance; design that responds to the needs of society, supports environmental responsibility and improves the quality of people’s lives.  Her current creative work and research focuses on new ways to understand craft in relation to design and creating sustainable local economies.