Simply put, podcasts are the latest successful media trend. If you have Internet access you can choose from thousands of free audio programs, discussing a rich array of topics from studios across the world. The podcast has rapidly become a growing medium for reaching target audiences for niche groups and organizations to get their content out there and share thoughts and ideas with other equally passionate supporters. It has proven to be far less formal than newspaper, radio or television reporting and interviews are generally more conversational and relaxed. Topics can be enlightening and stimulating and differ from other forms of media; it cuts down on screen time, enables multitasking, it’s effortless. Recent statistics from The Canadian Podcast Listener sponsored by TPX (The Podcast Exchange) found more than 8 million Canadian adults listen to podcasts at least once a month. Unlike interviews, that may have a journalistic bias, blogs that may only be half read, videos that may not hold the viewer’s attention, podcasts are generally around 30 minutes to an hour and can be listened to during otherwise wasted time, driving, ironing, mowing the lawn.  Furthermore it increases conversation between others and listening to a podcast is fast becoming the cultural norm.

The podcast Oh! For Crafts Sake is the Craft Council of British Columbia’s recent media offering, hosted by Alex Montes and Jasmine Hynes. It is aimed at the craft community and its supporters with the hope that it will spark dialogue amongst craftspeople, collectors, innovators and activists as they discuss the role craft plays in their creative lives. Oh! For Crafts Sake, like the Canadian Crafts Federation ‘Citizens of Craft’, Material Matters and Craftsmanship Quarterly podcasts before, will continue to blaze a trail for craft to be included in contemporary art discourse.

Raine McKay the Executive director for CCBC explained recently why she saw the need to use the podcast to stimulate greater conversations about craft.

“Primarily it is the lack of opportunities – nation-wide- to create an ever evolving discourse around craft. As a sector we tend to highlight the artists, the exhibitions and the professional activities of the craft sector, but I feel we fail to consistently investigate the various milieus in which Canadian craft is experienced, how craft is positioned within the wider cultural industries or explored within the ever-expanding academic discourse. My hope is that Oh! For Crafts Sake will be one of CCBC’s key contributions to offset this deficiency.”

Recently, Jasmine shared how CCBC hopes the podcasts will stimulate dialogue amongst the craft community by speaking with artists, administrators and beyond on contemporary and historical issues affecting the craft community. Jasmine explained, “Thus far, we have given an introduction to ourselves, talked to Lou Lynn about winning a prestigious craft award, and to Lou-ann Neel about cultural appropriation in the craft sector and how this negatively impacts indigenous makers as a continuation of colonial violence. Our intended audience is of course the craft community in BC, but we hope to reach the larger arts community and beyond BC as well – we hope to do this by talking with makers coming from outside of BC and Canada, and through talking with other craft councils in Canada. We have a year of programming planned, and without giving too much away, we plan to talk about sustainability, the use of terms such as “crafted” and “artisan” in spaces outside of the craft sector as a marketing and selling tool, and about craft intersecting with other disciplines such as dance (this episode will specifically be about one of our own projects). We also have some lighter topics planned for the summer such as talking to female brewers about craft beer and soon we will be discussing queering craft.”

As an era of isolation moves slowly to its finale, we should attempt to move conversations forward, to uncover powerful messages, examine what the craft community is doing and share how this year has challenged us work wise. The conversations will continue and we can ask ourselves how the past year’s struggle is reflected through our work and our practice. At the centre of this discussion is the maker whose material tells a story, whose art is used to communicate their messages. Let’s keep the art of conversation alive through the podcast, an accessible way to talk about our world.

Check out the recent CCBC podcast featuring Crafted Vancouver’s Founder and Executive Director, Carrie Ross here or through your favourite podcast platform.