In the Making: Student Craft at Berea College

February 24, 2023


In the Making

“We have found that by encouraging and supporting students to discover their own creativity that’s already inside them—and is in many cases untapped—they find a tremendous amount of joy.”

On Thursday, February 23, 2023, we held a conversation with members and staff of Berea College’s Student Craft Program. We discussed how the program has evolved over the years and their transition to student-designed products, which offers students the opportunity to use craft to explore their creativity and personal passions.

Our guests included Aaron Beale, Associate Vice President for Student Craft; Emerson Croft, Weaving Assistant; and current student and Biology major Leeroy Mabvuta.

    The Student Craft Program at Berea College in Kentucky has been a part of the Appalachian Crafts movement since the 1890s. Beginning with Weaving in 1893, Woodworking in 1895, and Broom Making and Ceramics in 1920, the Student Craft Program is a part of Berea’s broader Labor Program, which requires every student to contribute to the operations of the school through a number of job opportunities, including craft. Our guests also spoke about their daily commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including their partnership with the design house MillerKnoll—a union taking on the long-running issue of inequity in the field of design.

    “In the Making” is a public programs series where we connect with a range of new voices, fields, and perspectives. Learn more and view a full list of events on the series homepage.

    With thanks to our underwriters

    Massachusetts Cultural Council
    Adams + Beasley Associates
    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
    Eaton Vance

    Columbia Contracting Corp.

    First Republic Bank
    F.H. Perry Builder
    Firestone & Parson Inc.
    Inland Underwriters Insurance Agency
    Muecke, Inc.
    Sequoia Custom Builders, Inc.