Use of domestic craft for meaning-making post-disaster

Article authors:

Jane Maidment, Raewyn Tudor, Ada Campbell, Karen Whittaker

This interesting research article appears in the special issue of Kotuitui on “Contested meanings of recovery: a critical exploration of the Canterbury earthquakes–voices from the social sciences” -see what else is there here.


Crafting is a grassroots community practice which fits well with the move to community-based strategies in emergency management. It is a practice led by crafters themselves facilitating healing and meaning-making in diverse ways that made sense for them. Crafting is a creative and often collective practice with no predetermined, government-level objectives that crafters seek to achieve.

There has been a great deal of research conducted about the social impact of the earthquakes on affected populations and deleterious effects of such events on mental health, living conditions and employment. Little research has focused on the resourceful activities of everyday living that occupants of disaster-ridden locations use to strengthen coping and aid recovery.

This article reports on a qualitative study conducted after the Christchurch 2010–2011 earthquakes. The study  aimed to capture how people have used crafting as a means of connecting with others and aiding recovery.

…despite the therapeutic and community contributions made by the people we spoke to, crafting remains relatively invisible in the disaster recovery literature.

The authors found that crafting activities brought people together,”generating a form of healing and recovery. Incorporating symbolism, expressions of compassion and restoring broken materials within their crafting helped participants generate strong and positive responses to a traumatic series of events”.

We believe a major barrier to the recognition of crafting as a valid and legitimate, community-led recovery activity is the social invisibility of women’s roles in disaster work.

The authors note that reference to domestic crafting has been largely absent from earlier research on disaster recovery and believe that research demonstrate how this medium has been powerful in enabling individuals to forge their own recovery after the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Read the full article here in Kotuitui-New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, a free open access journal.

Maidment, J., Tudor, R., Campbell, A., & Whittaker, K. (2015). Use of domestic craft for meaning-making post-disaster. Kotuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 10(2), 144-152. doi:10.1080/1177083x.2015.1047457

See also by the same authors:

Tudor, R., Maidment, J., Campbell, A., & Whittaker, K. (2015). Examining the role of craft in post-earthquake recovery: Implications for social work practice. British Journal of Social Work, 45(suppl 1), i205-i220.


About socialworknz

I'm a social work researcher in Aotearoa New Zealand
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s