Richard Sennett: The Good Craftsman
Richard Sennett will be giving a lecture based on his book The Craftsman. “Good craftsmanship” stands for work of good quality. What sort of work is this in the digital era? The lecture explores this question in three domains: the acquisition of craft skills, learning from others in workshops, and technical supports and barriers to doing good work.
Richard Sennett is an analyst of cities and the work people do in them. He has just completed the “homo faber” trilogy, a three volume study of the relation of work and place. Over the course of his career, he has served as a consultant for the United Nations, most recently creating the policy guidelines for Habitat III. In an alternative universe, he has pursued a career in music as a cellist; he currently chairs Theatrum Mundi, a research center bringing together young artists and urbanists.
Richard Sennett first studied the cello, attending the Julliard School in New York, where he worked with Claus Adam, cellist of the Julliard Quartet. In a career change, he briefly attended the University of Chicago, then entered Harvard, studying sociology with David Riesman, and philosophy with John Rawls.
He has written about social life in cities, changes in labour, and social theory. His books include The Hidden Injuries of Class, The Fall of Public Man, The Corrosion of Character, The Culture of the New Capitalism, The Craftsman, and Building and Dwelling.
He founded the New York Institute for the Humanities in the 1970s, then served as President of the American Council on Work in the 1980s. For the last three decades he has been a consultant to various bodies within the United Nations; most recently, he wrote the mission statement for Habitat III, the United Nation’s environmental congress. Five years ago, he created Theatrum Mundi, a collective of young artists and urbanists.
Among other awards, he has received the Hegel and Spinoza Prizes, an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge, and the Centennial Medal from Harvard University. In 2018, Britain awarded him an OBE.
Tobias Putrih, ACT Lecturer, engages 20th century avant-gardes, particularly utopian and visionary concepts of architecture and design, through a range of conceptual and materially ephemeral projects. He designs makeshift architectural modifications of public spaces—cinemas, a library, galleries, and a university commons—constructing temporary environments out of paper, cardboard, plywood, monofilament, and light.