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Rolling Stone workshop at ECA
RAFT is a research group concerned with materially-led creative processes and knowledge. It brings together researchers in craft theory and history, individuals undertaking creative research through practice, troubling notions of digital craft, speculating on critical making futures, and applying research-through-design methodologies.

As such, we encourage membership across disciplines and schools, external organisations, and welcome academics at all stages of their careers, including postgraduate students and doctoral researchers.

RAFT is chaired by Professor Sarah Kettley and supported by vice chair Dr Jessamy Kelly.

About the group

Our members include designers, makers, educators, students, technologists and researchers from a range of material-based disciplines.

As practitioners, we often feel disenchanted with emerging technologies. We explore technology through process, and we explore process through technology

Our aim is to regularly come together through workshops, talks and networking events to further explore the frictions and opportunities that emerging technologies can bring into our practices.

Unified through our shared interest of exploring the potential of handcrafted and digital technologies, we are linked across a diverse range of material based disciplines in order to provide peer support and interaction in the making process. The spaces between these disciplines are the places we try to pry open.

We aim to work collaboratively on projects and connect our own developmental pathways and practices as a research cohort.

Our awareness of the changing identity of creative design practices within an increasingly technologized environment motivates us to openly explore our group identity through our research activities. 

As well as staff and students from across Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), the group currently includes the musician David Faleris, the jewellers Eva Fernandez Martos and Kathryn Hinton, Stephen Bottomley, Matt Coombes, Glasgow School of Art researcher Dr Mhairi Maxwell, and the artist Morvern Odling. We are also partnered with Craft Scotland, with whom we co-deliver our public talks series.

Chaired by Dr Jessamy Kelly, the network brings together researchers in digital technologies and traditional ways of making, exploring how designers and makers can use technologies to develop new thinking and practice.


RAFT events have included:

  • Material fluidity exhibition in Evolution House Tent Gallery, 26 April - 3 May 2019
  • a talk by Adi Toch, an Israeli metalsmith, with a handling session in November 2017
  • a talk by Dries Verbruggen, from Studio Unfold in September 2016
  • a talk by South Australian artist, Julie Blyfield, at ECA, with a handling session, in February 2016
  • a talk on the Digital Handmade by Lucy Johnston, also in February 2016
  • a lecture by Professor Kee-Ho Yuen of the University of Iowa at ECA in April 2016
  • a talk by Ceramicist Amelie Proulx  in October 2016
  • a lecture and research collider with Robert Baines in November 2016.

Programmes and short courses

Our members teach and lecture in a range of disciplines at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including on programmes such as Glass, Product Design, Jewellery & Silversmithing, Architectural Technology, Material Practices, Design & Digital Fabrication and Animation.

We hope that by building better collaboration strategies among our members we will be able to create and stimulate the development of new electives and courses, as well as encouraging the exploration of new areas of research.

Would you like to undertake research-led study at ECA?

We offer a range of research-led postgraduate programmes.

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