Women’s place-making through craft in post-earthquake Christchurch

Jane Maidment, Raewyn Tudor, Ada Campbell, Karen Whittaker


INTRODUCTION: There is little research on the role of creative arts and craft in disaster recovery. This article reports findings about the emergent role of crafting from research conducted after the 2010–2011 series of earthquakes in Christchurch and surrounding districts in Aotearoa New Zealand. In particular, the article focuses on the significance and differing interpretations of the notion of place expressed by participants through their craftwork, in this case led by women and mediated by the post-earthquake geographic and temporal context.

METHOD: This qualitative research included nine individual interviews and five focus group interviews with crafters from Christchurch and surrounding districts. There were 35 participants in total, 33 were women. Applied thematic analysis was used to code the data and identify themes. These themes included connection to place, the symbolism of craft, the healing experience of craft groups and places for women. The notion of place was evident across all three themes.

FINDINGS: The findings from the research demonstrate differing ways in which the significance of place was reflected in the craftwork. Participants interpreted the concept of place in descriptive, symbolic, and therapeutic ways.

IMPLICATIONS: More understanding about the way creative endeavours like crafting can be used to help ameliorate the impact of natural disasters is needed. Social work practitioners are encouraged to explore place-based wellbeing during their work with service users and to include aspects of artistry, craft and creativity.


Place; women; disaster; social work; craft

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol31iss1id557


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