AEI’s major project is the research on Portland’s makers/artisan economy.  Our goal is to understand the values embedded within Portland’s creative artisan economy; what exactly does “Made in Portland” mean?  This project has numerous objectives. They include:

  • Creating a database of Portland artisans
  • Meeting artisans/makers and discussing the meanings and values wrapped up in such concepts/activities as: making, autonomy, global vs. local, and handmade
  • Surveying artisans/makers on the meaning of localism as they perceive it
  • Applying and developing social theory vis-a-vis Portland’s artisan economy

After we have learned something from Portland’s artisans, we will broaden our research to include other cities around the country and the world.  We have already been in conversation with colleagues in three different regions of the world about potential collaborations.

Additionally, our group will be working on various other projects with many different timetables over the course of this initiative. While some projects may include every member of the group and be more long-term, others will be individual and shorter lived.

Past Projects:

Katrina Gets Married

Member Katrina Johnston is getting married and wants to do it in Portland style. Her blog will be exploring the DIY, local, and artisan wedding economy in this creative city in an effort to create a unique and alternative ceremony. Over the next year, she will present the process of discovering and choosing florists, caterers and dresses, both mainstream and local, in order to explore the artisan economy in Portland.

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