“Crafts in the Digital Era; Why and How” panel will discuss the essence of crafts, meaning of the words contemporary and sustainable, and the use of technology as a means rather than an end, while reconsidering crafts as a socially sustainable tool for artistic / creative production.


Zorlu PSM (Sky Lounge)


20-21 October 2022


Craft Net is an international digital platform that aims to map the craft culture of cities through participatory action research, in order to reveal the potential of crafts especially for contemporary creative productions in post-industrial societies. It is developed by artist Bilal Yılmaz and curator Lydia Chatziiakovou, combining their long-term research on crafts and socially engaged art practices. It was conceptualized for the first time during a residency program at Gate 27, an international residency program that was founded by Melisa Tapan in order to promote projects that focus on sustainability and economic development in both dialogue and practice. Craft Net discusses the essence of crafts, meaning of the words contemporary and sustainable, and the use of technology as a means rather than an end, while reconsidering crafts as a socially sustainable tool for artistic / creative production and asks this question: “What is the nature of the new public sphere, and how can art and activism contribute to it?”


Lydia Chatziiakovou


Lydia Chatziiakovou, who is a curator and owner of ArtBOXsince 2004; a creative arts management office that designs, creates and implements contemporary art projects revolving around the discovery of art as a mediator of social change, based on long-term strategic planning.

Over the last few years she has been involved in projects aimed at creating communities through art and creativity to empower participants, democratize access to culture, and foster an understanding of collectivity as an institution for liberated action.
Since 2018, she has been researching the production possibilities that handicrafts offer to the creative sector, and since 2020 she has been working with artist Bilal Yılmaz to develop the Creative-Craft Platform, which aims to create creative networks and communities around artisans.
Her latest project, Tale of X Cities, in ArtBOX located in different cities of northern Greece, brings together institutions and citizens to create a joint online and offline festival through a series of workshops focusing on media literacy and storytelling (www.x- cities. net).

Lydia is also a member of the curator team of Freiraum, a Europe-wide platform for institutions operating in the fields of arts, culture, civic participation, education and learning, launched by the Goethe-Institut since 2020. She was the co-curator, coordinator and presenter of Freiraum Platform’s 3-day mixed festival in 2020 and 2021. Attended live conferences and exhibitions and various offline events in more than 20 cities across Europe. (www.freiraumfestival.eu)

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Melisa Tapan

Founder of Gate 27

Melisa Tapan comes from a family that founded pioneering cultural, artistic and educational institutions in Turkey and continues to support developments in these fields. Thanks to the love of culture and art that her grandfather Sakıp Sabancı instilled in his family, she met the art world at an early age and developed herself in this field. She has worked in a variety of fields, pursuing projects ranging from financial inclusion to sustainable industry. Focusing her knowledge and experience on projects and initiatives targeting social impact, Melisa established Gate 27 in the fall of 2019 to support sustainability in the field of art. Giving priority to social responsibility projects that put sustainability at the center, it supports the Sabancı Foundation and SocialBen Foundation working towards this goal, and within this framework, it provides consultancy to the social responsibility projects of many different non-governmental organizations. In line with the vision of Sabancı Foundation, Sabancı University and Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Melisa focused on social entrepreneurship in both her professional and personal work to improve her family's social, educational and cultural heritage. After graduating in Psychology, she completed her MA in Economic and Political Development at Columbia University in New York. Melisa is also an active member of the Guggenheim Museum (New York); Museum of Modern Art (New York) and Whitney Museum of American Art.

Bilal Yılmaz

Bilal Yılmaz is an interdisciplinary artist and designer living in Istanbul. He basically creates sculptural objects, installations and collective experiences that change the perception of the viewer, using light, sound, movement and interaction. In addition to his interdisciplinary art and design studies, he develops social and collective projects that create social impact with artistic approaches. Bilal Yılmaz completed his undergraduate degree in Information Systems Engineering from Boğaziçi University (Istanbul) and Computer Engineering from Binghamton University (New York), and his master’s degree in Industrial Product Design from Istanbul Technical University. Interdisciplinary interests and education; reflected in his work, which oscillates between art, design and social participation. His work relies heavily on finding and unlocking potentials hidden for social, political and financial reasons, as well as experiential ways of learning and producing together. Many of their actions aim to create tools that mobilize possibilities and communities by imagining and experimenting with alternative systems of participation and collective production.

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