Keynote Speaker: Heiner Zimmermann

Keynote Speaker: Heiner Zimmermann

Craft is the contained knowledge of generations. So working with historic material is like having several very old and very experienced teachers. Since tradition is a continuum, not fixed in time, as makers it is natural to be mindful of what we will pass on.

Over the past 30 years working as a blacksmith, artist and teacher, Heiner Zimmermann has found new understanding about his own creative practice through conserving historic ironwork.  In this talk he will explore how the knowledge within the craft tradition has shaped his work as a contemporary artist.

Following 9 years of formal apprenticeship in Germany and vocational training in workshops around the world, Heiner completed a Masters degree and set up his own workshop.  Since 2009 he has been Professor of Metal Art at Gothenburg University. 

His talk at the V&A will focus on his personal journey, scrutinizing our role as makers today and considering how we will pass on the flame, addressing:


How an open mind enables us to learn from the mindset of past craftspeople as well as innovate ourselves


How available tools and material, the bigger picture of the built environment & changing fashions in society make a piece what it is


How build quality, fuel efficiency and craft competence can maximise the sustainability of our practice