The Life of Things

Winter 2016, the MacGuffin Field Club ventures out to the countryside. It will combine exciting field trips and personal stories on design and crafts. Just like the Natural History Field Clubs (1) that emerged in Britain in the nineteenth century, experts and amateurs are invited to join up to explore and informally debate ‘The Life of Things’; not in the auditorium, but on a day out in the field. On its next outing, MacGuffin will take a peek-in on the very first design objects: baskets.

Belfast Naturalist Field Club, 1868

(1) The nomadic Field Club was an Early Victorian invention with a far-reaching influence; a masterpiece of social mechanics that not only broke with hierarchical class divisions, but also paved the way for women in scientific research. With its convivial outings it funded some of Britain’s most fascinating museums and naturalist collections (sometimes gathered with such zeal that rare plant species were wiped out, like the Killarney Fern, victim of the 1850’s Fern-Fever).

The MacGuffin Field Club doesn’t aim for such profound effects. It will though, like its Victorian counterparts, focus on the informal exchange of specific knowledge and enthusiasm. The MFC begins its day out with an invigorating breakfast, and ends its field trip with exposés and debate in the local pub. It has a yearly membership that is open to all and is, as the Belfast Naturalists’ Club put it in the year 1831: ”calling for no rivalries in taste or skills.”

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