Nora Atkinson is a craft curator, a humanist and a romantic — as she says, "I can’t believe I get to do what I do for a living."

Why you should listen

Nora Atkinson is the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum Washington, D.C. As she writes, "I was born and raised in the Northwest, and I find my perspective heavily influenced by its laid-back, pioneering spirit. After earning my MA from the University of Washington, I intended to curate art, but fell into the unusual specialty of craft, which appeals to me as a way of living differently in the modern world that tells us something about being human; I continue to be fascinated by the place of the handmade in our increasingly digital age.

"In 2014, after eight years at Bellevue Arts Museum, I moved to DC to join the Renwick Gallery. I attended my first Burning Man in 2017 as research for my exhibition 'No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man,' which explores the event as a creative laboratory and one of the most important cultural movements of our time. As a curator, I tell stories through objects, and I want to teach people to approach the world with curious eyes and find the magic around them. My work is as much about inspiring people as transmitting knowledge."

Nora Atkinson’s TED talk