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  • Natsai Audrey Chieza

Innovation Stories

What is craft innovation? Explore stories from some of the most innovative makers and projects led or supported by the Crafts Council innovation strand.

Craft Innovation Interviews

Producer Andrew Sleigh interviews makers who are exploring the edges of their practice, applications of new technologies and materials, and new collaborations across industry, science and craft.

Systems that make Things Guests: Designer Natsai Audrey Chieza and researcher Madeline Gannon.

Materials that tell Stories Guests: Material teller Yesenia Thibault-Picazo, designer Andrew Merrit and colour and material specialist Caroline Till.


The Crafts Council’s two-day event that explores the importance of craft and innovation to the future of making.

Catch up on inspiring presentations below.


The first Make:Shift in 2014 laid open a world of disruptive innovation in craft - the application of new tools, processes and materials. Make:Shift in 2016 not only showcased an extraordinary array of disruptive innovation taking place through craft but also asked, to what end?

In 2016 Make:Shift explored the value of craft innovation in social innovation, sustainability, healthcare and wellbeing. It demonstrated the distinctive characteristics of craft and unveiled how makers collaborate and catalyse innovation in other sectors and industries. The practices presented span robotics, smart materials, bio design, connected wearables alongside more traditional craft disciplines.

Make:Shift Ireland

In Autumn 2017, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland hosted Make:Shift in Dublin. A dynamic lineup of experts in architecture, glass, bio science, mathematics, ceramics, fashion, augmented reality and more presented game-changing concepts that impact the ways in which we live, learn, make and share. 

Watch the full programme of talks below.


Make:Shift interviews and profiles

In the run up to Make:Shift conferences in 2014 and 2016 the Crafts Council and Crafts magazine conducted a number of interviews and profiles on the programme speakers. You can find links to them below.

The Future Lab: Shelley James

The Future Lab: Sarah O’Hana

The Future Lab: Craig Dunlop

The Future Lab: Hannah Perner-Wilson

Speaker’s Corner: Maurizio Montalti

Speaker’s Corner: James Bulley and Myrto Karanika

Speaker’s Corner: Craig Dunlop

Speaker’s Corner: The Future of Craft

Speaker’s Corner: Making, materials and tools

Speaker’s Corner: Partner Power

Mark Burrows

Rhian Solomon

Lauren Bowker

Gregory Epps

Professor Mark Miodownik and Dr Zoe Laughlin at the Institute of Making

BioDesign Salon Paper

How will the intersection of design and biological fabrication open up to new ways of ‘making’ and ‘crafting’ in the future?

Biosalon is a joint initiative organised by the Crafts Council and the Design & Living Systems Lab at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. This follow-up publication has emerged from the Biosalon conversations.

Parallel Practices 2016

Parallel Practices formed one part of the Crafts Council's Innovation strand, and was run in partnership with the Cultural Institute at King’s College, London.

In its second phase, a longer six-month Parallel Practices programme, ‘Learning Through Making’, allowed maker-academic collaborations more time to explore the benefits of their partnership, giving consideration to the pastoral and educational outcomes that were touched upon in the pilot project. 

Below you can see a short film about the residencies.


Parallel Practices 2014

Parallel Practices aimed to demonstrate the mutual benefits and value of collaboration between medical and scientific academics and makers.

The 2014 pilot project consisted of four collaborations, with each collaboration lasting four months and involving a team of at least one maker and one medical and scientific academic. These pairings stimulated learning and innovation through a focus on the body, materials and processes.

Below you can see a short film about the residencies.


Assemble 2012

Assemble 2012 was a full-day conference that brought together a diverse group of experts to explore the contribution craft makes to innovation and enterprise and the relationship between making, science and technology.

The day included sessions on The Craft of Surgery, Biomaterials and Future Making, and Advanced Manufacturing.

Part of the programme was a filmed presentation by Professor Roger Kneebone, Professor of Surgical Education, Imperial College London, PhD FRCS FRCSEd FRCGP and Joshua Byrne, Byrne & Burge, about the crossovers between surgery and tailoring.

Watch all the films below.


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