About the project
Craft Expertise is an UKRI/RCUK Innovation Fellowship funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and in collaboration with Crafts Council.
The two-phase project began in March 2019, and involves a series of research and public engagement activities which have aimed to raise awareness of inequalities in the contemporary UK craft economy.
The project has highlighted the various challenges faced by women of colour in the sector including racism and microaggressions in craft spaces, the challenges presented by social media, and issues with gaining recognition as expert makers.
Following the first phase which ran from 2019-2021, the project is now in its second phase, which aims to expand the reach and impact of the research. Proposed activities in the second phase include further research on alternative pathways into craft, an audio documentary series and a maker event in Birmingham.
Following the launch of the Making Changes in Craft report, we’re pleased to be a partner in phase 2. Karen describes in her blog how it will focus on craft social enterprises and community groups around the UK and in Australia and how they foster inclusive spaces to make and bring people together. The Crafts Council is responding to this work by actively working with the emerging Global Majority Branch steering group to identify new opportunities to tackle representation and the Craft UK network is developing a Toolkit for Change that draws together resource, support and action the craft sector can take to be part of this positive step change.
Dr Patel’s latest report Making Changes in Craft - Craft Expertise Phase One draws together findings, highlighting how ‘Histories and stories about craft are dominated by a Eurocentric perspective. More needs to be done to give space to makers from a wider variety of traditions to tell their story. More needs to be done to increase the representation of makers from all backgrounds. currently underrepresented in the publicly-funded UK craft sector.’ The recommendations include actions for craft and creative organisations, local and national government and the creative education sector to make UK professional craft more welcoming and more inclusive for all.