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Crafts Power List

Who are the power-brokers of the craft world? Find out in the new issue of Crafts magazine...

It is a question that has long intrigued us here at Crafts and so we endeavoured to find out. 

To do this, we asked 30 leading figures – each with an overarching view of the sector, including writers, educators, gallery owners and heads of public bodies – to nominate five names each in descending order of importance. The influencer on the top of their list would receive five points the person at the bottom one. These marks were tallied up to create our final parade. 

What did we discover? Well, firstly that the field is fractured and stubbornly refuses to coalesce around a handful of names – a total of 92 people were nominated, ranging from a future king to a currently hip fashion designer via the author of a best-selling book. The ultimate winners took the most votes but were never ahead by very much. It also suggests that influence comes in many forms and that craft is capable of seeping into the pores of any number of different disciplines. That said, the final five highlight the importance of the pen. It seems that to really exercise power, being able to make isn’t enough – you need to effectively communicate your message, too, either through books and magazine columns, by having your own TV series or gallery, or failing that, by teaching skills to the next generation. Rightly or wrongly, it’s also apparent that clay is the material that carries the most clout. Three of the top five, and six out of the final 20, would identify themselves as ceramists.  

Finally, what will the list achieve? Well, we hope it acts as a snapshot of where craft is now but, more importantly, we would like it to stimulate some kind of debate over what ‘influence’ really means, how it’s exerted and how can it be effectively harnessed to give the crafts greater prominence within British and global culture.  

The Top 20

Tanya Harrod, design historian
Glenn Adamson, curator and historian
Grayson Perry, artist
Edmund de Waal, ceramist
Magdalene Odundo, ceramist 
Sir Nicholas Goodison, collector and patron
Lisa Hammond, ceramist
Martina Margetts, critic and historian
Philip Hughes, director, Ruthin Craft Centre
Sarah Griffin, collector and curator
Deirdre Figueiredo, director, Craftspace 

12= Annabelle Campbell, head of exhibitions and collections, Crafts Council
Caroline Broadhead, maker and educator

14= Clare Twomey, maker
Adrian Sassoon, gallery owner
Sarah Corbett, founder, Craftivist Collective
Daniel Charny, professor of design, Kingston University, London

18= Alison Britton, maker and educator
Jonathan Anderson, fashion designer and creative director, LOEWE

20. Rosy Greenlees, executive director, Crafts Council

Find out more about the final list in the May/June issue of Crafts