Kicking off the new year –
- The Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper and the forthcoming Bazalgette review of the creative industries – help the Crafts Council respond
- Lots of new research projects and findings –
- Crafting Professional practice through Higher Education - a collaborative PhD between King’s College London and Crafts Council
- Cultural learning – ImagineNation
- Design & Technology in the Ofsted annual report;
On research – creativity, culture, design, making:
- Creative hubs
- Fostering culture in city planning
- The value of design principles and practices to the economy
- Promoting exchange between industry, universities and maker communities
- The gender pay gap in making.
- New guidance on the impact of arts for health and wellbeing projects and on collaboration between cultural organisations and universities
- Plus the Dowling review of business-university research collaborations, a new vision for culture in Wales – and craft is name checked by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The Government launched its Industrial Strategy Green Paper on 23 January, setting out how it will make long-term decisions about the UK’s economic future when we leave the European Union.
- We’re delighted that Sir Peter Bazalgette will be conducting an independent review into ‘how the UK’s creative industries can help underpin our future prosperity by utilising and developing new technology, capitalising on intellectual property rights, and growing talent pipelines.’ The Crafts Council will be contributing.
- There will be investment in new routes for technical education.
- There will be more investment in innovation and ‘everyday entrepreneurs’ through an inventor challenge prize to be piloted by Nesta. This will inform Government support, for example through incubators and maker spaces.
Here we highlight some of the areas that may be relevant to craft.
The Crafts Council will be preparing responses both to the Industrial Strategy and the Bazalgette review. To have the most impact, we think the strategy must:
- address the particular needs of micro businesses for R&D;
- in promoting technical education, tackle the 41% decline in GCSE Design & Technology students (07/08 to 14/15) – see Studying Craft 16 (and see our latest blog on the higher education findings from this report here);
- commit the Government to publishing data on craft exports; and
- recognise the contribution of craft businesses to place.
Please get in touch with Julia Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rhiannon Lewis (email@example.com) if you would like to discuss our response, in particular in relation to the four areas highlighted above.
The Crafts Council has already responded to a review of the Small Business Research Initiative, highlighting the need for it to explicitly address micro businesses’ needs.
New research - education
- Crafting professional practice through Higher Education is a collaborative PhD between King’s College London and the Crafts Council to assess the development of professional skills. The project investigates how knowledge acquisition and the development of such practices takes place within higher education, in order to consider how the sector could be more resilient for the benefit of makers and audiences. Lauren England, the doctoral researcher leading the project, blogs here about her aspirations for the research.
- The Creative Learning Alliance has published ImagineNation: the value of cultural learning, setting out how studying arts and culture changes and shapes the lives of children and young people.
- The Ofsted annual report highlights the challenging environment for Design & Technology teaching in primary schools and the worrying lack of Design & Technology expertise required in classroom projects. The Crafts Council’s Studying Craft 16 findings show that the number of pupils taking Design & Technology GCSE has fallen by 41% between 2007/08 and 2014/15. We have made representations to ministers, industry bodies and educators about the impact on making.
Research – creativity, culture, design, making
- The British Council report Creative Hubs: Understanding the New Economy finds the tendency to conflate creative hubs with cultural quarters, clusters of economic activity and creative zones “unhelpful”.
- UNESCO makes a strong case for systematically fostering culture in city planning in its Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development.
- Design in Action: A new economy of knowledge exchange reports on the value of design principles and practices to the economy. The AHRC funded research highlights the importance of micro-businesses to the health of the economy and how they are chronically neglected in knowledge exchange.
- A three-year project funded by the European Commission will promote exchange between industry players, universities and maker communities to develop open fabrication and design.
- A new Office for National Statistics tool on the gender pay gap highlights how women makers make less than their male counterparts:
- Women furniture makers and other craft woodworkers earn 11.2% less than men.
- Women glass and ceramics makers, decorators and finishers earn 7.3% less than men.
- New guidance from Public Health England describes how best to document the impact of arts for health and wellbeing projects. It proposes a standard framework for reporting project outcomes, to enable realistic assessment and appropriate comparisons to be made between programmes.
- A useful guide from the University Alliance and Arts Council England encourages greater collaboration between cultural organisations and universities.
Views from Parliament
The Culture, Media and Sport select committee’s Countries of Culture report makes recommendations for effective investment and partnership outside London. The report highlights the impact of Art Lift in Gloucestershire, which features craft in social prescribing.
The House of Lords debated the impact of UK withdrawal from EU on the creative industries sector on 19 January. Discussion focused on the film, television and game industries, with crafts mentioned by Baroness Rebuck for their ‘behind the scenes contribution’ to film. Concern was voiced that the creative industries were not getting the same access to trade deals and global talent that other industries had been assured. The Crafts Council provided briefing for the debate.
The Lords also debated affordable workspaces for artists and artisans, with a call for policies to protect and enable creatives (including small businesses) to continue in inner city locations and contribute to the ‘cultural or communal health of the city.’ (The Earl of Clancarty).
The government has responded to the Dowling review of business-university research collaborations, highlighting how effective brokerage is crucial for innovation, particularly for SMEs, and continued support is needed for activities that help seed collaborations. The messages are consistent with findings from KPMG’s study Innovation through Craft: opportunities for growth for the Crafts Council.
The Welsh Government has produced a Vision for Culture in Wales, Light Springs through the Dark, with the goal of making Wales the most creatively active nation in Europe.
Speeches at the Creative Industries Federation’s anniversary party (the Crafts Council is a member) included Secretary of State Greg Clark’s recognition of the role of craft – ‘When in 2011 the Harry Potter films won Bafta’s outstanding British contribution to cinema, the committee said the films not only created stars in front of the camera but highlighted the expertise within the British craft and technical industries, supporting a vast array of jobs throughout production.’ The Crafts Council’s innovation case study cards feature BJS Group electroplaters and silversmiths who make silver and gold props for the film industry, including wands for the Harry Potter films.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, announced that Sir John Sorrell will serve on the Mayor’s Brexit expert advisory panel as a representative of the arts and creative industries