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  • Coral Study, by Crafts Council Maker Anne Haworth

March 2017 Policy Brief

This month we highlight:

Diversity: access to arts participation; access to museums and galleries; understanding dementias through science and creative arts; how making art reduces stress;

Education and skills development: skills inherent to arts, the humanities and sciences; the first year of the Action Plan for Wales; an evaluation of Cockpit Arts’ business incubator;

Economy: calls for Creative Enterprise Zones with cultural workspace; the economic value of museums; digital innovation.


New measures announced in the budget are likely to impact on craft businesses and education:

  • New T-Levels qualifications are intended to give parity of esteem for technical education. We will be following the development closely to understand if they offer opportunities to diversify routes into craft careers.
  • will be made available to assist firms affected by increases in business rates, including a discretionary hardship fund for local authorities to help businesses most affected by the revaluation.

Our budget briefing gives more details. 

Industrial Strategy

The Crafts Council is working closely with partners, including the Creative Industries Federation and the Creative Industries Council, on our response to the Industrial Strategy. We are keen to ensure that the creative industries are not excluded from bidding for financial support from the Challenge Fund, designed to address the future needs of UK industries.

We will also be responding to Sir Peter Bazalgette’s 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.

Crafts Council higher education prospectus

The Crafts Council is keen to work more collaboratively with higher education institutions to achieve greater excellence in research investigating craft, making and materials. This short prospectus sets out our research interests, what we can offer and how we believe co-produced research with us can offer new pathways to impact.

Craft participation – an update to the Taking Part data

An update to the Taking Part survey data, requested by the Crafts Council, shows that 19.6% of respondents participated in craft activity in 2015/16 (10.2% of male respondents and 28.7% of female respondents). The Taking Part survey analyses cultural (and sporting) engagement by key demographic area variables and by education. The Crafts Council requested this update as these data are not currently visible using the data analysis tools. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is to amend the data tools and will also publish 14/15 data.

Creative talent development in the EU

The House of Commons Education Committee heard evidence about the impact of exiting the European Union on higher education. In a discussion of subjects where there was a high intensity of students from EU countries (Q140) Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, notes that “some of the specialist institutions, like Glasgow School of Art, they have also been hugely successful in attracting a strong cohort of EU students to the creative disciplines, and we need to somehow maintain that openness to talent.”

Nesta and The Lisbon Council’s new policy brief highlights the pivotal role of creativity and creative work in the economy and argues the urgent need for European policymakers to grow the creative workforce and retain the most creative, talented people.

New research - diversity

Creative Future’s Fair Access to the Arts recommends that arts organisations review their arts programmes, based on research findings about the barriers to accessing mainstream arts opportunities for disabled and/or marginalised artists. 

Artist and curator Beth Davis-Hofbauer has released her research findings on how to make galleries and museums more accessible to people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and those with Sensory Processing Disorders.

Created out of Mind, an interdisciplinary team of scientists, visual artists, musicians, broadcasters, clinicians and carers at the Wellcome Collection, is to explore understanding of dementias through science and the creative arts.

Culture Case have highlighted that a small number of studies have indicated that making art reduces stress. The small scale study by authors Kaimal, Ray and Muniz is published in Art Therapy Volume 33 and is the first to investigate the effects of visual self-expression on stress levels in healthy adults.

New research – education and skills development

The British Academy aims to articulate the skills that are inherent to the study of arts, humanities and social sciences, their value to the individual, and their current and future contribution to society.

Arts Council of Wales’ Creative Learning Through the Arts: an Action Plan for Wales First Year Report: Academic year 2015/16 reports on the progress of the £20 million education programme.

The Cockpit Effect Report, an evaluation of Cockpit Arts’ business incubator, shows that participating makers’ average turnover rose by 14% from 2013/14 to 2014/15 and at £58,099 for 2014/15 is nearly double that reported in 2010.

New research – economy

The London Assembly Regeneration Committee says the London Mayor must ensure that new policies in the London Plan help provide affordable cultural workspace in every new large development. It recommends piloting a Creative Enterprise Zone with co-located affordable housing and workspace as soon as possible.

Money Matters: The Economic Value of Museums, a report from the Network of European Museum Organisations, provides perspectives and examples from the European cultural and economic sector on value measurement, profitability, partnerships and cooperation, financial strategies and business models, and the various spill-over effects.

The Tech Nation 2017 report highlights digital innovation across the UK. And the Government’s new Digital Strategy sets out how it will support innovation, including providing support for the development of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence technologies in higher education.