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  • Space Drinking Vessels (Gravity Works Set) [Detail], Crafts Council Directory Maker Amanda J Simmons

Policy Brief June 2017

This month we report on:

New appointments

Following the general election, the main parties’ relevant Secretaries of State and Shadow Secretaries of State stay the same, but change for the Liberal Democrats:

  Culture, Media and Sport Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Education
Government (Conservative) Karen Bradley
MP for Staffordshire Moorlands
Greg Clark
MP for Tunbridge Wells
Justine Greening
MP for Putney
Opposition Shadow
Tom Watson
MP for West Bromwich East
Rebecca Long-Bailey
MP for Salford and Eccles
Angela Rayner
MP for Ashton-under-Lyne
Liberal Democrats front bench Christine Jardine
MP for Edinburgh West 
Lord Chris Fox Layla Moran
MP for Oxford West and Abingdon


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has appointed a Cultural Leadership Board to guide his vision for culture in the capital. The chair is Ben Evans, Director of London Design Festival and Executive Director of the London Design Biennale.


The UK’s creative industries employ high numbers of European workers who cannot be replaced by British staff, according to a Creative Industries Federation survey. Nearly three-quarters of respondents believed restricting immigration will limit their capacity to do business.

Vision for Scotland

Craft professionals in Scotland are co-creating a vision for craft in Scotland for the next ten years, following an event promoted by the Craft Curators’ Network and funded by Creative Scotland. The intention is to develop a manifesto for Craft in Scotland.

Research on cultural diversity and democracy

The Council of Europe has adopted the conclusions of a report recognising that international cultural relations can only develop by encouraging cultural diversity within the EU. They call for consistency and coherence of effort across states.

A new report by King's College London calls for the arts and creative industries to take ‘everyday’ creativity and culture seriously. Towards cultural democracy: promoting cultural capabilities for everyone is an investigation into the UK’s cultural ecology that sheds light on the explosion of cultural creativity that could be happening if the arts, creative industries and everyday creativity were better connected. The report calls for a more inclusive approach to building the pathways and partnerships that enable creativity.

Research on the economy and enterprise

Students in Creative Arts and Design earn less than students in any other subject after leaving university, according to figures from the Department for Education. At the five-year mark, half of creative graduates were earning between £18,000 and £22,000, though salaries ranged from a low of £10k to a high of £28k. The findings may result from the difficulty in reflecting clearly self-employment (typical of the crafts sector) in Higher Education Statistics Service data, an issue to which the Crafts Council has drawn attention.

Self-Organising Self-Employed: Empowering grassroots collaboration in the new economy, a new report from the RSA and Federation of Small Businesses, calls for a movement of mass self-organising among the self-employed. Drawing on case studies of cash-pooling schemes, micro finance initiatives, sick pay funds and time share agreements, the report explores the opportunities and challenges of an approach which may have useful lessons for makers.

New DCMS figures on Gross Value Added (GVA) by type of industry reveal that GVA for the ‘manufacture of jewellery and related articles’ has increased by 40% increase in 5 years. The biggest increases are in the north east and south east (see line 41 on the data tab). Following representations from the Crafts Council and others, DCMS started measuring industry outputs, but solely for this discipline. In our report, Measuring the Craft Economy, we set out a fuller range of measurements we still seek to see represented in national statistics.

Mapping the Creative Value Chains, a study for the European Commission, looks at the impact of the digital revolution on the different creative value chains, including craft. The findings confirm that collaborations between cultural actors and non-cultural actors are common but suggest that craft shows lower levels of openness to and integration with value chains in other sectors. However, the Crafts Council’s report Innovation through Craft: Opportunities for growth, presents some successful examples and illustrates that where this is not the case, there are barriers to collaboration which we are recommending are addressed in the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

As part of our collaborative project with King’s College London on how craft students in higher education learn the professional and entrepreneurial skills they need to continue their creative practice once out of education, Lauren England publishes a third blog about her research. Here Lauren focuses on the different influences shaping graduates’ perceptions of their own practice and understanding of business.

Camden Council, in partnership with the Knowledge Quarter, has launched its STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) Commission findings. The report sets out a specific menu of actions to ensure a future pipeline of local talent.