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  • Detail of work by Crafts Council Maker Lois Walpole

Research and Policy Brief November 2018

This month –

Supporting diversity in craft practice

Karen Patel, our partnership researcher at Birmingham City University, blogs about the challenges of using social media for diverse makers, following her second workshop.

Further research findings

In its latest policy report, Towards a Twenty-First Century Education System, the Edge Foundation calls for dramatic changes to the current national curriculum and argues that creativity should be at the heart of all learning.

Creativity and the Future of Skills is the first piece of research from the Policy and Evidence Centre funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council Clusters Programme. Findings show that creativity is not confined to the list of creative occupations compiled by government and that there is a need for education and skills policymakers to look beyond sector boundaries when formulating policies to invest in workforce creativity. It highlights, for example, that craft occupations closely resemble the technical skill requirements of manufacturing occupations, such as the footwear and leather working trades.

The research uses job adverts to demonstrate the importance of creativity to jobs that are predicted to grow. It acknowledges that coverage in the research of some occupations (including craft) is imperfect as the majority of workers are freelancers or sole traders and therefore there are fewer online adverts for these jobs.

Arts and culture in health and wellbeing and in the criminal justice system: a summary of evidence is an Arts Council England snapshot of key findings in relevant research in both fields. The report highlights the positive impact of the arts upon mental health and how participation in the arts and culture can presage or strengthen wider engagement in learning, employment and other positive activities.

The Civil Society Futures commission has now reported, using some strong graphics, accessible findings and good challenges, in the context of the PACT model to shift power, bridge divides and transform society–

  • Power: shifting power
  • Accountability: holding ourselves accountable first and foremost to the communities and people we exist to serve
  • Connection: broadening and deepening our connections with people and communities
  • Trust: devoting the time and resources necessary to building trust.

Government announcements

The Government has appointed a new Creative Industries Trade and Investment Board that will aim to increase creative industries’ exports by 50 per cent by 2023. A further £1 million of government funding is to promote the ‘best of British’ creativity abroad. Rosy Greenlees, Crafts Council Executive Director, has been appointed to the board. The Crafts Council’s Supporting makers to export: survey findings 2018 shows that 32% of respondents’ sales are now from international work, compared to 25% of makers surveyed last year. This is one of a number of ways in which the Crafts Council supports makers to export.

The Government is to create a National Academy to champion social prescribing, build the research base, and set out the benefits of social prescribing from the arts to physical exercise to nutritional advice and community classes.

PhD opportunities

  1. AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship with the Open University, Oxford and Cambridge Universities and the Crafts Council in craft and the inclusive economy

The Crafts Council is delighted to be partnering in new research. We’re advertising a funded PhD to research into the ways in which craft businesses can contribute to debates around enterprise, regional development and local economic growth while also supporting practices that encourage social and ecological wellbeing.

The closing date for applications is 11 January 2019 and the student would start in autumn 2019. See the full details, including who to contact for more information.

  1. AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) in the Westminster School of Arts and European Ceramic Workcentre, Netherlands in the use of clay

This practice-based research would focus on the use of clay, but the knowledge produced would have relevance and application across a much wider context and understanding of craft.

It is a pressing issue to understand and theorise how craft and material specialisms operate and innovate within the new terrain of radical change in craft and material-specific education over the past 10 years.  The research will focus on craft as a methodology, a shift from viewing craft as an object or end-point, to understanding craft as a process and disciplined approach.

The closing date for applications is 3 January 2019 and the student would start in autumn 2019. See the full details, including who to contact for more information.

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