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Call for Contributions: Craft Economies – Inequalities, Opportunities and Interventions

Wednesday 4th December 2019, STEAMHouse, Birmingham

Craft in the creative economy has seen significant growth in the past ten years, in what is perceived to be a ‘return to artisanal employment’ (Nesta, 2017). It has been argued that this growth is driven partly by the proliferation of online sites such as Etsy, as well as the increased popularity of authentic, handmade products (Luckman, 2015) and the associated values of ‘hipster culture’ (Harris, 2018). Yet the craft sector, much like the wider creative economy, is dominated by the relatively privileged. UK figures indicate that those working in full-time occupations in craft are mostly white and male (Spilsbury, 2018) with women makers mostly working on their practice part-time and/or self-employed. Despite social media and websites providing seemingly accessible ways for makers to sell their work, opportunities to make a career out of craft are not equal, mirroring similar issues around inequality and access in the wider creative industries (Patel, 2019).

In this conference, we seek to explore the current state of the craft economy, with an emphasis on the experiences and voices of makers around the world. How do makers negotiate the contemporary craft economy? What challenges do they face? What does the future of the craft economy look like? This conference invites contributions from academics, makers and postgraduate students which centre on the craft economy and the nature of craft practice. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Diversity and inequality in craft
  • Expertise in craft
  • Experiences of craft practitioners
  • Online craft marketplaces and practices
  • Craft entrepreneurship
  • Craft and cultural policy
  • Craft and ‘hipster’ culture
  • Makerspaces and co-working
  • Craft and health/wellbeing
  • Craft futures

The call for abstracts has now closed. Registration details will follow soon.

The conference is part of an AHRC funded project, ‘Craft Expertise’ in collaboration with Crafts Council UK. The project explores diversity and expertise development in the contemporary craft economy.

This conference will be free to attend and refreshments/lunch will be provided.