For Soundings journal I have written a blog post about the current conjuncture – where the impacts of COVID-19 are disproportionately affecting people of colour and working class people in the UK, and we’ve seen the increased attention on the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd was killed in police custody in Minneapolis earlier this year. I wrote about this conjuncture in relation to craft, inequalities in the sector and the wider creative industries. extract is below, read the full blog post here.
“After the UK embarked on lockdown in mid-March, craft and creative organisations had to quickly adjust to the new normal. Crafts Council UK and Craft Scotland gathered sources of help for makers that included guidance on financial help available, tips for livestreaming craft and advocating for adequate financial help for makers at all levels. Arts Council England also announced emergency funds for arts organisations and individuals. During a very worrying time, professional makers have been trying to adapt to the new climate, but at the same time craft has never been more popular as a means to pass the time, with TV shows such the BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee being moved to a primetime TV slot and attracting around 5 million viewers. Many makers have also been turning their skills to making scrubs for health and care workers, or making and selling novelty cloth masks on Etsy. In Australia, the social studio in Melbourne has managed to save the jobs of all its employees by switching to sewing scrubs for health workers. While many are rightly worried about the future of the cultural industries post-pandemic, in some areas craft seems to have found a role in the current crisis. But in thinking about all these changes, and what they mean for the future of the professional craft sector, there is an urgent need to address the deep inequalities that exist within it….