Craft Expertise, or ‘Supporting diversity and expertise development in the contemporary craft economy’ was an AHRC funded UKRI/RCUK Innovation Fellowship led by Dr Karen Patel of Birmingham City University, in collaboration with Crafts Council.
This was a two-phase project which began in March 2019 and ended in July 2023. It involved a series of research and public engagement activities which raised awareness of inequalities in the contemporary UK craft economy. The project highlighted the various challenges faced by women of colour in the sector including racism and microaggressions in craft spaces, the challenges presented by social media, and issues with gaining recognition as expert makers. The work has informed Crafts Council’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, as explained by their staff in this video from the project’s final reflection event.
Phase one ran from March 2019-June 2021. Activities included:
- Interviews with makers of colour from around the UK
- A conference on diversity in craft held in Birmingham in December 2019
- The Maker Stories podcast series
- An online collaborative ‘STEAM Sprint’ workshop series which aimed to generate ideas for addressing inequalities in craft.
- The Making Changes in Craft report
Phase two commenced in July 2021 and ended in June 2023. Activities in the second phase included:
- Interviews with makers involved in craft social enterprise
- Research with craft organisations in Australia
- A toolkit for inclusive practice in craft organisations
- A final reflection event held in March 2023
- Another podcast series, Craft Expertise: The View from Australia.
This project was supported by: