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Project Conference – Craft Economies: Inequalities, Opportunities and Interventions

Birmingham City University, 4th December 2019, 9am-5pm

Register here on Eventbrite

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’. 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 and the associated values of ‘hipster culture’. Yet the craft sector, much like the wider creative economy, is dominated by the relatively privileged. 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.

In this conference we will explore the current state of the craft economy with an emphasis on the experiences and voices of makers around the world. We seek to address the following questions:

  • How do makers negotiate the contemporary craft economy?
  • What challenges do makers face, particularly those from marginalised communities?
  • How can the craft economy be more open and equitable?
  • What does the future of the craft economy look like?

During the conference Crafts Council UK will also offer free Maker Surgeries, offering free one-to-one advice for makers. Book a slot with them here.

Provisional programme (subject to change)

9.00-9.30 Registration, tea and coffee

9.30-9.45 Welcome

9.50-10.35 Keynote: Deirdre Figueiredo, Craftspace Birmingham

10.35-10.45 Short break

10.45-12.00 Panel 1: Craft and the Community

12.00-12.45 Lunch

12.45-2.00 Panel 2: Global Craft

2.00-3.15 Panel 3: Craft and Sustainability

3.15-3.30 Tea and coffee break

3.30-4.45 Roundtable discussion: Diversity in craft and the creative industries with Karen Patel (Birmingham City University), Lorna Hamilton Brown and Jeanette Sloan (BIPOC in Fiber) and Majeda Clarke. Chaired by Rajinder Dudrah (Birmingham City University).

4.45-5.00 Closing remarks

5.00-6.00 Drinks reception at Digbeth Works, 79A Digbeth, B5 6DY (1 minute walk from STEAMHouse)

Register here on Eventbrite