All of our activities are developmental, providing opportunities for individuals and communities to see, make and learn; enhancing the skills, expertise and knowledge of professional artist makers and community participants alike. We demonstrate how craft brings know-how, material knowledge, skill, inventiveness, tenacity, monetary value and entrepreneurship to a wide number of contexts which contribute positively to economic, social, wellbeing and employment outcomes. Our work recognises the potential for makers to impact on pressing contemporary social and societal concerns, and we deliver programmes where makers can, through their craft, promote social innovation, social justice, and enterprise.
It is increasingly recognised that the strength of the creative industries relies on investment in the raw materials of ideas and talent however investment in risk taking can be hard to find. Fewer young people are choosing to study craft and design-related activities at GCSE level. There are decreasing opportunities for children and young people to gain the benefits of crafts based learning that is based on learning through ‘trial and error’ rather than focused processes or outcomes. The impact of losing this experience of experimentation and material knowledge is recognised across sectors particular architecture, engineering and civil engineering. At a local and regional level makers can impact positively on place identity, provide more sustainable forms of production and consumption.
The UK has an exceptionally high degrees of inequality and this is growing whilst average wellbeing continues to rise the inequalities of wellbeing appear to be widening. How connected we are to others, how able to contribute actively to our communities or how empowered we feel to bring about positive change all impact on our health and wellbeing. The role of participatory opportunities around creative activities is shown to have positive impact on self-reported feeling of well-being self-confidence and sense of empowerment. We see this in action during the projects that we deliver with those most vulnerable to social and economic inequity.
However, public investment in the arts has fallen by just under 30% in the last 5 years, putting the UK behind its European counterparts. This means fewer opportunities for makers to take risks, deepen their knowledge of materials or apply them to new contexts. It also means fewer opportunities for people to access and participate in high quality contemporary cultural experiences.
As a craft development organisation our work pushes the boundaries and perceptions of crafts practice, presentation and learning . We build relationships in the UK and internationally between artists, people and organisations, exploring ideas in craft in diverse social and cultural settings. Our programmes are structured around these core activities: