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Backing the Education Manifesto for Craft and Making

Jan 27, 2015

by Sarah Hewett

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

On 10th November 2014 we were delighted to report the release of the latest Crafts Council policy paper. After much anticipation from all of us in the craft world, ‘Our Future is in the Making: An Education Manifesto for Craft and Making’ kicked off a year-long campaign to ‘secure the future of craft education’, giving every child the chance to become a ‘maker of the future’.

They’ve got our vote! As a manifesto partner, it’s time to check in with the Crafts Council to see how they’re getting on and find out what we can all do to help support this important initiative.

The launch took place at the House of Commons, with the help of some famous faces – potter and writer, Edmund de Waal; Shadow Secretary of State for Education, MP Tristram Hunt; and our good friend Kirsty Allsopp …to name but a few! (Here’s Kirsty catching up about craft education with Executive Director of the Crafts Council, Rosy Greenlees).

Kirsty Allsopp and Rosy Greenlees

Sophie Mutevelian

Since the launch, the Crafts Council have been busy! On 27 November, they supported a debate at the House of Lords about arts education. Drawing on Crafts Council research, Baroness Nye said, ‘Craft skills generate over £3 billion for the UK economy and it is exceptionally worrying that GCSE craft courses have fallen by a quarter and higher education courses by a half.’

The significant contribution of craft to the UK economy is clear and the manifesto champions this, stating that ‘craft skills lead to diverse careers’ and ‘craft and making are vital to our society, culture and economy’. For us, this is continually demonstrated by our inspiring community of sellers, pro-actively using their making skills to grow successful creative businesses on Etsy.

The Crafts Council are now working with over 25 partner organisations (including Etsy!) to spread the word and set up education activities to support the manifesto. You can download the full document here, but here’s a quick reminder of ‘5 Calls for change’ we’d love you to think about:

  • Put craft and making at the heart of education. Offer opportunities to make throughout education. Revitalise learning with hands-on experience and stimulate take-up of GCSEs in art, craft, design and technology.
  • Build more routes into craft careers. Make visible the diverse career opportunities available through craft education. Create equality of access to training through apprenticeships.
  • Bring craft enterprise into education. Promote enterprise at every stage of learning. Make more opportunities for craft businesses and educators to work together.
  • Invest in skills throughout careers. Invest in teachers’ training in craft skills. Create more opportunities for makers to develop their skills throughout their careers.
  • Promote world-class higher education and research in craft. Support the UK’s internationally renowned higher education craft courses. Invest in cutting-edge artistic and scientific research in craft and making.

As a maker, you can support the manifesto by:

Inspired to sell what you make and open an Etsy shop? Get started with 20 free listings! Enter the code: CRAFTSCOUNCIL at: etsy.me/13D2NFo (new sellers only).

6 comments

  • LizzieCollcutt
  • catherinewells50

    Catherine Wells from ArtsaFlutter said 4 years ago

    Somehow Art and Craft seems to have slipped down the agenda at schools. When I was at school in the 80's because I wanted to do Art as part of my GCSE's I was forced to take other dumbed down subjects and drop my languages studies. Like I must be not very bright if I was artistic and creative I have always had a strong creative streak but have got many academic qualifications as an adult also. Shame they did'nt appreciate it at the time, things need to change to value all talents equally.

  • Taylorsworld85

    Taylor from TaylorsworldHandmade said 4 years ago

    Really interesting - building more career routes for crafters is definitely long over due!

  • sjegan

    Sarah-Jane Egan from FragmentDesignsEtsy said 4 years ago

    We need stuff like this! I would have loved to go to art school but I had to do something that would get me a job like science and then woohoo I became a jeweler :) More people need to know they can make a living doing what they love!

  • SoapDragon

    Amanda from SoapDragon said 4 years ago

    Speaking as an Occupational Therapist and a Soapmaker I can definitely say that crafting has an important place in education. Occupational Therapy models have demonstrated time and again the importance of meaningful activity in developing well rounded human beings, and for many people meaningful activity is crafting in one form or another. Children in particular need to be able to discover what it is that moves them and how to express that. Crafting can be healing, inspirational, individual and community building and should be celebrated and promoted!

  • lucismeaninglight

    Lucia from CraftIsKarma said 4 years ago

    Like so many people I was led to believe that it was nigh-on impossible to make a living from art and design, which then led to years of compromising instead of focussing and developing practical skills. Craft brings so much well being, self efficacy and agency, it's vital for our environment, our economy and our health that we embrace and support it whole heartedly and without apology!

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