Creative Apprentice for Craftspace Sarah tells ThisIsIt! of her experience at the ‘Our Future is in the Making’ talk by Crafts Council and gives her thoughts on the future of craft. If you’re interested in writing for ThisIsIt! drop Izzy an email to get involved.
on the 16th April 2015 around 20 teachers, makers and visual art company representatives sat down to talk about the elephant in the room. Cuts to crafts.
Despite getting an achievement for ‘Most improved student in woodwork’, when the time came for me to choose my options I headed straight for textiles. Needless to say that didn’t go too well and I probably should’ve stuck to the day job. However, my enthusiasm to take up textiles stemmed from the annual trip the students went on to the clothes show live. Unfortunately for me that option due to cuts was no longer available. To 13 year old me I wasn’t worried too much, but on the 16th April 2015 around 20 teachers, makers and visual art company representatives sat down to talk about the elephant in the room. Cuts to crafts.
We were given a guided tour of Will Shannon’s exhibition ‘The Closet Craftsman‘ by the director of Craftspace Deirdre Figueiredo. Then with teas in hands we all sat down to hear from John McMahon, Head of Learning & Talent Development at the Crafts Council .
McMahon started out with some shocking facts. The take up of crafts at GCSE level has dropped by 25% despite craft contributing over 3.4bn to the UK economy. Additionally it was pointed out that I am possibly the only crafts administrative apprentice in the UK.
” Education Is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”
– Malcolm X
During the Q and A session university lectures commented on arts courses such as ceramics being taken off the offered course list. Teachers testified to pottery furnaces being locked away and specialist equipment being sold off. I began to see the bigger picture and the danger behind the statistics. These cuts would mean that children would no longer be taught craftsmanship, knowledge of the crafts world and its variety of career paths. Consequently, there may be a time when the new generation can no longer contribute to this discipline leaving crafts economical value as well as the numbers of makers at a slow decline.
the crafts council has put forward a manifesto. In which it pits problems against solutions and calls for the government to bring crafts back into schools.
Question: So how do we move forward? Well the crafts council has put forward a manifesto. In which it pits problems against solutions and calls for the government to bring crafts back into schools. There has also been a rise in programmes such as cannon hill arts school to allow people of all ages and experience to explore their disciplines within the visual arts world.
In the wake of the General Elections, it will be really interesting to see if any party acknowledges the drought of financial funding in the arts sector and truly understands that the Future is in Making.
Additionally, as a part of my apprenticeship I have been researching information for Craftspace itself to hold a programme that gives young people the skills of craft and the consciousness of social justice (more information soon) .
So now all we do is wait. In the wake of the General Elections, it will be really interesting to see if any party acknowledges the drought of financial funding in the arts sector and truly understands that the Future is in Making.
You can find out more about Crafts Council HERE and download their Manifesto below.
Find out more about Sarah’s work through her blog page HERE
Sarah Lopez is a west midlands based artist. With a history of performance and visual work she is now undertaking a creative apprentice scheme with the crafts company Craftspace. While there she will work on a youth engagement program that will look at how crafts can be a medium of change within social justice.