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Forthcoming online events

Since the first COVID-19 lockdown we have been running a series of free online events on Zoom. Here you can find out what event we have coming up. Click here to re-watch the recordings for some of the previous events.

 

Coming up

 

Derek Hunt in Conversation – Wednesday 13 March 2024, 7pm

Derek Hunt in ConversationDerek Hunt’s career as a professional stained glass artist spans almost 40 years. Beyond his newly commissioned work and conservation projects, Derek serves as an educator in traditional glass painting, sharing his knowledge of painting through teaching Master Classes at his studio in Leicestershire and at the Ely Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral. He has also established a prominent online presence, hosting online courses and a YouTube channel dedicated to stained glass, featuring tutorials, inspirational content, and interviews with international glass artists.

 

Click here to watch the recordings of previous online events

UK to ratify 2003 UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage

Historic decision lauded by Heritage Crafts, the UK charity for traditional crafts, which has been a UNESCO-accredited NGO for Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2017 and been advocating for UK ratification with others since 2010.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has today announced that United Kingdom is set to ratify the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, bringing it in line with the 182 other UNESCO Member States already ratified, and opening the way to greater international cooperation on the importance of the UK’s knowledge, skills and practices as part of our living heritage.

Sarah ReadyAdoption of the Convention will open the way to increased monitoring of the UK’s intangible cultural heritage, including practices that have come here through migrant and diaspora communities, and better safeguarding of the most at-risk examples.

Traditional craftsmanship is one of five domains of intangible cultural heritage recognised by UNESCO, alongside oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe. Heritage Crafts has already been monitoring and safeguarding the traditional craftsmanship domain since 2017 through its influential Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research report to rank craft skills by their likelihood of survival in the UK and its Endangered Crafts Fund, which has provided 66 grants to improve the chance of survival of the most at-risk examples.

The Government has today launched a public consultation to “inform UK’s approach to creating a new register for traditions valued by communities up and down the country”, through which “[c]ommunities across the UK will be able to nominate their most cherished local traditions to be included in a new register of cultural heritage in the UK.” The consultation runs until the end of February.

Cultured WaistThere will be no single government or organisation responsible for implementation across the UK, so open dialogue and discussion to ensure a diversity of voices and views will be fundamental. This is in line with the underlying principles of the Convention that implementation is community based, inclusive and respectful, open and engaged.

The process for adding items to the Inventory will be to call for items to be submitted by communities, groups or individuals. Subject to a light-touch approvals process, the new entries will be announced on a regular basis – probably quarterly. DCMS will look to engage and provide support for those who wish to submit items.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Arts and Heritage Minister, said:

“The UK is rich in traditions which are passed down from generation to generation. These crafts, customs, and celebrations have helped to shape our communities and bring people together, who continue to shape them in turn. By ratifying this Convention, we will be able to celebrate treasured traditions from every corner of the UK, support the people who practise them, and ensure they are passed down for future generations to enjoy.”

Daniel Carpenter, Executive Director of Heritage Crafts, said:

“Following 14 years of advocating for the ratification of the 2003 Convention, this is a historic day for the United Kingdom. Ratification will help ensure that knowledge, skills and practices integral to the UK’s ever-evolving national identity will be properly valued and safeguarded, and we will be able to join the rest of the world in sharing good practices on how to achieve this. The work now begins to ensure that the full diversity of intangible cultural heritage in the UK is represented.”

DCMS announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/oh-no-it-isnt-panto-set-to-be-formally-recognised-as-uk-joins-unesco-convention

DCMS consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/2003-unesco-convention-for-the-safeguarding-of-the-intangible-cultural-heritage

Summary of consultation questions (for reference only): https://heritagecrafts.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/DCMS-ICH-consultation-questions-for-reference.pdf

Heritage Crafts’ reponse to the consultation: https://heritagecrafts.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/DCMS-ICH-consultation-response-by-Heritage-Crafts.pdf

Online consultation workshops: 

Heritage Crafts and The Royal Mint launch new precious metal bursaries

The Royal MintThe Royal Mint and Heritage Crafts have announced four new bursaries for precious metal workers to preserve and champion traditional British craftsmanship skills, following the success of last year’s bursaries.

The four successful applicants of the 2024 bursary scheme will benefit from up to £4,000 in funding each, as well as one-to-one support from the staff at Heritage Crafts.

Silver box making by 2023 bursary recipient Iona Hall

Silver box making by 2023 recipient Iona Hall

The new bursaries follow five previous bursaries awarded in 2023 to early-career practitioners of precious metal crafts. In August the successful recipients visited The Royal Mint’s manufacturing base in South Wales for a special tour and to meet key craftspeople. Last year’s bursary recipients included Iona Hall, who has been training in silver box making with renowned silversmith Ray Walton. The others were silver spinners Claire Mooney and Caius Bearder, silversmith Emma-Jane Rule, and jewellery maker Rosie Elwood.

The UK has an incredible range of heritage craft skills, from basketmaking and boatbuilding to musical instrument making and stained glass, along with some of the finest craftspeople in the world. But many of these skills are in the hands of individuals who have been unable to pass them on, often due to limited training opportunities and the increasing burdens put upon small businesses, leaving a number of traditional British crafts under threat.

Silver box making by 2023 bursary recipient Iona Hall

Silver box making by 2023 recipient Iona Hall

The 2023 edition of the Red List of Endangered Crafts produced by Heritage Crafts showed that 62 crafts were classified as critically endangered and a further 84 as endangered. But it’s not all bad news; some crafts, such as gilding, have seen a resurgence thanks to support from Heritage Crafts and a heightened appreciation of the handmade among the general public.

The Royal Mint’s expertise in precious metals spans over a thousand years. Known as the home of precious metals, The Royal Mint offers products including gold, silver and platinum commemorative coins, bars for investment, and a digital gold saving option, backed by metal held in their vault. Last year they announced plans to build a factory to recover precious metals from electronic waste. Recovered precious metal is being used to create beautiful jewellery pieces in their latest business venture, 886 by The Royal Mint.

Anne Jessopp, CEO of The Royal Mint, said:

“The Royal Mint is an exemplar of British craftsmanship, and we believe we have a duty to promote, protect and celebrate British craftsmanship, which is why I am extremely proud to support a second year of precious metal bursaries in partnership with Heritage Crafts. Following the success of the inaugural bursaries, it’s been positive to see the successes of the winners and we’re delighted we could support their careers development both financially but also by learning from our master craftspeople here at The Royal Mint. I look forward to seeing what this year’s applicants plan to do with the new bursaries and what precious metals skills will be utilised.”

Iona Hall, one of the 2023 bursary recipients, said:

“I am so grateful for this bursary, which has helped my practice so much. Having my work seen and appreciated by organisations like Heritage Crafts and the Royal Mint made me feel so much more confident in my work and gave me a new drive. My skills have come leaps and bounds after undertaking my training, and my trainer has said that can see me improving and growing confidence. I have thoroughly enjoyed every part and I am so thankful you believed in my silver boxes!”

Jay Blades, Co-Chair of Heritage Crafts, said:

“We are delighted to launch the second year of bursaries in partnership with The Royal Mint. Their passion for the preservation of British craftsmanship aligns so well with our mission to safeguard these skills for the next generation. Based on the success of last year, we know that these bursaries will provide unique opportunities to precious metals craftspeople that would not previously have been possible.”

This is a part of an ongoing partnership between Heritage Crafts and The Royal Mint that also saw the presentation of the first ever Precious Metalworker of the Year Award in November, to watch dial enameller Sally Morrison from Glasgow, during a special reception at the College of St George, Windsor Castle, and featuring a trophy specially made by The Royal Mint team. In addition, the two organisations hosted a symposium of precious metal practitioners from across the UK at Somerset House in July 2023 to identify the issues facing the sector and what might be done to relieve them.

Click here for more information on how to apply for the bursaries (deadline 23 February 2024)

Heritage Crafts and the Costume Society launch new partnership

The Costume SocietyHeritage Crafts and the Costume Society have joined forces to launch two training bursaries to ensure that new and early-career fashion textile makers have the skills they need to succeed.

Many people are dissuaded from training in the hand skills of fashion textiles because of the cost, and therefore the make-up of the sector is not truly representative of the UK as a whole. This bursary has been set up to help cover or subsidise the training of someone who would otherwise be prevented from pursuing this career path as a result of the cost.

©Leeds Museums and Galleries; photograph by Sara PorterThey could be just starting out on your journey in fashion textiles, or at the point where they want to turn a hobby into a career, or they could already be a maker or designer who is looking to further develop their hand skills.

Fashion textile crafts can include, but are not limited to, dressmaking, tailoring, pattern cutting, hat making, millinery, glovemaking, fabric pleating, corset making, etc. Applications for training that prioritises the acquisition of practical hand skills will be favoured over training that is predominantly theoretical or design-oriented.

If you are new to the craft and you would like assistance with finding a trainer, please get in touch and we will do what we can to help. The two successful applicants will benefit from up to £4,000 in funding each, and be supported by the Heritage Crafts team to help them achieve their aims. For more information on how to apply for the bursaries (deadline 23 February 2024) visit https://heritagecrafts.org.uk/fashion-textile-bursaries/.

The Costume Society is a UK membership organisation formed in 1964 to promote the study and preservation of historic and contemporary dress. Its new partnership with Heritage Crafts will also see a brand-new Fashion Textile Maker of the Year Award launched this summer, with a £2,000 prize and a trophy to be presented at a special Winners’ Reception in November.

The fashion textiles bursaries announced today sit alongside others in precious metal skills (supported by The Royal Mint) and musical instrument making (supported by the Golsoncott Foundation and Jennifer Chen). Additional bursaries for other crafts will open in May.

Prof Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, Vice Chair of the Costume Society, said:

“The Costume Society is delighted to be launching two new training bursaries and a new Fashion Textile Maker of the Year Award in collaboration with Heritage Crafts to mark our 60th anniversary year. The bursaries and award extend the Costume Society’s mission to support the study and promotion of historic and contemporary dress by enhancing and protecting the skills of makers that are so central to fashion textiles. These opportunities are made possible by a legacy from founder member Anne Thomas, who worked tirelessly to celebrate excellence in makers and making.”

Jay Blades MBE, Co-Chair of Heritage Crafts, said:

“At Heritage Crafts we believe that great design is rooted in hand skill, so that designers can fully understand the properties and behaviours of materials, and appreciate the labour and skill involved in using them to produce garments and accessories. We are delighted to be working with the Costume Society to bring fashion textile skills to talented individuals who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to develop them.”

Photo: © Leeds Museums and Galleries; photograph by Sara Porter.

Training bursaries for crafts involving precious metals

Deadline: 5pm on Friday 23 February 2024

The Royal MintThis training bursary is targeted at trainees and prospective trainees of crafts involving precious metals who are experiencing financial hardship. It is sponsored by The Royal Mint and is one of a suite of awards and bursaries offered by Heritage Crafts to support and celebrate heritage craftspeople.

Apply for up to £4,000 to start training in a precious metal craft or to further develop your skills.


 

Emma Jane-RuleMany people are dissuaded from training in precious metal heritage crafts because of the cost, and therefore the make-up of the sector is not truly representative of the mix of backgrounds that make up the UK as a whole. This bursary has been set up to help cover or subsidise the cost of training for someone who would otherwise be prevented from pursuing this career path as a result of the cost.

You could be just starting out on your journey in precious metal crafts or at the point where you want to turn a hobby into a career, or you could already be a maker who is looking to further develop your precious metal craft skills.

Precious metals crafts are those which feature precious metal as a primary material. They can include but are not limited to jewellery making, silversmithing, coppersmithing, gilding, hand engraving, medal making, silver spinning, metal thread embroidery, engine turning (guilloché), concert flute making.

If you are new to a craft and are struggling to find the right training for you, after your own research, please get in touch and we may be able to support. Successful applicants will be supported by the Heritage Crafts team to develop an action plan. We will work with you to monitor progress and support you to achieve your aims.

 

What can this grant be used for?

There are a number of routes to learning a craft skill. Applicants can apply for a grant for any amount up to £4,000 which can cover or contribute towards:

  • the costs of training with a craftsperson;
  • the costs of attending a specialist training course;
  • the costs of attending an accredited training course;
  • undertaking a self-directed programme of training with one or more craftspeople;
  • the cost of specialist tools or materials, books or study materials or low cost travel (no more than 25% of total budget).

The bursary cannot be used for general living expenses, research, promotional activities or anything else. Successful applicants will be supported by the Heritage Crafts team. We will work with to you monitor progress and support you to achieve your aims.

 

How to apply

Please apply by filling out the form below. We will also accept a video application of no more than 15 minutes in length in which you address all of the questions in the form below. You can access a list of questions here.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 23 February 2024. If you have any questions or need assistance with the application process, please email Tess Osman at tess@heritagecrafts.org.uk.

Assessment, shortlisting and final selection will be carried out by the Heritage Crafts judging team, and interviews will be carried out by Zoom. If you are new to a craft and you would like assistance with finding a trainer, please get in touch and we will do what we can to help.