Craft Uprising! – The Heritage Crafts Association Conference 2020

Craft Uprising! – The Heritage Crafts Association Conference 2020

When: Saturday 4 April 2020, 10am registration to 4.30pm
Where: Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s, Oxford OX1 1BX

Patrick Grant

At a time when populism has pushed mainstream politics to the extremes and climate change has reached a critical tipping point, craft is occupying an increasingly crucial role – to engage with those we disagree with or to take refuge within our communities of interest, to reflect the counter-cultures happening around us or to become that vital act of rebellion.

The theme of the 2020 Heritage Crafts Association Conference is Craft Uprising. The keynote speakers will be Patrick Grant (Great British Sewing Bee) talking about disrupting the fast-fashion industry with his social enterprise Community Clothing and Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective talking about the role of craft in change-making.

As well as the main programme of speakers you will also have the opportunity to print your own rebellious messages with Nick Hand‘s letterpress bicycle, bring your craft items for a pop-up gallery on the theme of ‘Powerful Objects’, and network with other makers from around the UK.

 

Programme

  • Sarah CorbettPatrick Grant, Community Clothing and BBC1 The Great British Sewing Bee – Living Localism: how bringing fashion and clothing back to the local community level is key to a sustainable and happy future
  • Sarah Corbett, The Craftivist CollectiveHow to be a craftivist in the art of gentle protest
  • Q&A session – featuring Patrick Grant, Sarah Corbett, Carry Somers (Fashion Revolution) and Dr Rachel Dickinson (Ruskin’s Guild of St George)
  • Exclusive screening of three short films featuring endangered crafts practitioners
  • Celebration of Excellence – National Honours and Heritage Crafts Awards
  • Heritage Crafts Association Annual General Meeting
  • Supporting Endangered Crafts

Tickets cost £28 for HCA members and £38 for non-members, with discounts if you become a member at the time of purchase, bring a friend or are a student. In addition, 20 bursary places have been made available to those who would otherwise struggle to attend – for availability please email mary@heritagecrafts.org.uk.

 

Pop-up exhibition – Powerful Objects

In a gentle way you can shake the worldWe will be holding a pop-up exhibition of members and attendees work entitled ‘Powerful Objects’. This theme can be interpreted in many ways, from craft objects that have an overtly powerful message to those whose meaning resonates on a much more personal level (not forgetting that the personal is invariably political in its own way). They can be powerful purely as a result of the journey you have been on to learn the skills and put them into practice. Meanings can be made explicit or remain the maker’s own, open to interpretation.

If you wish to submit an object that you have made, please email events@heritagecrafts.org.uk with a title and 200 word description, and, if selected, we’ll get back to you with the practicalities of how the exhibition will be run.

 

Accessibility

We have a sign language interpreter at this year’s conference. There is also step-free access from street level (click here for more details). If you have any other access needs please let us know.

 

Buy tickets

If you are having trouble using the form below, please click here to book via Eventbrite or contact us.

The Sound of Craft at London Craft Week 2020

The Sound of Craft at London Craft Week 2020

When: Thursday 30 April 2020, midday to 4pm
Where: St Anne and St Agnes Church, Gresham St, London EC2V 7BX

Hosted in the stunning Wren church of St Anne and St Agnes, this event, by the Heritage Crafts Association as part of London Craft Week, will be a celebration of the craft behind some of the most beautiful sounds.

Most handmade musical instrument crafts are now classified as endangered on the Heritage Crafts Association Red List of Endangered Crafts, including flute making, piano making, brass instrument making, percussion instrument making, Northumbrian pipe making, woodwind instrument making and harp making.

This free drop-in event will include both demonstrations of the knowledge and skills behind these heritage crafts, and the music and performance itself.

‘Performing arts’ and ‘traditional craftsmanship’ are two of the five domains recognised by the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Intangible heritage includes the forms of culture that can be recorded but can’t be touched or stored in physical form, including song, music and skills, and can only be experienced through someone giving expression to them.

We still have some places available for demonstrators at this event. If you are interested please email Mary.

Craft skills under threat with 37 additions to the Red List of Endangered Crafts

Craft skills under threat with 37 additions to the Red List of Endangered Crafts

New research by the Heritage Crafts Association has unearthed dozens more traditional craft skills on the verge of extinction in the UK, in the first major update of its pioneering project, the Red List of Endangered Crafts.

Zoe Collis, apprentice papermaker at Two Rivers Paper (photo by Alison Jane Hoare)

Zoe Collis, apprentice paper maker at Two Rivers Paper (photo by Alison Jane Hoare)

Sixteen new crafts have been added to the ‘critically endangered’ category of the Red List, meaning that they are at serious risk of dying out in the next generation, including withy crab pot making, millwrighting and commercial handmade paper making. They join 20 other critically endangered crafts, including five (bell founding, flute making, scissor making, tinsmithing and watch making) that have been reclassified as being at a higher level of risk than when the research was first published in 2017.

Critically endangered crafts include those with very few practitioners, few (if any) trainees and a lack of viable training routes by which the skills can be passed on. Often they serve very niche markets, and craftspeople cannot afford to step away from production to train their successors for fear those markets will disappear.

It’s not all bad news, however, as the craft of sieve and riddle making, which was listed as extinct in 2017, has now been revived by two new makers devoted to bringing it back, both of whom are now beginning commercial production. In addition, the organisation behind the research, the Heritage Crafts Association, has, with funding from The Dulverton Trust, employed an Endangered Crafts Officer to look for practical ways to safeguard these crafts skills, and has set up an Endangered Crafts Fund to provide the means to do so.

Daniel Carpenter, who led the research on behalf of the Heritage Crafts Association, said:

“The Red List of Endangered Crafts is vital in drawing our attention to parts of our shared cultural heritage we are at greatest risk of losing. What we as a society decide to do with that knowledge is up to us, but at the Heritage Crafts Association we believe that the country’s skills and practices can be just as valuable as its historic artefacts and monuments… perhaps even more so as they may offer opportunities for future generations to create their own sustainable and fulfilling livelihoods in ways we cannot yet imagine. If we allow these crafts to disappear then we seriously diminish these opportunities.”

Whilst the UK has been a world-leader in the preservation of tangible heritage (museum collections, buildings and monuments), it has fallen behind the rest of the world when it comes to the safeguarding of intangible heritage (knowledge, skills and practices). It is among only 15 of 193 UNESCO members that has not yet ratified the 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, and government responsibility for heritage crafts falls in the gap between agencies set up to support arts and heritage.

Julie Crawshaw, Director of the Heritage Crafts Association, said:

“In an age of hyper-digitisation these skills can offer a viable alternative workplace and a lifestyle that can bring a sense of accomplishment and increased wellbeing. As examples of tacit knowledge that cannot easily be passed on in written form; they survive only through practice and the transmission of skill from one person to another. The Heritage Crafts Association, which is celebrating its tenth year in 2019, is dedicated to safeguarding heritage crafts skills for the benefit of everyone.”

All 212 entries featured in the Red List of Endangered Crafts 2019 edition are available to view online at http://redlist.heritagecrafts.org.uk.

 

About the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts

 

Steve Overthrow, sieve and riddle maker (photo by Daniel Carpenter)

The 2019 edition of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts was led by Daniel Carpenter, on secondment from his doctoral research on craft heritage at the University of Exeter, and supported by the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. The project runs alongside the work of the Heritage Crafts Association’s Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis, whose post, funded by The Dulverton Trust, has been created to identify and develop interventions to improve the prospects of such crafts.

For the 2019 edition, 212 crafts have been assessed to identify those which are at greatest risk of disappearing. Of the 212 crafts featured in the research, four have been classified as extinct, 36 as critically endangered, 70 as endangered and 102 as currently viable.

Drawing on information such as the current number of craftspeople and trainees, the average age of practitioners, opportunities to learn, and other issues affecting the future of the crafts considered, the research assesses how likely it is that the craft skills will be passed on to the next generation. From armour making and arrowsmithing to wig making and woodturning, each has been assigned to one of four categories: extinct, critically endangered, endangered or currently viable.

Four crafts are known to have become extinct in the UK in the last ten years (cricket ball making, gold beating, lacrosse stick making, and paper mould and deckle making) with one more (sieve and riddle making) brought back from extinction. At the other end of the spectrum, viable crafts are defined as those for which there are sufficient craftspeople to pass on the craft skills to the next generation, though crafts in the currently viable category face real challenges and require continued monitoring.

For the purposes of this research, a heritage craft is defined as “a practice which employs manual dexterity and skill and an understanding of traditional materials, design and techniques, and which has been practised for two or more successive generations.” The research focuses on craft practices which are taking place in the UK today, including crafts which have originated elsewhere.

The 2017 Red List of Endangered Crafts, funded by The Radcliffe Trust and led by Greta Bertram, was the first to rank traditional crafts by the likelihood they would survive the next generation. It brought the plight of these skills to national attention, with coverage across national newspapers and broadcast media including Countryfile, The One Show and Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.

http://redlist.heritagecrafts.org.uk

 

About the Endangered Crafts Fund

 

The Heritage Crafts Association’s Endangered Crafts Fund has been set up to ensure that the most at-risk heritage crafts within the UK are given the support they need to thrive. The Fund will be used to support makers and trainees who wish to develop or share their skills in the crafts that have been identified as being most at risk.

Anyone wishing to donate to the fund may do so securely online via the web link below. Alternatively, please send a cheque made payable to ‘Heritage Crafts Association’ with an accompanying note specifying ‘Endangered Crafts Fund’ to: Heritage Crafts Association, 27 South Road, Oundle, Peterborough PE8 4BU.

www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ecf

 

Browse our Makers Directory

Browse our Makers Directory

Here are just a few of the wonderful items made by some of the highly skilled craftspeople featured in The Makers, our showcase of work by members of the Heritage Crafts Association.  If you are a maker yourself, why not join the HCA and have your own profile on The Makers.Go to The Makers