‘Making Places’ – Drapers’ Hall, Coventry, Saturday 26 March 2022

‘Making Places’ – Drapers’ Hall, Coventry, Saturday 26 March 2022

When: Saturday 26 March 2022, 10am to 4pm (ticketed) / 12pm to 4pm (free)
Where: Drapers’ Hall, Coventry and other local venues

On Saturday 26 March 2022 Heritage Crafts is hosted its annual event Making Places as part of The Making of Coventry, a partnership project with Creative Lives, funded by Coventry City Council as part of Coventry City of Culture.

Drapers' HallSkilled craft and manufacture has shaped our towns, cities and regions over generations, reflected in the buildings, street names and dialects, but often there is a disconnect between this rich heritage and our sense of place and personal identity. What can we do to help reconnect people with their craft heritage and show how the skills of the past are reflected in the making activities of today… and can continue to be a source of productivity, wellbeing and community into the future?

The Grade II listed Drapers’ Hall is one of the few Regency buildings in the city and was built in the 1830s as the headquarters of the Coventry Drapers’ Guild. Working with The Princes’ Foundation as one of seven projects selected to mark the 70th birthday of Heritage Crafts President HRH The Prince of Wales, the Historic Coventry Trust has restored the building as a music and events venue.

project partners


Patrick GrantTicketed event (10am to 4pm)

  • Keynote speakers included Patrick Grant (BBC Great British Sewing Bee, Community Clothing) and Prof Martyn Evans (Director of the Manchester School of Art)
  • Rachel New, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and Creative Lives
  • Jo Sealy, The Black Artisans
  • Panel discussion featured:
    • Dr Ödül Bozkurt, University of Sussex
    • James Noble, MotoFest Coventry
    • Dr Innan Sasaki, University of Warwick
    • Dominic Taylor-Lane, Association of Heritage Engineers
    • Mark Webb, The Prince’s Foundation
  • Craft talks with Theo Wright (weaver) and Julia O’Connell (textile artist) and Laura Nyahuye (adornment maker).
  • Tours of the craft objects at Coventry Cathedral and the Herbert Gallery


Non-ticketed (free) activities (12pm to 4pm)

  • Demonstrations of Coventry crafts old and new, in and around Drapers’ Hall, included:
    • Bicycle making
    • Watch making
    • Gold thread embroidery
    • Heritage engineering
    • Plant dying and slow stitch
    • Leather working
    • Green woodwork
    • Kilt making
    • Ghanaian waist beads
  • Craft Cinema
  • Repair Café (from 1pm)
  • Goldwork embroidery workshop for adults
  • Stick weaving workshop for kids
Beyond Preservation – endangered ceramic skills symposium

Beyond Preservation – endangered ceramic skills symposium

This symposium is organised by the Heritage Crafts Association and Ceramic Cultures, Practices and Debates Research Group at Staffordshire University. It is funded by The Pilgrim Trust and supported by Staffordshire University, Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, and British Ceramics Biennial.

When: Saturday 16 October 2021, 9am to 5pm
Where: Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Bethesda Street, Hanley Stoke-on-Trent ST1 3DW

Speakers (in-person and remote) to include:

  • Dr Neil Brownsword, Professor of Ceramics, Staffordshire University
  • Mary Lewis, Endangered Crafts Manager, Heritage Crafts Association
  • Emily Johnson, Founder and Director of 1882
  • Dr Ezra Shales, Professor of Art History, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Professor Xiaoping Yu, Professor, Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute
  • Dr Geoffrey Gowlland, Research Fellow at the Section of Educational Sciences, University of Geneva
  • Dr Laura Breen, Independent arts & museums researcher, Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Vicki McGarvey, doctoral research student, Staffordshire University

Global economics and advances in automation technology have radically transformed the landscape of the UK’s ceramic industry in recent decades. Whilst these transitions have facilitated greater productivity, once commonplace skills associated with ceramic manufacture have now been displaced, threatening the continuation of much traditional knowledge. Should such practices, deemed outmoded or economically unviable for contemporary ceramic production be simply relegated to history or the trails of heritage tourism? What value is there in safeguarding this knowledge for the future? How can traditional practices be revived through new modes of thinking and creativity in a digital age?

This symposium builds upon these questions, and highlights specialist skills at significant risk of being lost from the industry, surveyed through recent research for the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts. Making particular reference to North Staffordshire’s intangible cultural heritage, scholars together with former employees and current representatives from the ceramics industry, will explore a variety of perspectives concerning a re-evaluation of the industrial crafts and their revitalisation through contemporary exchange and adaptation.

Although the symposium will be taking place within a cultural event, it will discuss ways to connect with the local community beyond cultural institutions, so that they can develop, engage and participate in ‘their’ intangible heritage. It is hoped that this event will introduce new ways of valuing industrial ceramics skills that are not influenced by the immutable heritage discourse of experts, by facilitating those that were and are still involved in the industry to articulate the value of their own heritage.

Findings will feed into a future edition of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts and inform its advocacy work with UK government agencies and funding bodies.

The event is free to attend, and attendees must register via Eventbrite


The Science of Making – part of London Craft Week

The Science of Making – part of London Craft Week

When: Thursday 7 October 2021, 5pm to 7.30pm
Where: Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, London SE16 4LF

This panel event, organised by the Heritage Crafts Association and Dr Rebecca Struthers as part of London Craft Week and sponsored by Smith of Derby and The Watch Club, will explore the invaluable and sometimes surprising links between science and making.

Chaired by trumpet playing, channel swimming, performer, podcaster and materials scientist Dr Anna Ploszajski (author of Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning Through Making), the session will see award-winning scientists, makers, engineers, and educators from a diverse range of disciplines share their journeys of building successful careers in the space between science and craft.

Rebecca Struthers, photo by Andy Pilsbury Anna Ploszajski (credit Steve Cross) Roma Agrawal MBE Alom Shaha

The line-up includes:

  • Dr Anna Ploszajski (above second left) – a trumpet playing, channel swimming, performer, podcaster and materials scientist (author of Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning Through Making)
  • Dr Rebecca Struthers (above left) – a real-life ‘time doctor’, independent watchmaker, author, historian and Sustainable Skills Ambassador for the Association of Heritage Engineers.
  • Roma Agrawal MBE (above second right) – speaker, presenter and structural engineer who has worked on projects from sculptures and footbridges to The Shard (author of Built: The Hidden Stories Behind our Structures and children’s book How Was That Built?).
  • Dr Maria Maclennan (main image above) – Lecturer and Researcher at Edinburgh College of Art, Service Design Manager at Police Scotland, and world’s first ‘Forensic Jeweller’, exploring how jewellery can be used to assist identification and help solve crimes.
  • Alom Shaha (above right) – science teacher, filmmaker and writer who has worked with organisations including BBC Bitesize and The Royal Institution to improve childhood learning through making (author of several books including Mr Shaha’s Marvellous Machines).

After the main session, scientific glassblower Terri Adams (left) of the University of Oxford will be on hand to talk through her endangered and sometimes life-saving craft.

With networking and opportunities to meet the panellists before and after, this event is suitable for all ages, including live streaming with real time question and answer session for those unable to attend in person. Authors Roma Agrawal and Alom Shaha will be available to sign copies of their books after the session.


Tickets are £15 each and are available from the London Craft Week website from 25 August onwards.

The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts at Fortnum & Mason

The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts at Fortnum & Mason

Where: Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER
Displays: 4 to 10 October 2021
Demonstrations: 8 October 2021, 12 to 5pm

We are delighted to be partnering with Fortnum & Mason for a focus on endangered crafts and the HCA Red List throughout London Craft Week. Throughout the week, take in displays of information and photographs at the flagship Piccadilly store, and from midday on Friday 8 October watch demonstrations from endangered craft practitioners such as scissor making, bee skep making and basketwork furniture making.

In attendance is Ernest Wright scissor makers, the winners of the inaugural HCA President’s Award for Endangered Crafts, shortlisted by a panel that included Fortnum & Mason Chair Kate Hobhouse and selected by HCA President HRH The Prince of Wales.

Come along and find out more about endangered crafts and what you can do to help safeguard them.

Symposium on Endangered Baskets

Endangered Baskets Symposium 5 October 2019Where: Museum of English Rural Life, Reading
When: Saturday 5 October 2019, 9am to 5pm

Are you an expert on a heritage basket or regional style of basket that you think may be endangered?

Hosted by the Heritage Crafts Association and the Basketmakers’ Association, the aim of this event was to bring together basket makers and experts from across the UK basket making community to assess the numbers of practitioners making heritage baskets and related crafts.

This will be brought together into a report and action plan to ensure that the intangible heritage of skills and knowledge are passed on to the next generation and continue to provide an inspiration and resource for contemporary makers.

This project has been generously funded by the Basketmakers’ Association, The Museum of English Rural Life and the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers.

Making is Good for You – The Heritage Crafts Association Conference 2019

Making is Good for You – The Heritage Crafts Association Conference 2019

When: Saturday 9 March 2019, 10am registration to 4.45pm
Where: Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, London NW1 7AY

When the Health Secretary starts to recommend ‘prescriptions’ for art and craft sessions instead of pills, you realise that at last other people are waking up to the value of making. Those of us involved in making know how it can calm the mind, give a focus, and cut out the rest of the world if only for an hour or two.


  • Jay Blades, BBC2 The Repair ShopGood Making is Passed On
  • Celia Pym, Woman’s Hour Craft Prize finalist – Damage and Repair
  • Mike Jenn, Men’s ShedsMaking Good and Good Making
  • Daniel Carpenter, Research Manager – Red List of Endangered Crafts
  • Mary Lewis, Endangered Crafts Officer – Supporting Endangered Crafts
  • Celebration of ExcellenceNational Honours and Heritage Crafts Awards
  • Katy Bevan, aka The Crafter
  • Rachael Matthews, author of The Mindfulness in Knitting
  • Will Beharrell, Turquoise Mountain
  • EJ Osborne, Money for Nothing, Hatchet and Bear
  • Gilding the Gingerbread, HCA-led project funded by the Goldsmiths’ Company, presented by Ellie Birkhead
  • The Chair Maker, film about Lawrence Neal making rush-seated, ladder-backed chairs, followed by questions with Lawrence Neal with his apprentices Sam Cooper and Richard Platt