A new report Making Value; craft and the economic and social contribution of makers puts craft squarely within the creative knowledge economy. Published by the Crafts Council at their annual conference Assemble 2010, the document argues that craft has an important role to play in a changing economy and society.

Karen Yair, research and information manager for the Crafts Council, told Arts Industry magazine: “The craft sector makes a £3 billion contribution to the UK economy, and represents 13% of those employed in the UK’s creative industries. However the world has changed, we believe craft has a substantial part to play in the future.”

Making Value promotes craft makers as ‘sociable experts’, with portfolio careers, who are resourceful and resilient, and keen to collaborate. Motivated by making a difference, and entrepreneurial in sustaining a successful portfolio practice, they perhaps offer a sustainable model for the arts as a whole.

Yair explains: “We have found makers engaging in a far greater range of places, and with more different types of people, than has previously been recorded. Makers take on multiple roles, consciously presenting themselves in different ways for different audiences, markets and areas of work.”

This nomadic life-style contributes to growth in sectors such as manufacturing, driving innovation in products and processes through their materials knowledge. Yair comments: “Understanding of how people relate to material qualities and objects, in both a functional and emotional sense, informs distinctive contributions in fields as diverse as healthcare and cultural tourism.”

This research comes at a crucial time. Making Value shows the contribution of makers in very many contexts, illustrating great creativity, innovation and resilience – all elements the wider economy is in desperate need of implementing.

For more information on the Crafts Council’s report click here

Jack Hutchinson

Jack Hutchinson

a-n.co.uk July 2010