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Friday 5 October 2018

Craft Economies: Inequalities, Opportunities and Interventions

When: Wed, 4 December, 9am –  5pm

A one-day conference about craft, exploring the current state of the craft economy and issues around inequalities in the sector.
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Craft in the creative economy has seen significant growth in the past ten years, in what is perceived to be a ‘return to artisanal employment’. It has been argued that this growth is driven partly by the proliferation of online sites such as Etsy, as well as the increased popularity of authentic, handmade products and the associated values of ‘hipster culture’. Yet the craft sector, much like the wider creative economy, is dominated by the relatively privileged. Despite social media and websites providing seemingly accessible ways for makers to sell their work, opportunities to make a career out of craft are not equal, mirroring similar issues around inequality and access in the wider creative industries.

In this conference we will explore the current state of the craft economy with an emphasis on the experiences and voices of makers around the world. We seek to address the following questions:

• How do makers negotiate the contemporary craft economy?

• What challenges do makers face, particularly those from marginalised communities?

• How can the craft economy be more open and equitable?

• What does the future of the craft economy look like?

**During the conference Crafts Council UK will also offer free Maker Surgeries, offering one-to-one advice for makers. More details to follow soon.**

Provisional programme (subject to change).

9.00-9.30 Registration, tea and coffee

9.30-9.45 Welcome

9.50-10.35 Keynote: Deirdre Figueiredo, Craftspace Birmingham

10.35-10.45 Short break

10.45-12.00 Panel 1 – Craft and the Community

12.00-12.45 Lunch

12.45-2.00 Panel 2 – Global Craft

2.00-3.15 Panel 3 – Craft and Sustainability

3.15-3.30 Tea and coffee break

3.30-4.45 Roundtable discussion: Diversity in craft and the creative industries with Karen Patel (Birmingham City University), Deirdre Figueiredo (Craftspace), Lorna Hamilton Brown and Jeanette Sloan (BIPOC in Fiber). Chaired by Rajinder Dudrah (Birmingham City University).

4.45-5.00 Closing remarks

5.00-6.00 Drinks reception at Digbeth Works, 79A Digbeth, B5 6DY (1 minute walk from STEAMHouse)

Download the full programme here

This conference is part of the UKRI/RCUK Innovation Fellowship, ‘Supporting Diversity and Expertise Development in the Contemporary Craft Economy’ led by Dr Karen Patel of Birmingham City University and in collaboration with Crafts Council UK. For more information about the project visit the Craft Expertise website.

If you have any dietary requirements please let us know by emailing