Thursday, 3 November 2011

major crafts research goes ahead

A major new research project promisses to shed light on the UK traditional craft sector for the first time.

When we started the Heritage Crafts Association 2 1/2 years ago one of our first objectives was to properly map the sector, to find out which crafts were endangered, which were doing well and which offered potential for growth. In fact it was the first objective in my wish list back in Jan 2009.  We were told that to do this job properly would cost between £50,000 and £100,000 not the sort of money we had handy as a new charity.

After 2 years of gentle advocacy we were delighted when Skills Minister John Hayes announced that he would find funds for just the research we had been asking for.  HCA were part of the interview panel and we are delighted that Trends Business Research Ltd have now been appointed to undertake this major project. The final report is due to be completed by next March and a whole lot of work has to be completed by then, creating a database of as many practicing craftspeople as possible will be key and we hope HCA friends and followers will be able to help us spread t=he word when the time comes.

What good will it do?

Well we have lots of anecdotal evidence that there are certain issues within our sector. eg elderly skilled craftspeople not able to pass on their skills to a following generation, lack of entry routes for young people to start in a career etc.

The stories we have collected have been enough to convince many people there is a real problem but in order to access funding to address the issues we need more proof of the size and nature of the situation, genuine research will also help us see clearly where the most pressing issues are and prioritise action. It will also be great to help publicise the fantastic work that does go on within the traditional craft sector which has often played second fiddle to the better funded innovative contemporary crafts.


  1. This sounds very positive and promising

  2. This sounds very exciting and I'd be very keen to help and support wherever possible, its such a turbulent time for crafts skills right now so its do important to highlight it and provoke thought and action.

  3. Just say the word! I'll help spread the news :)

  4. Craft & Design Mag has a request from Jan Lasnon
    "I’ve just started working with government-appointment agency NIACE to help assess the current situation in craft." Is this a duplicate survey ? I am confused.

    How do those who want to help the survey make contact with TBR ? There is nothing at the moment on their website

  5. Jan told us she has been asked by NIACE to do a "pre mapping exercise". I am not sure exactly what what that is but it is certainly not the full survey and should not be confused with it. We only had the inception meeting with TBR last week, it is critical that the questions are framed correctly to give valid results and it will take time before we are ready for everyone's input. The current plan is to work on the methodology, questions database etc until after Christmas since we all know many craftspeople are busy and have better things to do than answering questionnaires just now. In January the survey proper will role out. HCA sit on the steering group for the research so we will let everyone know through the blog facebook page and newsletter as soon as TBR are ready for input. I was slightly concerned that Jan's request was ambiguous and folk may respond thinking they had input to the research and then not want to duplicate in January, let's hope that doesn't happen.

  6. Little more info. Jan's brief from her interview with John Hayes after discussing the forthcoming mapping project he says
    “However there are things we can do now. Many people in your sector are self- employed, which is why I have asked NIACE* to produce a toolkit to help people set up their own business. NIACE have already produced a detailed online resource - and again, the input and experience of your readers is essential in making this a bespoke tool for the craft sector which will help people who are looking to enter the craft community.”