Monday, 12 September 2016

What next for the North West Craft Network

The North West Craft Network is planning an ambitious three-year programme to build an entrepreneurial, resilient and outstanding craft community in the North West that is positioned firmly at the heart of the region’s creative industries.  

We aim to grow the market, build audiences, increase revenue, incubate makers and keep our craft talent working and showing in the region.

To kick-start these plans, we’ll be aiming to run a series of three pilots, funded (we hope) with a £15K bid to Grants for the Arts, matched with funding from Network members. Key elements are:

  • Makers and Museums. Developing and testing a model for the sale of high quality craft in NW museum retail spaces that will increase revenue and build the markets and audience for craft to the advantage of both makers and museums.
  • Developing a proposal for a touring NW exhibition. A collective approach makes a stronger sector: we'll share expertise and collectively develop an outstanding idea for a touring craft show that will create a big message about craft, invigorate collections, commission new work and develop significant new audiences.
  • Incubation. Exploring and testing sustainable options to develop and keep craft talent in the NW in the long term. 

All this comes from the opinions and data we gathered over the last two years from a wide range of craft professionals in the North West. The programme proposes a way to enhance the vitality of the North West craft sector and make it a recognised centre for national activity and excellence.

To decide how to go forward, we asked ourselves a few key questions. What will we do best as this particular group of people? Some things are best done by individuals, partnerships or small groups - what can NW Craft Network do as a group that no other group could naturally do? What is ambitious and far reaching in its scope? And lastly and more practically, what is feasible for us to do?

If we're successful in our bid to ACE, we should be up and running with this in early 2017. Watch this space for more, keep an eye on our Twitter account @nwcraftnetwork, or sign up to our mailing list.