Monday, 11 February 2019

What the NW Craft Network has achieved - Autumn/Winter 2018

Connections and ideas continue to flow for the North West Craft Network. Ideas, small and large, hatched in the early part of the year are slowly coming to fruit, and we are beginning to revisit more ambitious plans that were seeded in early years and we now have the firmer foundation to start to make these things happen.

Intelligence exchange
  • Research, exhibition invitiations and information exchanged widely.
  • Awards and opportunities for makers shared with Development Group and wider networks. As a result of connections made through the NW Craft network in 2014 Liam Hopkins was shortlisted for Arts Foundation’s Designer Maker of the year award 2019.

Sharing members’ expertise and good practice
  • Jo Kay, an audience development specialist and member of the network has shaped an ‘Audience Targeting for Craft Sales’ session for the next Meeting of the NW Craft Development Group (early 2019). This part of the meeting has been opened more widely to organisations who don’t usually attend the meeting but who sell craft.
  • Crafts Council launched UK Craft Network, and we’ve talked with their lead on this to see how we can connect our North West members into this national network, exchange information and ideas, best practice and advocate for North West craft.
  • ARC’s (Arts for Recovery in the Community) CPD programme for volunteers on their Pottery Pioneers project is underway and will engage Network members to train volunteers.

Building the case for the value of craft
  • A task group will meet in early 2019 to workshop a collective letter about the value of Craft to Education for circulation to educational policy makers.

Building infrastructure for collaborative work and resource sharing (joint projects and exhibitions)
  • The Network will revisit its plans for an outstanding NW generated Craft showcase touring exhibition at our next meeting in March. This follows on from initial research in the previous years of the network.
  • The Jerwood Makers Open will come to Manchester City Gallery and members are keen to get involved with collaborative projects. This will be developed at the next meeting.

Supporting a healthy craft ecology
  • Manchester Craft and Design Centre connected with the lead on the Greater Manchester Cultural Strategy and we will be exploring collaborations.
  • Inspired by discussions around nourishing makers of the future, Manchester Art Gallery has decided to put on another Future Creative Event in March 2019. Students will be invited to respond to the gallery's displays to make products for sale in the gallery shop
  • Professional coach and maker Victoria Scholes delivered the third of three business review days for residents and networks of Manchester Craft and Design Centre in January 2019.