Wednesday, 30 October 2019

What the Network has achieved since its relaunch in April 2019

Intelligence exchange
  • There has been a lively exchange of research, inspiration and information.
    • From Craft exhibitions (Too many to mention all, but….., Alex Sickling at Manchester Craft and Design Centre (MCDC), Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair (GNCCF) Sheffield, Pottery Pioneers celebrating  the positive impact of ceramics on mental health (ARC, Stockport), Go Eco, Adam Ross, Collected and Jane Adam at the Bluecoat Display Centre), the Festival of Making, Textile Biennial,  Activities at the MMU Marketplace Stockport, , The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Halima Cassell’s exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, events and exhibitions at ARC Stockport 
    • … conferences and talks (Heritage Craft Association Conference, Why Craft Matters at Harewood House,  CERI (Cultural Education Research Initiative) Conference at Tate Liverpool, The Festival of Making, 2020 Textile and Place Conference)

Sharing members’ expertise and good practice
  • At our march 2019 meeting Jo Kay, an audience development specialist and NWCN member has shaped and delivered a session on ‘Audience Targeting for Craft Sales’ for regular members of the Network and wider contacts in the NW who might benefit.
  • For our September 2019 meeting three speakers presented on Craft and Well Being: Vicky Charnock, Arts for Health lead at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and two case studies by Verity Pulford, a maker who completed a residency/commission at the Walton Centre about the impact on a maker’s practice and Jacqui Wood – Artistic Director of ARC (Arts in the Community) Stockport about the Pottery Pioneers Project/Craft with Mums with Post Natal Depression.

Building the case for the value of craft
  • We continue to work on out collective letter to educational policy makers from leaders in the NW Craft sector outlining the essential part that craft education plays in sustaining the Creative Industries and our social and cultural capital both in the short and long term.  The letter has been drafted and we have gathered responses from those in the section who will see and feel the impact on culture, employment and communities further down the line.

Building infrastructure for collaborative work and resource sharing (joint projects and exhibitions)
  • Rebecca Hill of Gallery Oldham has gathered a working group NW touring craft showcase. Additional galleries have expressed an interest. There is still the possibility of this being part of the Crafts Council’s Year of Craft in 2021 and have explored angles and themes. A collections meeting took place in Liverpool at the Walker Art Gallery. Several outcomes are possible, and Nicola Scott is preparing a draft proposal for a craft show in a showcase at the Walker for discussion by the programming team. Further collections visits are planned to gain an understanding what is in our collections that we could explore in a show.
  • The Jerwood Makers Open will come to Manchester City Gallery in early 2020 and we have explored the possibility of staging a curatorial development event in collaboration with MAG.

Supporting a healthy craft ecology
  • We generated and took part in numerous discussions about how to create a healthy craft sector from nourishing future creative to developing resilient leaders. For example, the Festival of making created business support events for makers.
  • We created a new logo (see above )to give the work of the NWCN a visual identity. Great Northern Events chipped in to support us to create a simple text based logo for members to use.
  • We put together some ‘Terms of Reference’ to aid new members to the group and to encourage free and prolific information exchange.
  • The NWCN is vigorously participating in the Craft UK forum to increase connectivity and the flow of information between crafts organisations widely across the UK