Friday, 17 January 2020

What we're working on in 2020

Intelligence exchange
  • There has been a lively exchange of research, inspiration and information. Exhibition invitations have been shared to attend various events including (by no means exhaustive) various exhibitions and events for The British Textile Biennial, The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, The Bluecoat Display Centre JÖL Exhibition, Gordon Baldwin and Matthew Harris exhib, Marketplace Studio events, Great Northern Graduates at Manchester Craft and Design Centre, Halima Cassell at Manchester Art Gallery. Plus invitations to the Textile and Place Conference 2020 hosted by Manchester School of Art  

Sharing members’ expertise and good practice
  • Three specialists in Craft and Wellbeing shared skills and information at September meeting, following on from last year’s successful input on Audience Development. We will be planning future inputs at our next meeting in March 2020. 
  • Jacqui Wood of ARC (Arts in the Community, Stockport) and Donna Claypool of University of Bolton plan to meet about the possibility of ARC doing a presentation or even developing a mini-module on socially engaged art. 
  • Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is working with Manchester Craft and Design Centre to present makers from the Great Northern Graduates section of the Fair. They are looking into whether this could be a longer term arrangement. 
  • Alice Kettle of MMU is aiming to connect us with PhD research around leadership in the craft sector ARC moved to the Hatworks in December and has invited NWCN members to a special opening and consultation to take place in March  

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. Following feedback from various people aiming to influence Educational Policy makers, we have decided on a change of tack and will be gathering the material into a succinct form and to link with the Craft’s Council’s Make Your Future campaign – to encourage grassroots change affecting the region. The team will meet to discuss this in early 2020  

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 and collections visits are planned in 2020 
  • Several members are looking to create events that can be part of the Craft’s Council Year of Craft 2021, and we will explore possibilities for shared promotion. E.g. The University of Bolton is looking into running a symposium along the lines of the NWCN’s successful ‘Shaping the Future’ event held in 2016. This will be on the agenda of the March meeting
  • Sam Rhodes at The Bluecoat Display Centre, Nicola Scott of Liverpool Museums and Colin Simpson of Wirral Museums Service have worked together to successfully apply to the Art Fund for a grant to fund a project looking at reanimating craft within the collections, culminating in an exhibition in 2021 and an element of curatorial development which will allow sharing of information and outcomes with the wider Network. 
  • The Jerwood Makers Open will come to Manchester City Gallery in early 2020 and we are exploring the possibility of contributing to a curatorial development event to coincide with the event, in partnership with other organisations.  

Supporting a healthy craft ecology
  • 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. We will be seeking to join a wider national group in the Craft UK Form that w ill take place as part of Collect in 2020