Stoke-on-Trent awarded World Craft City status

18 Jul 2024

Stoke-on-Trent has been named a World Craft City, a status granted to areas with excellent social, cultural and economic contributions from its communities. 

The scheme aims to emphasise expertise, boost potential for government support, promote innovation and tourism, and accelerate knowledge exchange among other World Craft cities, which include Kilkenny, Ireland; Bornholm, Denmark; and La Bisbal d’Empordà, Spain.

 Stoke-on-Trent’s award is based on its ceramic heritage and follows the city’s UK City of Culture bid for 2021, when Stoke Creates was formed as the Cultural Compact for the city, specifically to promote artistic, creative and cultural participation in the region. 
Leader of the city council, Councillor Jane Ashworth, said: “This is a tremendous achievement and one that culminates years of hard work by our cultural community.
“This recognition by the World Crafts Council has the potential to open so many doors for our city, not least when it comes to working alongside other cities and towns across the world who also have World Craft City status. 
“We are extremely excited by the possibilities and believe that this will have a significant impact when it comes to the social, cultural, and economic prestige of Stoke-on-Trent."

Campaign for free craft workshops reaches fundraising target

01 Jul 2024

A charity’s campaign to raise money to pay for vulnerable and disadvantaged people to attend creative classes has hit its £12,00 target.

New Brewery Arts aid the money will be used to allow residents in Cirencester to access 1,200 free hours of creative workshops.

New Brewery Arts CEO Beth Alden said: “We would like to thank our amazing community for supporting our campaign not only through their kind donations but also their support and good wishes throughout the campaign. 

“From our years of running courses and workshops here in our studios, it is clear that making brings our students incredible health and wellbeing benefits. We are excited to give this experience to those in our community who most need it.

“But we are not stopping there. We will continue to collect donations for New Brewery Hearts so that we can continue to provide vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our community with access to creativity.”

Craft Central to close due to financial pressures

20 Feb 2024

East London-based charity Craft Central will close its doors at the end of the month, citing financial pressures including high rent and rising utility costs.

Jobs go at Crafts Council as revenue shrinks

Exterior of Crafts Council Gallery, Pentonville Road, Islington. May 2021.
10 Jan 2024

National Portfolio Organisation says cultural sector 'faces one of its most testing moments in recent history'.

Funding for traditional heritage crafts project in Rochdale

19 Sep 2023

A heritage project to explore, celebrate and preserve the heritage crafts of refugee and asylum seeker communities in Rochdale will go ahead after securing funding. 

Cartwheel Arts has been awarded a £92,340 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to deliver Crafting Heritage in collaboration with Rochdale Borough Council and a network of local partner organisations.

The project expects to delve into traditional heritage crafts such as Ukrainian folk art, Islamic geometric patterns, Arabic calligraphy and textiles including weaving, sewing and embroidery.

Outcomes will be documented and archived at arts and heritage centre Touchstones Rochdale, with a final celebration event planned at the venue in 2025.

As part of the project, Cartwheel Arts will offer a fully paid eight-week training placement for four emerging craftspeople in the area with experience of forced migration.

The trainees will deliver a programme of crafting sessions within local primary schools.

“We are passionate about preserving and disseminating the diverse heritage crafts of Rochdale’s migrant communities and are keen to provide an opportunity for the development and sharing of heritage crafts within local schools,” Helen Featherstone, NLHF Director, England, North said.

“Crafting Heritage not only represents a ground-breaking means of preserving and sharing these rich traditions within local schools but will also forge dynamic partnerships on both local and national fronts to bring this vision to life. 

“We expect this project will leave an enduring and profound mark on all those who join us on this exciting journey.”

English Heritage launches £11m apprenticeship programme

A young man learning 'flint knapping' skills. An older man is showing him how to repair a flint wall
10 Aug 2023

The charity aims to train a new generation in vanishing heritage skills needed to preserve endangered historic properties, including flint-working, stone masonry and heritage brickwork.

York Minster in £4m appeal for heritage craft skills centre

07 Jun 2023

Cathedral York Minster has launched an appeal to raise £4m towards a new centre for ancient craft skills. 

The Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills will focus on traditional crafts such as stonemasonry and glaziery - skills neeeded to preserve the minster, which was built between 1220 and 1472. 

The original budget for the centre was expected to be £5m, but rising costs mean it is now likely to be closer to £9m.

York Minster is one of 10 English cathedrals to have its own stonemasonry department.

Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund, said creating the centre would offer "long-term sustainable benefits both financially, and in the maintenance of heritage skills to York Minster, the heritage community, and the wider city".

Growing number of craft skills 'under threat'

11 May 2023

Traditional craft skills are "on the verge of extinction" in the UK, according to new research.

Five new skills have been added to the "critically endangered" category of the Red List of Endangered Crafts, a research project by the charity Heritage Crafts.

These include straw hat making and encaustic tile making, which join a list of 146 at-risk crafts. Other endangered crafts are Cornish hedging, marionette making, and pigment making.

Researcher Mary Lewis said factors such as the energy crisis, inflation, the pandemic and Brexit had all made matters worse for those working in traditional crafts.

She said: “We know that heritage craft skills operate like an ecosystem; if we lose one part it can have devastating consequences on other parts of the system.

"If we allow endangered crafts to disappear then we seriously diminish the opportunities for future generations to create their own sustainable and fulfilling livelihoods and deal with the challenges of the future.”

The Red List of Endangered Crafts 2023 edition can be viewed online at

Lottery support for forestry arts projects in Scotland

02 Feb 2023

Two arts projects focusing on forestry and sustainability in Scotland have received National Lottery support in the recent round of Creative Scotland’s Open Fund awards.

A large-scale public artwork by artist Colin Andrews will involve planting oak trees across Fife to create a ‘future forest’. As part of the project, called Akin, 200 nine-year-old oak trees will be replanted across the region during 2023.

Andrews grew the trees from acorns he originally gathered in Fife in 2013. The trees will be gifted to 200 individuals, families, community groups, institutions and businesses who will plant and take care of them.

Andrews said: “Beyond the environmental and wellbeing implications of creating a forest of the future, the more immediate and direct intention of creating a symbolic, dispersed woodland is to engage communities in individual acts of nurture and stewardship, in a collective act of empowerment, commitment and sustainability.” 

A second project produced in partnership by the Scottish Furniture Makers Association, Scottish Forestry and the Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmillers aims to highlight and showcase Scottish ash.

In 2024, the ‘Ash Rise!’ touring exhibition and outreach programme will shine a light on ash’s use for furniture making and other crafts, while also educating the public about the devastating impact of ash dieback disease.

Crafts Council reports first financial loss in four years

The exterior of the Crafts Council building in London
27 Jan 2023

Effects of pandemic and inability to attract tenants for spare office space see Crafts Council record financial loss.

Funding boost for arts and culture activities in deprived areas

Two women help a group of children with a creative project. They are working as volunteers, explaining to the children how to knit with colourful wool
16 Jan 2023

A £29m government fund includes ringfenced support to increase volunteering and arts, culture and heritage offers in 27 target areas.

Safeguarding heritage craft skills for the future

Woman weaving a chair seat inside workshop
04 Jan 2023

Are the UK's traditional craft skills in danger? Mary Lewis explains what’s being done to safeguard and celebrate heritage crafts as a vital but often overlooked part of British culture.

Scottish bursaries for artists and craft makers

05 Sep 2022

Visual artists and craft makers in Scotland can now apply for bursaries to put towards their creative development.

The Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (VACMA) offers fixed bursaries of £500 and £750 to artists at all stages of their career to develop their creative practice.

Funded by Creative Scotland, the scheme is managed locally by VACMA partners, and is available in 25 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, with £130,000 available in total.

Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland Amanda Catto said the funding will enable artists and makers to test new ideas, develop their skills and generate work.

“We are delighted that we have so many partners working with us to deliver the programme which generates such important, long-lasting benefits to the creative people working in their local area.” 

Applications for a first wave of funding will close 25 October, with the deadline for a second round scheduled for 7 February 2023.

Mass gift-making as a shared symbolic act

20 Jul 2022

With athletes about to arrive in Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, a mass gift-making initiative has been underway to welcome them. Deirdre Figueiredo led the project.

Rural art projects in Northern Ireland get £1.5m boost

Young people taking part in workshops run by arts organisation Glasgowbury
13 Jun 2022

New art fund launches to address needs of local rural communities as they emerge from the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Crafts charity rebrands for inclusive future

22 Nov 2021

Crafts charity Devon Guild of Craftsmen has rebranded to MAKE Southwest ahead of redevelopment plans.

A spokesperson said the new name reflects the many women involved in the gallery and its focus beyond Devon.

The charity plans to restore its Grade II-listed mill building to improve accessibility, restore its waterwheel and create new maker spaces for craftspeople. 

MAKE Southwest Chair Louis Victory said the works will turn the building into a “creative place in its own right”

“Although the early months of the pandemic were difficult, we are now operating successfully, having taken the opportunity to modernise and plan for an ambitious and exciting future.”

Arts company says 'art should be a safe space for debate' amid transphobia row

24 Jun 2021

Artichoke says it will keep Jess de Wahls' contribution to exhibition which provides a platform for "all women, trans and non-binary people": "We do not believe in cancel culture"

People need places (and vice versa)

31 Mar 2021

Caitlin Warfield writes that the future of culture and business in urban centres depends on their ability to work together.

55,000 arts jobs lost since lockdown

11 Dec 2020

"This is clear evidence of the existence and the scale of a jobs crisis," researchers say.

Societal trends have produced a fertile market for British crafts

stylish lounge with classic upholstered furniture
28 May 2020

The growth of online sales has expanded the craft market and provided more opportunities for disabled people, but fears are growing over the impact of Brexit, rising costs and competition forcing prices down.


Subscribe to Crafts