Ever since the North West Craft Network got started we've wondered how to create a balance between working size and inclusion. Too big and we can't manage and afford meetings. Too small and we get loads done and can meet easily, but we don't represent the whole.
Anyway, we were discussing this in the NW Craft Network Steering Group meeting and Kate Day, the Director of Manchester Craft and Design Centre, came up with this way to think about it (see her scribble on the right):
From now on, what was called the NW Craft Network will be the NW Craft Network Development Group.
The NW Craft Network Steering Group will still be the Steering Group
Anyone who cares about craft in the NW is free to join the Network - and can join for free at the moment, although we might have to review costs if we are to be sustainable in the long term.
But for now, let's make hay while the sun shines and sign up for nothing. Network members will recieve news and updates about what's going on with craft in and around the North West, consulted by web polls and email about relevant issues and will be invited to any events that we organise.
We'll take a week or so to update our web info with our slightly tweaked identity, but in the meantime: Welcome to the North West Craft Network.
To sign up go here
More about the NW Craft Network
Monday, 21 September 2015
Tuesday, 8 September 2015
|Makers & artist James Maskrey at The Whitworth|
|At our Networking event at GNCCF|
The programme will build on the already considerable strengths of craft in the region but also address the particular challenges that the people making, curating, selling and buying craft in the North West face.
During the year the Network will create opportunities for the North West’s craft makers, curators and stakeholders to collaborate, share knowledge and shape a plan for the future. A key part of this will be two Network events; a day conference at Bolton University and a curator development day at Manchester College. In addition they will partner up with the likes of Great Northern Events (the people who run The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair) and Manchester Craft and Design Centre to support their existing maker and curator development plans.
The Network will also inject into the programme data gathered from last year’s work, which included maker and curator events at The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, The Whitworth and COLLECT at the Saatchi Gallery. To this, they will add targeted strands of new research into potential partnerships, exchanges, international collaborations and appropriate income streams.
Since it started in 2012 the Network has gone from strength to strength. One of the tasks for this year will be to address the issues of organisation and funding that this success has created so that the Network can become a permanent agent of support and development of craft in the region.
Craft has great potential to grow in the North West. As a region it has some top quality craft venues, as a glance at this list of venues that are concerned with craft attests. From public institutions around the region, including – to name just a few - The Whitworth, Manchester City Galleries, Gallery Oldham, Gawthorpe Textiles Collection and The Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston, to commercial concerns such as the Bluecoat Display Centre, and maker spaces such as Manchester Metropolitan University’s Marketplace Studio in Stockport and the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. There are fantastic collections, vibrant shows and new commissions taking place. Manchester hosts one of the UK’s main craft events in the form of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair; not to mention a host of talented and respected professional makers; world class education and research in the field and a thriving amateur economy. But even so, the current economic climate presents tough challenges.
Markets for intensively produced, contemporary fine Craft are thin. Many buyers go elsewhere to build their collections, and there are still relatively few regional opportunities for exhibiting and selling. Part time work – often an important contribution to the income of both budding and established makers - is diminishing, creating a pull towards London and the South East. Curators find themselves stretched across a huge range of departments from fine art to science and critical writers who can explore, analyse and share the experience of craft among the community are few and far between.
The North West Craft Network was set up in 2012 to address issues such as these and build on the many good things happening in the region. It represents publicly funded museum collections, Further and Higher Education Institutions, commercial galleries, crafts agencies and practitioners at all stages of their careers. This year’s project will be another bold step forward for the group, aiming to channel the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm in the sector in to a plan that will make the North West Craft Sector and robust and vibrant player in the creative industries of the Northern Powerhouse.
For more information contact the NW Craft Network Co-ordinator, Victoria Scholes at email@example.com or +44 (0) 1625 421768
To read more about the North West Craft Network and to see a list of current members of its development team, click here
To join our mailing list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with 'I want to join the NW Craft Network mailing list' in the subject line and we'll add your name.