New international Craft Hub inspired by heritage, creativity, and connectivity


23.04.2021

Academic staff from University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) played a central role in an international conference to launch the new European Craft Hub Project this week.

Academic staff from University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) played a central role in an international conference to launch the new European Craft Hub Project this week.

The Craft Hub Project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme and is focused on Craft in the context of cultural heritage and its continuing relevance in contemporary practice. UWTSD is one of the project’s nine founding partners.

Senior Research Fellow Shelley Doolan, of Swansea College of Art at UWTSD, whose research interests focus on glass-making practice and the role of technology within Craft practice, joined craft practitioners, researchers, and academics from Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Scotland, Greece, Italy, and Portugal for the virtual event.

The conference panel session also featured presentations from UWTSD Design Crafts degree programme colleagues Catherine Brown and Anna Lewis, lecturers in Applied Arts, on what inspired them in their own creative process. The panel discussed the creativity process with conference participants through a Q&A session, and also shared what advice they would give to people.

The interactive conference to launch the project, which took place on April 21 and attracted more than 250 participants, centred on three pillars of sharing best practice and practical advice in the form of creativity, heritage, and connectivity, and informed participants how they can actively engage and benefit from the Craft Hub.

Craft Hub activities will involve investigating and documenting craft skills and processes; their differing application in creative practice across Europe; and questions of cultural specificity, and individual motivations of practitioners.

Shelley Doolan said: “The Craft Hub project was first and foremost born out of a love of Craft, materiality and making, has been a long-held ambition.  UWTSD is proud to be a partner in this exciting international programme, which allows us to share our passion for bringing this amazing discipline to new audiences and encouraging active participation and innovation.

“Craft is innate to human life, and it is through ancient, crafted artefacts that we uncover stories about human existence.  Contemporary makers can draw upon this rich heritage, coupled with an inquiring, experimental, innovative outlook. 

“The project will explore ways to capture, safeguard and convey the knowledge embedded in Craft, to record and reflect the intangible as well as tangible aspects of Craft to inspire innovation and the creation of new work.

“I’m a glass-maker and work a lot with the lost-wax casting technique.  There is something quite thrilling about using a process that reaches so far back into our history, and yet still offers opportunity for innovation and research.

“It is very much that sense of cross-fertilisation between makers of ideas, processes, and materials that Craft Hub will support and inspire.”

Dr Pete Spring, Academic Portfolio Director, Design & Performing Industries, Swansea College of Art & Creative Carmarthen, WISA, UWTSD, added: “Swansea College of Art boasts a Design Crafts programme that contributes an enormous and valuable addition to the portfolio of creative programmes.

“Crafts and the unique understanding and innovative manipulation of processes through their knowledge of materials exemplifies the synergetic nature of creativity. 

“This insights staff and students bring the fore and the material qualities and objects they produce is in itself a form of experiential design and we are all the richer for it.”

The Craft Hub Project’s comprehensive programme will be supported by 42 transnational maker residencies, 305 days of outreach work, a festival, seven exhibitions, and two conferences. For more information visit https://www.crafthub.eu/.

For more information about UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art, Design Crafts programme visit https://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/art-design/design-crafts/.

The Craft Hub project is one of a number of multi-partner European projects focused on the Creative and Cultural Industries in which UWTSD is a partner. Related projects include the Arts and Humanities Entrepreneurship Hubs project and the Open Design School EU (DeuS) project.

Image credits: Anna Lewis

Further Information

Bethan Evans

Swyddog Prosiect ATiC, Marchnata a Chyfathrebu | ATiC Project Officer, Marketing and Communications

Athrofa Gwyddoniaeth a Chelf Cymru (AGChC) | Wales Institute of Science & Art (WISA)

Canolfan Arloesi Technolegau Cynorthwyol (CATC) | Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre (ATiC)

PCYDDS | UWTSD

Technium 1 | Technium 1

Heol y Brenin | King’s Road

Abertawe | Swansea

SA1 8PH | SA1 8PH

Ebost | Email bethan.evans@uwtsd.ac.uk