Dr Lauren England, Lecturer in Creative Economies in CMCI, has published an article “Crafting professionals: Skills and resources for graduates entering the craft economy” in the European Journal of Cultural Studies. The article is part of a special issue on Craft Economies and Inequalities, edited by Dr Karen Patel and Rajinder Dudrah, and is available open access.
The article contributes to growing scholarship on craft and craft entrepreneurship by investigating the skills and resource requirements of early-career crafts graduates. It examines the role and relative priority of different skills and resources in establishing a professional craft practice from the perspective of recent crafts graduates.
By exploring the experiences of early-career craft graduates, the article seeks to develop understanding of the diverse and interrelated set of skills and resources needed to establish and develop an independent professional practice. Dr England proposes that these diverse requirements should be understood as an amalgam rather than isolated components, and that the acquisition of skills and resources be seen as accumulative. From here, she discusses the potential for inequalities to emerge and the implications for higher education training.
Beyond highlighting the multifaceted dimensions of professional creative practice and how the acquisition of skills and development of resources cannot be approached in isolation, Dr England seeks to challenge the idea that success (or failure) in craft careers is determined by an individual’s motivation or their level of creativity (or skill). Instead, in this article she argues that we need to acknowledge the demands of both the creative pursuit and economic sustainability, and to actively tackle persistent inequalities in the craft sector. The article also includes recommendations for initiatives that could help to address some of the inequalities arising from an unequal distribution of resources.
This article comes from Dr England’s PhD project “Crafting Professionals”, conducted 2016-2020 in partnership with Crafts Council UK. The research was funded by a Sir Professor Richard Trainor Scholarship at King’s College London.