Meet Emma Walker, Craft Scotland's first Chief Executive.
I decide the direction the organisation will take and then I work with the Craft Scotland team (the staff and Board) to set the strategy and vision. We have been in constant growth since I joined and so my role changes regularly too. Over the past few years I have spent lots of time creating the foundations from which to build on – this has included recruiting the team and building our reputation nationally and internationally.
The role of a CEO is varied, particularly in a smaller arts organisation. It is my job to set the culture of Craft Scotland and the decisions I make often impact on the culture of the Scottish craft sector at large. For instance, the decision to launch the Craft Scotland brand in America by taking 25 makers to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show benefits Scottish craft as much as it does Craft Scotland.
My role includes fundraising, business planning and reviewing, reporting and representing the sector. Developing partnerships and projects takes up a chunk of time, and whilst we are quick at responding to opportunities, some projects take years to nurture. For the most part, I create the connection and pass it onto the team to deliver.
Well, I can’t stop talking about them for a start! Everywhere I go I spread the word about makers, exhibitions, events and the brilliance of Scottish craft. Whether it’s as a keynote speaker or while standing at the bus stop waiting for the number 23, I talk about Scottish craft whenever I can.
I’m very ambitious for Craft Scotland and for Scottish craft and work hard to bring exciting, new opportunities to Scotland’s door. As an audience developer I want to engage as many people with craft as possible.
1. Each and every person who wouldn’t have engaged with the arts without the financial / emotional / physical support given to them from the projects I have led or contributed to. Some projects involved holding strangers hands, quite literally, to get them through a venue’s door
2. Becoming CEO of Craft Scotland aged 27. I understand that for a millisecond I was the youngest CEO in the UK
3. Being elected onto the board of the Arts Marketing Association by my peers in Nov 2010
1. Taking Joe Pascoe, CEO of Craft Victoria (Australia) on a mini-tour of some of Scotland's craft highlights. We covered crafts shops, studios, West Kilbride Craft Town, Collins Gallery in Glasgow and the glorious celebration of craft that is Mount Stuart (a top craft moment all on its own) to name a few. The 'moment' lasted four days and filled me with pride for Scotland and our rich, inspired crafts.
2. Making my husband’s wedding ring with the help of two Edinburgh based jewellers
3. The world premiere of The C Word in London
3. Audience development
4. Business planning
5. Equality in the arts
I began my career in 1998 at the Empire Theatre, Sunderland before moving to West Yorkshire Playhouse while studying in Leeds. By graduation I was co-managing a box office staff of 15 people while working in the press and marketing team.
After a stint at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester I moved to Leeds City Council in 2003 as Marketing Assistant. Over the next three years I worked with libraries, arts and heritage before transferring the disciplines of arts marketing to the sport sector.
I then moved to Arts About Manchester (now All about Audiences) where I led audience development for the organisation and advised members across the North West of England on organisational development, audience engagement and equality.
I once shared a lift with Patrick Stewart and Patrick was in his pyjamas.
Coffee during the day, lager in the evening and a whisky nightcap
Emma is now on maternity leave.
Please send any enquiries you have for Emma to the Craft Scotland team by emailing email@example.com.