I’m not sure if it is a hangover from my academic years or whether it’s because I spent the first five years of my career working in theatre where September marks the exciting new beginnings of the Autumn/Winter season, but I always feel refreshed at this time of year. The personal resolutions I make in September always seem to be met more successfully than those I make in the first dark days of January, and since joining Craft Scotland I always enjoy meeting new makers around this time of year who contact me once they’ve found their feet after graduation.
Personal development for established makers and supporting new businesses whilst they find their feet is the hot topic at Craft Scotland right now. Between now and Christmas (I know, I said the dirty word but it’s fast approaching) we’ll be announcing five new projects including a package of events focusing on sector development with a variety of events and training. It seems that every craft conference is about ‘thinking’ at the moment and we would like to create space to make as well as think. With this in mind I’m particularly excited to say that we’ll be working closely with craftivism for the first time.
We also have plans to develop the Meet Your Maker campaign, and I’m currently crossing the t’s on a funding agreement which will allow us to deliver a minimum of ten Meet Your Maker events across the UK. I reported in my last update that I was in the early stages of exploring partnerships and venues for a variety of retail events in Scotland. We are now in discussions with funders and we hope to bring a new programme to Scottish venues next year.
Meanwhile it’s been a busy month for the team. Laura attended Assemble, the Craft Council’s conference held in London where she sought inspiration for last week’s Friday Craft Film – Grow Your Own Clothes. Jo attended Design Junction, also in London, where she got the first look at John Galvin’s new range of work ahead of his debut in New York next year. Last weekend I toured North East Open Studios, meeting up with new makers and galleries whilst finding out more about the local area.
The work surrounding our new website and online presence that the team have completed, with particular credit to Laura who has led the AmbITion project, makes me proud. When I joined the organisation (four years ago this week) the website was sector facing and was failing to meet its targets. I’m delighted to say that we have achieved our goal of creating an online presence that attracts a growing public audience as well as the craft sector, whilst connecting people to each other. Over the past year we consistently surpass our own targets with more than 21,000 visits to the site last month (over 17,000 unique visitors).
Next month I will represent Scottish craft in Madrid when I present a keynote on Connecting an Online Community through AmbITion to the Spanish national arts marketing conference: http://marketingdelasartes.com/ponentes/emma-walker/
Emma Walker is Chief Executive of Craft Scotland.
Emma decides the direction the organisation will take and works with the Craft Scotland team (the staff and Board) to set the strategy and vision. Her varied role includes: fundraising; business planning; reviewing and reporting; representing the sector; developing partnerships and projects; and creating connections.
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