Craft Scotland Equalities, Diversity & Inclusion Update

Alongside the responsive work that Craft Scotland has been undertaking on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Brexit, and moving our programming online, behind the scenes the team and Board have additionally been focusing on addressing Equalities, Diversity, and Inclusion.  

Tomorrow, Tuesday 25 May, will be the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. His tragic death last summer saw the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, alongside the growing Not Going Back to Normal campaign by UK disabled artists and creatives.  

These twin global movements have informed Craft Scotland's renewed commitment to anti-racism action and tackling ableism over the next three years, to inform and effect change within our organisation and sector. Both will be key to an updated Equalities, Diversity, and Inclusion strategy. 

We recognise the intersectionality of lived experiences and are opposed to all forms of unfair discrimination. 

We know that the pandemic has widened inequality in Scotland and the rest of the world, affecting every area of our lives, from health, economic conditions, education, safety and security, personal and social wellbeing, to housing, digital inclusion, and environmental. Read Scottish Government’s paper Coronavirus (COVID-19): impact on equality (research)

Craft Scotland strongly believes that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy, learn about, participate in and, if they wish, build a career in contemporary craft.  


Current Key Actions 

Since last summer, the team and Board have been taking steps towards a new strategy and plan. To date we have: 

  • Joined the Craft UK Anti-Racism working group, established by the Crafts Council UK

  • Formed a new Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group in January 2021 with members of the team and Board (two meetings held in March and May)  

  • Recruited a new Board member through Arts & Business New Voices: Fresh Perspectives programme which supports young people in joining Boards 

  • Made a series of new appointments to our Advisory Group, focusing on different lived experiences and expertise, allowing us to widen the range of views present 

  • Created and awarded a dedicated place on our COMPASS: Emerging Maker Programme 2021, the first for makers who are systematically under-supported in the craft sector.  

  • Continued to publish new Make Your Own Story interviews online, to share stories of different lived experiences within craft 


Our Director, Irene Kernan said:  

“Craft is both an art form and an activity that can bring daily joy and wellbeing to ourselves and our communities. As an organisation we are proactively engaging with the social issues that we are living through, and reasserting our commitment to ensuring our programme and organisational practices respond to and are representative of our society. We are committed to building equity in our sector and will focus on anti-racism action, tackling ableism, accessibility, and inclusion over the next 3 years.”   


Upcoming Key Actions in 2021 

  • Publish in November 2021 our new Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion policy and plan for 2021-2024 including confirming goals 

  • Foster an Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion community of practice in Scotland for makers, craft collectives, curators, craft organisations and destinations 

  • Host a free learning and development session for the sector to grow our understanding of these nuanced topics, listen to the craft community, challenge our collective thinking and discover practical advice 


This is just the beginning. We recognise that change is an ongoing process, and the team and Board are listening and reflecting. Recently, we have attended talks and discussions to help us develop our approach, including those hosted by Dr Karen Patel of Craft Expertise, American Crafts Council, Clore Leadership, The Association of Art Museum Curators, and Inc Arts’ Amanda Parker. We will learn from those who are leading the way in the sector and work in partnership to make the necessary change. 

In order to be publicly accountable, we will report on our progress in meeting our priorities every six months, and share our forward plans. As we report on our work, we welcome your feedback on what we have achieved and what we can do better. 

Also, we are committed to using Craft Scotland’s platforms to raise awareness of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion, and to support this work publicly and internally. 


We want to hear from you 

Please email Irene and the team if you would like to contribute to this discussion: hello@craftscotland.org.   

If you identify as a maker with lived experience of being Black, Asian, Mixed Heritage and/or a Person of Colour, a refugee, D/deaf, disabled, gender discrimination and/or working class. We are available to have a chat, offer advice and signpost towards additional resources and support.

We are keen to hear about challenges you are facing and/or types of support that would help.   


Craft-Related Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Resources: 


  • DaDaFest: DaDaFest produce opportunities for disabled and D/deaf people to perform and access the arts, including training and a festival programme. 

  • Design Can: A campaign and online tool calling for the design industry to be inclusive.

  • Disability Arts Online: An organisation led by disabled people, set up to advance disability arts and culture through the pages of our journal.

  • Disabled Makers Instagram: Showcasing and connecting disabled makers and artists. Run by @crippleknits and Andrea Manning. 

  • Dr Karen Patel’s Craft Expertise: AHRC funded UKRI/RCUK Innovation Fellowship, the Craft Expertise project is in collaboration with Crafts Council UK and explores inequalities and diversity in the UK professional craft sector. 

  • Fuse: Elevating the voices & work from creatives of colour with global chapters including Manchester.  

  • Inc Arts: A national collective that champions the creative, economic and contractual rights of the UK’s ethnically diverse workforce. Created Inc Arts Unlock – a toolkit of actions that arts and cultural organisations can take to be more inclusive. 

  • Kassandra Lauren Gordon Fund with The Goldsmiths: Kassandra Lauren Gordon Fund awards £21,000 in grants to 21 Black jewellers, to support business growth and reduce financial hardship. 

  • Kassandra Lauren Gordon Survey: Kassandra Lauren Gordon instigated a national survey to understand more about Black jewellers in the UK and their experiences in the industry, in order to help improve access, training and support for them. 

  • Museum Detox: a network for People of Colour who work in museums, galleries, libraries, archives, and the heritage sector. 

  • Not Going Back to Normal: Not Going Back to Normal is a collective disabled artists’ manifesto, created in Scotland in 2020.  

  • Onyx Magazine: Award-winning, independent and Black-owned publication dedicated to publishing Black creatives. 

  • Shape Arts: Disability-led arts organisation working to improve access to culture for disabled people by providing opportunities, training cultural institutions to be more open to disabled people. 

  • The Color Network (US): The Color Network’s mission is to aid in the advancement of People of Color in the ceramic arts. 

  • The New Craftsman Award at Cockpit Arts: A new award that aims to open up opportunity and build greater diversity in the craft world. 

  • Unlimited: Arts commissioning programme that enables new work by disabled artists to reach UK and international audiences.  

  • We Are Here Scotland: Supporting BIPOC artists and creatives in Scotland. 


Cover image: 

Concrete letters by Studio Emma / Photography by Susan Castillo

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Veronique  AA Lapeyre
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Veronique AA Lapeyre