Campaigning for Craft: Dec 2023

In this new series Campaigning for Craft, we invite you behind the scenes of Craft Scotland's Advocacy initiatives. 

Craft Scotland spearhead advocacy for the contemporary craft sector. We bring together different voices within craft, under one banner, supporting all disciplines and regions.   

We aim to influence policy and investment decisions to create sustained benefit for makers and the wider craft ecology. By building an evidence base for craft through research and consultation - cultivating connections with key stakeholders and creating impactful storytelling - we want to demonstrate craft's economic, wellbeing, and sustainability contributions to Scotland. 

Read on to learn more about key activity this autumn/winter period.  


Autumn/Winter Activity 

Image: Cross-Party Group on Creative Economy meeting at the Scottish Parliament

Cross-Party Group on Creative Economy 

Our Director, Irene Kernan spoke at the Cross-Party Group on Creative Economy meeting held on 15 November 2023 at the Scottish Parliament. Invited by Culture Counts, the cultural advocacy network, the meeting was themed around Fair Work and recognition of the talents and impacts of the cultural workforce.  

Irene spoke about the Key Findings from our recent research Craft Scotland Sector Report 2023.  

The report prepared by EKOS provides an evidence base for understanding the craft sector's context, working models and finances whilst also contextualising the sector's successes and challenges. 

Speakers also included Janie Nicoll (Scottish Artists Union) and Heather Parry (Society of Authors).  



EU-UK Trade: Craft Consultation 

Craft Scotland was asked to feed into consultation in November by the Scottish Parliament committee on Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) that governs UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU).  

To form our response, we heard from makers and craft retailers who export (sell goods and services) from the UK to the EU.  

Thank you to those who took the time to fill in our survey, sharing your experience of the EU-Exit (Brexit) is invaluable and we have passed on your concerns and thoughts on practical solutions.  

Image: MAKE Learn Parliament Event / Photography by Neil Hanna

Scottish Government asked about Craft Education and Funding 

The MAKE Learn team met Foysol Choudhury (Scottish Labour, MSP for Lothian) at the MAKE Learn exhibition at the parliament this September. The exhibition was sponsored by Michael Marra (Scottish Labour, MSP for North East Scotland). 

Foysol Choudhury who holds the Deputy Party Spokesperson on Culture role for Scottish Labour submitted a written question to the Scottish Government in October (question reference: S6W-22280

“What funding is allocated to craft and making opportunities in schools to ensure that every child and young person has the opportunity to engage with 10 hours of these activities as part of their learning?”  

Jenny Gilruth, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills of Scotland, answered on 14 November 2023:  

“Core funding to support the delivery of school-age education, including the technologies curriculum (which includes craft and making), is provided via the block grant to local authorities. In addition, the Scottish Government supports the removal of core curriculum charges for all primary and secondary pupils. The Government has committed £8 million to this policy in this financial year, helping to ensure that families do not have to meet the costs of resources and materials for practical lessons, including for all art materials. 

Curriculum for Excellence provides a broad framework within which schools can deliver teaching and learning which best meets the needs of their pupils, and therefore there are no plans to specify time allocations on craft making. The Government recognises the significance of learning craft skills as part of the wider technologies curriculum, with “craft, design, engineering and graphics” referenced as one of six key “organisers” in the technologies Experience and Outcomes.” 

Learn more about MAKE Learn, a partnership between Craft Scotland and Panel. MAKE Learn developed collaboratively from the aims and ambitions of MAKE Manifesto with the aim of championing the long-term value of teaching craft and making skills from early years through to further education and developing useful resources and case studies for the craft sector. 


Image: Sanctuary by Lindsay Perth / Photography by Lindsay

NHS Lothian Charity: Tonic Arts Showcase Event at the Scottish Parliament 

NHS Lothian Charity’s Tonic Arts held an event at the parliament in September to celebrate their programme and their exciting loan of a piece of glass. The artwork by Edinburgh-based Juli Bolaños-Durman’s entitled ‘Our Common Humanity’ will now be on display in the Scottish Parliament Garden Lobby.  

Attendees heard from Tonic Arts team about the impact of the arts in transforming the experience of healthcare by supporting wellbeing, encouraging creativity and enhancing the environment.  

Case studies from Craft Scotland’s partner promotional project with Tonic Arts were also shared with attendees. In 2023, NHS Lothian Charity’s Tonic Arts and Craft Scotland come together to shine a light on the value of art, craft and creativity in Scotland’s healthcare settings with a storytelling and promotional campaign in 2023, including five brand new case studies.    

You can read the case studies on our Craft Journal. 

Learn more about Tonic Arts award-winning work. 



We know that this continues to be an uncertain time for Scotland’s craft community with new situations developing around funding, cost of living, selling opportunities, studio access and wellbeing.  

Please email Irene Kernan, our Director, and the team if there are specific challenges you are facing, or types of support that would help you: hello@craftscotland.org.  

We are available to have a chat, offer advice and signpost towards additional resources and support.  

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