We are fascinated by market reporting on contemporary ceramics. It’s valuable whenever an outside organization can step in and take the temperature of an entire creative economy. It’s often very revealing. A few months ago we brought up a chilling report out of the UK, appropriately titled “Panic!” The UK study showed that the door to success in arts was closing for people of working class backgrounds and artists of different genders and ethnicities. You should read it.
Today we have a report from the National Craft Initiative in Australia, focusing on the crafts movement. Their findings are not nearly as grim as “Panic!,” it actually recognizes a lot of potential within the country. In short: the makers are there, the talent is there, and the only thing holding them back from more opportunities is a lack of infrastructure support, for crafts specifically. From ArtsHub:
“As the report explains, this (the risk of crafts being less visible) is largely due to the absorption of craft and design into arts funding models and changes to education and global production methods.
“NCI Program Manager Georgia Hutchison told ArtsHub that while there is great entrepreneurship displayed by individual practitioners, the systemic and structural support for the sector is lacking.
“‘Structures and systems that are beyond the capacity of individual practitioners or communities of practitioners really needs to be stepped up in Australia right now to ensure the longevity of the industry,’ said Hutchison.”
The study urges the government to partner with private industry and institutions to bolster the presence of Australian craftspeople in the world. Among the Craft Initiative’s recommendations was to establish a hybrid government and industry partnership to support exhibitions, exchanges and events internationally. The goal would be to assist craftspeople as they export their works and skills to other markets. It calls for more support of maker spaces, multidisciplinary creative hubs. These studios could receive help through subsidised rent programs or by being embedded in larger institutions or businesses, the study states. It also suggests connecting different crafts and design programs in the country through online networking and it asks for additional research into training and education for craftspeople.
What do you think of these approaches? Do you think we could use some of the same ideas stateside? Let us know in the comments.