Scottish Craft Makers make good!
A new report, published today (15 February 2012), confirms that Scotland’s craft makers continue to be optimistic and adaptable, working within a sector that, while changing, remains healthy, robust and contributes income of £70 million to the Scottish economy.
Craft in an Age of Change examines the place of contemporary craft at the beginning of the 21st century. This survey of over 2,000 makers, retailers, educators, writers and curators is the first of its kind to be conducted simultaneously in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The report was commissioned as a partnership between The Crafts Council, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales and Craft Northern Ireland and is one of the most comprehensive surveys into contemporary craft of the last ten years.
The survey confirms that the position of craft within the wider UK context of the creative industries is also strong. Income for UK craft businesses is £457 million compared to London’s West End theatres’ revenues of £512 million and spending on music downloads of £316 million in 2010.
Scotland accounts for almost 15% of the UK’s total craft businesses (3,350 from a UK total of 23,000), working predominantly in jewellery, textiles and ceramics. Generally sole traders, craft businesses’ current income averages £21,000. The Gross Value Added of Scottish craft (defined as how much value makers add by transforming their raw materials into finished products) is estimated at
Scottish makers are adapting to the new economic climate by making changes in their business: 60% intend to develop new products and 43% plan to use new materials in the next three years. Almost 62% of makers also use digital technology in their practice and/or production and just over 30% have changed their business in response to environmental concerns. Almost one third of makers are exporting internationally and one half are actively looking for new markets.
Caroline Parkinson, Director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland welcomed the report and said:
‘This survey comes at an important moment for Creative Scotland as we review the strengths and challenges for the craft and visual art sectors. Craft is a high-skill, and increasingly high-value sector where Scotland is performing well within the UK context.
‘We will use the intelligence in this report to scope opportunities for the sector to develop, adapt to change and increase its economic, social and cultural potential.’
Emma Walker, CEO of Craft Scotland added:
‘Whilst the craft sector undoubtedly faces challenging times, the findings highlight the fact that Scottish craft makers, alongside retailers and galleries, are in a strong position. The sector has improved its links and makers are seeking new markets including international and tourism buyers.
‘Scotland continues to be ambitious, with over half of makers interviewed expecting sales to grow over the next three years, which is inspirational. Craft Scotland will continue to explore opportunities for people to buy, see, discover and make craft at home and internationally.’
[Details taken from Creative Scotland website]