1327 Fund: Make Your Mark, a Crafts Council Initiative

Reinvigorating a passion for crafts in schools

Arts education in the UK is declining. Since 2007, the number of students taking Craft and Design Technology at GCSE level has decreased. The Goldsmiths’ Centre has partnered with the Crafts Council on their Make Your Future initiative, which is striving to put craft back at the heart of school education and reinvigorating a passion amongst the next generation of makers.

With support from the 1327 Fund, £20,000 has been awarded to the Crafts Council to fund the Make your Future project. The aim is to help shine the light on craft as a cross-curricular bridge which connects science, technology, and creative subjects – an approach called STEAM learning. In the project's first three years, the Crafts Council will be engaging Birmingham schools with silversmithing and jewellery techniques by arranging for several talented makers in the region to collaborate with local teachers to deliver workshops in schools. A group of young people explored techniques ranging from saw piercing to electro-etching and pewter casting under the guidance of makers such as artist silversmith Theresa Nguyen. Their work went on to be exhibited at the world-renowned Birmingham City University School of Jewellery, where school students experienced further craft training in the surroundings of the cutting-edge workshops at the university.

A pupil from Kings Heath Boys was excited about what he learnt and commented: “I have learnt a lot about metals, and it’s helped to develop my knowledge in DT, which I am now choosing at GCSE.”

The programme has also provided CPD for Art and DT teachers, with sessions held at Birmingham City University covering topics such as surface decoration, CAD and tool making.

The Goldsmiths’ Centre is encouraged to see the positive impact of Make Your Future and how it has successfully strengthened links between universities, makers and schools, offering tangible opportunities for networking and skill sharing between school teachers. The hope is that this unique initiative by the Crafts Council will not just have a major impact on young people’s enthusiasm and understanding of craft, but also help to ignite an interest in possible future careers in the creative industries, which contribute more than £100 billion to the UK economy each year.