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Diversity Initiatives and Addressing Inequalities in Craft

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Part of the Creative Working Lives book series (CWL)

Abstract

The UK’s creative industries workforce is dominated by the white and relatively privileged, and it appears the craft sector is no different. According to the Crafts Council, compared to the average profile of all occupations, craft workers are more likely to be male and white. The Crafts Council is attempting to support greater diversity in the UK craft sector through various schemes and research projects. This chapter reflects on one such project, a 2018 Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Creative Economy engagement scheme, which sought to provide social media skills training to women makers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in two UK cities: Birmingham and London. The workshops, facilitated by the author, investigated the specific challenges facing women makers of colour who wish to use social media for the benefit of their craft practice. These challenges centre on the volatile nature of social media platforms, where makers of colour are subject to disproportionate scrutiny. There are also concerns that social media skills gaps may block the pathway of contemporary craft micro-enterprise. The concept ‘mutual aid’ draws attention to the positive possibilities of social media for unblocking those pathways for makers of colour through mutual support and mobilisation.

Keywords

Craft Social media Race Women Inequality Cultural work 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Creative Economy Engagement Fund. The project, titled ‘Supporting Diversity in Craft Practice through Digital Technology Skills Development’, was carried out in collaboration with Crafts Council UK and ran from January to December 2018.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural ResearchBirmingham City UniversityBirminghamUK

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