Making Futures 2021

Resilience Through Leadership and Organisational Form

The seventh edition of our Making Futures biennial international research conference will be held on 16th September 2021.

Julia Bennett

Head of Research and Policy at the Crafts Council|

The Market for Craft is the biggest survey of the market for craft published in over a decade, commissioned by the Crafts Council and national partners. The findings show how craft is no longer a peripheral or isolated area of specialist interest: it is now firmly established in the mainstream, with ethical making and sustainability important to makers as well as consumers. More egalitarian market conditions have reduced barriers to entry for makers, with many new entrants into the crafts sector facilitated by the development of e-commerce and the increase in the number of selling opportunities.

Drawing on evidence from both the UK and in two major US cities, Julia will explore how social trends are driving ethical consumerism and the heightened consciousness and commitment to environmental sustainability, arguing that these are directly reflected in consumers' attitudes to buying craft, thus generating more ethically-grounded value chains. The session will reveal that concerns and values-focused attitudes of consumers in buying craft are also reflected in the approach of makers. The data illustrates the importance to makers of a number of factors related to ethical making, including; the use of sustainable raw materials, ethical supply chains, recycled materials and Fairtrade materials.

The session will conclude with evidence about how best to stimulate, support and grow the craft market in the context of the findings.


Julia Bennett is the Crafts Council’s Head of Research and Policy. Her recent research commissions include Studying Craft 16, an analysis of trends in craft education and training; Innovation Through Crafts: Opportunities for Growth; and Measuring the Craft Economy, a set of proposals that resulted in DCMS including craft data in its economic estimates for the first time.