CANCELLED: Building communities of craft: Policy, practice and renewal

The Open University - London - 1-11 Hawley Crescent - Camden Town - NW1 8NP
Thursday 16 May 2019 (16:00-17:30)
Credit: Eleanor Shakespeare for the Guardian

Please note that this event has been cancelled

Today, craft is often associated with expensive coffee and cleverly marketed beer. But is this enough? This event presents diverse stories of craft work from people who have been at the forefront of bringing community to the centre of debate. Find out how they have created opportunities for skilled employment and community renewal and overcome obstacles to embedding craft work in businesses and societies.

The Open UniversityHighlights

  • Hear from four leading figures working at the heart of bringing craft work to communities
  • Engage in dialogue and debate about the importance of making in building communities and enabling social and economic renewal
  • Network with an invited group of interested craft practitioners, policy makers and researchers


  • Wayne Hemingway MBE, Hemingway Design 
    Wayne is an English designer and co-founder of Red or Dead. He is a member of the Design Council Trustee Board and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment Committee. Wayne is a Professor in The Built Environment Department of Northumbria University, and a Doctor of Design at Wolverhampton, Lancaster and Stafford universities. 
  • Julia Bennett, Head of Research & Policy, Crafts Council 
    Julia is an experienced research manager, policy specialist and strategist. She has worked independently with small charities and arts organisations, as well as for the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, the Local Government Association, the Minority Rights Group and a number of local councils. Recent research projects include Studying Craft, a retrospective analysis of trends in craft education and training, and Defining and Measuring Craft, a set of proposals which resulted in the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport including craft data for the first time in its economic estimates.
  • Sarah Corbett, Craftivist Collective
    Sarah is an award-winning activist, Ashoka Fellow and 'The Activist Whisperer' columnist for She founded the Craftivist Collective in 2009 to provide products and services to help individuals, groups and organisations do effective craftivism (craft + activism) using her unique 'Gentle Protest' which has helped to change laws, business policies as well as hearts and minds around the world. 
  • Saira Awan, Participatory City Foundation
    Saira is a Project Designer in Dagenham on the Every One Every Day project. Saira has been working as a creative freelancer for more than a decade, starting as a photographer. She now facilitates workshops, mentors, and curates arts-based projects focused on individual and community. 


15.45 – 16:00: Arrival and Sign-in

16.00 – 16.05: Introduction by Professor Emma Bell, The Open University 

16.05 – 17.30: Panel Discussion chaired by Dr. Scott Taylor, University of Birmingham

The audience is warmly invited to continue discussion with the panel in the Elephant’s Head, 224 Camden High St, next door to the event venue.

For any questions please contact Jodie Hopewell:

This event is sponsored by the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business.