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The space in-between innovation and craft

Two women in discussion in front of visual note taking
Two women in discussion in front of visual note taking
Craft Innovation Salon, Chelsea College of Arts, 2019, photo credit: Ann Marie Newton
Written by
Post-Grad Community
Published date
29 May 2019

Deborah De Mello, Post Grad Community Ambassador studying MA Fashion Futures at LCF, reports back on a session exploring innovation and craft.

The second and final instalment of the Craft Innovation Salon took place on Thursday, 4 April in the beautiful Red Room at UAL’s Chelsea College of Arts. The workshop was a collaboration between the Crafts Council Innovation Strand, Central Saint Martin’s MA Innovation Management and UAL’s Post-Grad Community, its aim was to explore the space in-between innovation and craft, grounded in practice. The attendees of the event were a mix of UAL and other institution academics, craft practitioners, innovators, engineers and other industry professionals.

The workshop started with the presentation of three different craft practitioners showing various ways they had collaborated with industry. All the presentations illustrated the value that craft can bring to a collaboration. Different to what could be expected, craft is no longer a small practice that artists do by themselves. There are some collaborations between craft and industry happening right now and it is very exciting.

After that, the attendees were separated in four different groups. They were invited to think about their own practices and each group had to present their most interesting thoughts. One of the groups mentioned that a common mindset was procrastination. They said that a lot of times, craft practitioners and artists are so focused on perfection, that they never think their projects are ready. Many could relate to this.

Following this discussion, the groups had to combine two different materials, thread and paper, and create a model to present to the other groups. These material models were then used as a metaphor for a Craft Innovation model of collaboration. Each team then pitched their ideas - the level of professionalism of the presentations was impressive.

One of the things that many found interesting about this event was the presence of the scribe Josie Ford, from Studio Jojo. A scribe captures what is happening onto paper, and visually illustrates the content of the event. It was the first time many had seen a scribe in action. By the end of the event, everyone was taking pictures of the boards that the illustrator had created.

The workshop ended with a lunch and networking session. It was a lovely morning filled with interesting discussions about the future of Craft and Innovation. The feeling in the workshop was an overall excitement about where the future of Craft Innovation might lead us.


Post-Grad Community provides access to cross-college and cross-disciplinary opportunities, events and networking for postgraduate taught and research students at UAL.

Post-Grad Community worked with Ann Marie Newton, a student from MA Innovation Management at CSM and her contacts at the Crafts Council to deliver this session.