Craft is not ‘other’

This concerns the recent news that the DCMS released a paper in April seeking to remove Craft from the list of recognised UK creative industries. In her piece for the Guardian, Julia Bennett at Crafts Council argues why this is shortsighted and denies the industry and its many aspects the recognition it deserves.

Official statement from Crafts Council:

The Crafts Council will be formally responding to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consultation ‘Classifying and measuring the creative industries’ which proposes ‘Crafts’ is removed from the categories.

The consultation on a revised classification of the creative industries will close on 14 June.

Owing to the difficulty in capturing an accurate picture of the craft sector through the methods of data collection and classification proposed by DCMS – ‘Crafts’ has been removed as a category.

The Crafts Council’s own research Craft in an Age of Change shows that the estimated craft-related income for contemporary craft-making businesses in 2011 was £457m (larger than spending on music downloads and only slightly smaller than London West End theatres) with a GVA of £220m.

Of the estimated 23,000 businesses, 88% are sole-traders, a number of whom will be under the VAT threshold and thus invisible in the methodology DCMS use to count the creative industries.

The remainder are discounted through other quirks of the international approaches to counting industry categorisation. Goldsmiths, jewellers, glass-makers, pattern-cutters, fashion designers and others are now loosely grouped together in, for example, ‘other’ or ‘manufacturing’ classifications which remain outside the creative industries data.

The Crafts Council has been involved in direct talks with DCMS in recent months and we continue to discuss this specific point with them. We are disappointed that our views have not been taken on board to date but we will continue to work constructively with them while seeking to change their views.

If you have any feedback on this consultation then please email by 1 June and we will reflect positions in our response where they are broadly shared.

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