Today I read the disappointing news that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is revising how it classifies the creative industries, and is set to remove ‘crafts’ as a category.
“We recognise that high-end craft occupations contain acreative element, but the view is that in the main, these roles are more concerned with the manufacturing process, rather than the creative process,” says the DCMS paper.
They state that the craft industry is too difficult to classify and they are unable to capture an accurate picture of this sector, using the methods of data collection they currently use. They are therefore removing it.
I am so frustrated by this. One, because it’s a lazy way out on the DCMS’ part (find another way to get an accurate picture of this sector!) and two, because the craft industry is BOOMING right now and should be wholeheartedly supported by our government for creating jobs, bringing manufacturing and creativity back to Britain and contributing to our economy.
The DCMS has also stated that with the growth of creativity in digital industries, they have to reclassify the other sectors to accomodate. I can understand this, of course the digital and technology sector is vastly creative and contributing in a similar vein to craft and arts, but I don’t see why they are giving more onus to that sector over another. Make them equal surely? Include them all.
In the interests of seeing this issue from a balanced perspective, I have read what the role of DCMS is and this is what they state on their website:
We are responsible for:
- making it easier for everyone to enjoy our national culture, play sport and have access to world-leading mobile and online communications
- making it easier for the media, creative, tourism and telecoms industries to grow by reducing restrictions, providing advice and supporting innovation, while protecting the interests of citizens
- protecting free access to cultural institutions, art and broadcasting that challenges and provokes, and funding our future elite athletes
- the Government Art Collection, which places art in British government buildings and official residences around the world, to promote British art and history while contributing to cultural diplomacy
We also lead on issues relating to women, sexual orientation and transgender equality matters through the Government Equalities Office (GEO), which is part of DCMS.
So, will the craft industry now sit outside these benefits and responsibilities? What support for growth and rights will craft now have? It’s incredibly unclear.
The Crafts Council are doing a sterling job in responding to these changes, and you can read how they’re doing this on their website. They’re in direct talks with DCMS at present, and are urging crafters to have their say. Please go and comment on Facebook or email the Crafts Council to make an input.
My real concern here is that we don’t yet know the true impact of declassification. As usual, the government does not state clearly how the changes it is making will impact those who miss out, only those who benefit. If anyone can enlighten me to the impact, I’m all ears.