DCMS Reclassification of Creative Industries will make ‘craft’ obsolete

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.

sewing machine spitalfields

“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.

Jen x

4 comments

  1. Lyn says:

    Craft people are seen as working from home and generating a profit for themselves, this government don’t want “home workers” as their hard work makes them money, this government wants people to work hard for faceless profit making companies..I would not mind betting that is what they mean when they say they want hard work to pay.

    • themakebox says:

      Interesting point of view. I’m about to venture
      Into the world self-employed so will have to see what I think on that in six months, though I have a feeling you might be right! Jen

  2. Lyn says:

    Will this stop crafters getting a grant,, they don’t mind self employed people, as it is they are good for business, agencies get paid a at least 2 thousand for people they find work for, also people on short contracts are easier and cheaper to get rid, no redundanties payments and if a perament job comes up they can’t go for as they are contracted to work, I also believe that some of the contracts have clauses that say hours and/or wages can be dropped within that year.

    It seems from what I am seeing a lot people of turning to crafts to make an income for themselves, this may be a way of stopping that.

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