In 2022 Craftspace engaged in a large-scale creative programme that celebrates our regions rich cultural identity. 4600 Gifts was a unique and ambitious project, making crafted gifts to welcome athletes, from around the world, to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022.

Residents from across the city were invited to community crafting events to take part in making these personalised gifts, reflecting Birmingham as a city of diverse skills, cultures and stories. 4600 Gifts exemplified a model that taps into social making and meaningful exchange between maker and recipient, one that locates craft within a form of ‘commoning’, activating the power of grassroots making and social cooperation. By joining our team of gift makers, participants supported this extraordinary project, to place gifts and messages of welcome—made by the people of Birmingham—into the hands of every visiting athlete.

Craftspace led this project with a team of artists and designers: Laura Nyahuye, Pottinger & Cole, Mahawa Keita and Kalandra McFarquhar. Working collaboratively, the team came up with a blank gift template, designed with recycling, repurposing and the use of locally sourced materials in mind. This template was easily embellished, adorned and fashioned by people taking part in a series of community workshops. The project illustrated that everyone has gifts to offer and, in re-inventing the idea of Birmingham as the ‘workshop of the world’, it demonstrated the power of making to build community.

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