Craftspace and COVID-19

stitched words HOME and arrow on a printed map on fabric

Participant work from Making Mothers

Updates on how we’re working during the current situation Last updated: 1 July 2020

Like all other organisations, in these unprecedented and challenging times, Craftspace has been responding to COVID-19 in the best interests of its staff, artists and audiences. This is a critical time for the welfare of artists and cultural sector workers whose livelihoods and income is suddenly curtailed. Craftspace is honouring all fees and finding alternative ways to use talents and skills.

Although we have had to postpone much of our face-to-face programme activity until further notice, our team is actively working to rise to the challenge of re-thinking projects and adapting engagement with artists, communities and partners.  We know from participant feedback that engaging collectively in making has been important to their health, wellbeing and connection to others. Enforced disruption brings with it opportunity to test different ways of working. Some activity will move online so keep in touch via the website and social media for updates.

We have been researching and developing our new touring exhibition ‘We are Commoners’. It will highlight the acts of commoning which sustain thriving commons neighbourhoods in the UK and internationally. It will also show how craft skills and making are in themselves a form of commons which makes people more resilient. Now more than ever, in these times of crisis and enforced isolation, we need the commons and its associated values – a sense of community solidarity, social co-operation and shared resources stewarded collectively, responsibly and inclusively.

Whatever the level of skill, there are lots of resources online to help people make – for self-care, for fun, to keep anxiety at bay, to busy your hands and occupy your mind. Craft in Common was a physical residency in Balsall Heath Birmingham linked to ‘We are Commoners’ exhibition. In lockdown this has been reconfigured as an online resource for all to participate in.

Deirdre Figueiredo, MBE Director, Craftspace

We’re also sharing lots of free stuff you can do on our twitter, facebook and instagram pages. And we’ll be looking through our archives for interesting stuff to inspire you over the next few weeks. See our Get Involved page for more ideas of things to do.

Here are some resources you might find useful

The Arts Council have a support page which contains lots of information including their £20 million financial support for individuals. The Crafts Council have given everyone free access to Crafts Magazine’s 50 year archive.

Updates on projects: plans for the near future

Craftspace at The Future of Craft for London Craft Week

Planned for May – to be re-planned

Our exhibition at London Craft Week in April is postponed. London Craft Week have announced new autumn dates. However, owing to our existing commitments we won’t be able to participate. It is still our intention to present the exhibition at a future London Craft Week.

Making for Change Expo

Planned for May/June – postponed

Our new young creatives are working on alternative ways to tell the story of Making for Change: the activism, campaigns, ideas, issues, concerns, activities, artworks and messages generated by young people who have participated in the project since it began in 2014. Read more about our plans on the blog.

We are Commoners

Residencies – being re-assessed. Exhibition – to be announced.

Crafting the Commons Research Network – continuing online. We have been continuing to support artists with their commissions and liaising with venues to monitor the situation.  An announcement of the  launching date and venue will be made once known. The artist’s residency in Balsall Heath Birmingham with Alinah Azadeh has now moved online, the residencies in St Helens in partnership with Heart of Glass and Newtown in partnership with Oriel Davies Gallery and being re-planned. The Crafting the Commons  Research Network is continuing via online connections between participants and blog posts will continue. A workshop via zoom took place in May.


Weekly Friday session – postponed.

Workshops bookings – contact us for more information. Sales – postponed (for the moment). We will continue to work with Shelanu members through all means possible; to stay connected and share ideas, creative activities and plans until we can meet together again in person. Read more about becoming a member, booking workshops or buying their work during the next few weeks here.

Women’s Maker Movement

Sharing event – postponed. Workshops April – postponed.

The final sharing event to celebrate the achievements of cohort five will be rescheduled to take place jointly with the final cohort taking part in our two year programme. The final cohort of participants at Unity Hub has been postponed until further notice. We’ll be sharing more resources and updates of the project so far soon.

In:Site Festival

Exhibition, Birmingham Cathedral, September – currently going ahead as planned.

For Birmingham Heritage Week we are working towards an exhibition of artwork created during previous In:Site festivals. Responding to Birmingham Cathedral itself and exploring heritage themes, the exhibition will be accompanied by a workshop and talk on Saturday 12th September.

British Council Crafting Futures Craft Study Tour 2020

This is postponed from until a provisional date of June 2021 depending on travel restrictions and other impacts of COVID-19.

Craftspace Shop

Our online shop is open but delivery times are currently longer than usual. Items will usually be dispatched within 7 working days.

Supporting Craftspace – online shopping

As you may be doing more online shopping please remember to support your chosen charity through schemes like Easy Fundraising and Amazon Smile. You can donate to Craftspace through these schemes at no extra cost to you and find out more about other ways to support us here.

Where Next

The drag artist holds a bright fabric 'medal'.

Craft in Common for Black History Month 2020

We invited four early-career Black artists and one drag queen to make courage medals for a Black person they admire.

a row of 7 handmade fabric medals using various patterns and colours

Craft in Common

Craft in Common is a series of five creative online workshops with artist Alinah Azadeh.

A screengrab of the Making For Change home page.

Schools resources

A round up of our free resources available for schools in 2020.

stitched words HOME and arrow on a printed map on fabric

Digital Content Survey

We are carrying out a survey to better understand our digital audiences


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