March 2024

WCCE is pleased to present the findings of the Study into the Resilience of the Craft Sector in Europe. The research highlights how the sector responds to challenges and opportunities unique to its situation. Findings highlight the sector’s resilience in the face of economic instability, shifting consumer behaviours and global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine and Brexit. The study also identifies growth opportunities with increased interest in handmade, locally produced products as well as legislative changes supporting European crafts. The study reveals that the sector has demonstrated a strong commitment to their craft and a notable ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

 

Key findings from the study:

  • Craft makers have shown resilience and determination in overcoming challenges, with many embracing digital technologies, platforms and innovative business models, as well as inert sustainability principles to ensure their livelihoods, and notes the resilience and creativity of Europe’s craftspeople is their ability to adapt to changing situations.
  • No European regions or countries stand out as more resilient compared to others, which indicates consistent challenges faced across Europe. This highlights the need for a coordinated European approach to supporting the sector.
  • The study identifies significant opportunities for growth in the craft sector, including increasing customer interest in handmade products, legislative changes for European crafts, like introduction of new EU Geographical Indications (GI), and growing demand for sustainable and locally-made goods.

Based on the study findings, the report also offers concrete recommendations for policymakers, stakeholders and decision-makers on the European and national levels. These include: systematic support, like funding for creative and business development via grants, investing in education and training, fostering opportunities for collaboration and networking, as well as advocating for systematic policies by the European Union for the crafts sector.

This is the second study into the crafts sector we have commissioned at WCCE and it clearly highlights not only the challenges and difficulties, but also the mechanisms and contexts that make the crafts sector resilient and adaptable to them. WCCE will use these findings to continue to provide meaningful support and opportunities for craftspeople across Europe. We will also present them to decision and policy makers, in order to address the systematic measures, as per the study findings, that need to be put in place to ensure the stability of the sector and people, whose creativity and skills fuel it. »  – Laura Miguel Baumann, WCCE Secretary General

The study was conducted by a research team of four UK-based craft specialist consultants Claire Arnott (Claire Arnott Consulting), Carol Sinclair (Sinclair Wilson Ltd), Katia Stewart and Helen Voce, and is based on extensive surveys (285 respondents from 25 European countries) and interviews with craft practitioners and members of the wider craft community (galleries, retailers, educators and organisations).

The study will be presented by the research team at a special online roundtable Resilience of the Craft Sector in Europe on Mon, 15 April, at 12.30 CET as part of the New European Bauhaus Festival Satellite Events Programme. Register to attend HERE >>

Download the report HERE>>

 

The study was commissioned by World Crafts Council Europe within the Creative Europe co-funded project “Crafting”. It is the second in a series of five research projects which analyse the state of the crafts sector in Europe. First was The European Market for Crafts and the results were published in Autumn 2023. More HERE>>

Download the press materials HERE>>

 

 

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European Artistic Craft Days 2024 - WCCE Funded Events
European Artistic Craft Days 2024