As the end of the year approaches, we wish to take a moment to reflect on 2023 – a year that was characterised by dynamic collaborations within our network of 37 members from 22 countries. One of them was a study of the European Market for Crafts, the first of its kind and which maps out the €50 billion European crafts sector!
With two key EU funded projects well underway: ‘CRAFTING’ under the Creative Europe programme and ‘Tracks4Crafts‘ under Horizon Europe, we have been able to significantly expand our scope of activities and engage with new stakeholders to promote crafts.
Through the CRAFTING project, in 2023 we have awarded 27 financial grants to members for 16 networking events and 11 training activities, which which fostered new connections, skills and opportunities. Additionally, four Knowledge Exchanges: in Granada, with the National Reference Centre for Crafts; in Dublin, with the Creative Exchange Academy; in Stockholm, with the Swedish Crafts Centre; and in Rotterdam with Crafts Council Nederland, have, with almost 40 participants from our network, facilitating discussions on new ways of learning, training systems, curating crafts and advancing crafts education around Europe.
Education, skill development and promotion of the European crafts sector have of course been focus points of our activities and efforts this year. Events such as the WCCE Annual Conference, attended by almost 200 people; three New European Bauhaus webinars, viewed by over 1500 people; and the mass open online course (MOOC) on circularity & sustainability with Katie Treggiden, currently attended by around 150 participants, provided platforms for learning and networking. While activities, such as the first editions of the Creative Exchange Programme and Digital Training Programme, in collaboration with FabLab Barcelona and Distributed Design platform, as well as the Building Craft and Design Enterprise Programme with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland, fostered innovation and business skills of craftspeople. Furthermore, as one of the 15 partners in the project of EU Horizon, EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation, Tracks4Crafts, we aim to enhance the craft sector and the transmission of traditional craft knowledge on an even broader scale!
We are also very proud to have been a part of exciting events in 2023. During the European Artistic Crafts Days organized by INMA, we awarded 39 grants supporting activities that celebrate and preserve crafts across Europe, while vibrant international events like Contemporania and Révélations, showcased the diverse talents of the community.
In 2024, we look forward to two strategic surveys for sectoral data collection; two more New European Bauhaus webinars; the ongoing second edition of the Creative Exchange programme; European Artistic Crafts Days 2024; European Prize for Applied Arts and the WCCE Annual Conference, taking place in June in Barcelona, hosted by CCAM, as well as many more activities and projects. Stay tuned for more info coming soon!
Lastly and most importantly, the WCCE board and staff wish you, in the year 2024, to weave meaningful connections, shape creative endeavours and craft many exciting opportunities.
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