Crafting Futures is a British Council global programme supporting the future of craft; its practices and people. In 2019, British Council launched Crafting Futures in China, aiming to foster international opportunities for UK and Chinese women artisans, explore sustainability and innovation across the craft sector and drive change among younger generations.
Partnering with cultural enterprise Fangsuo Commune, British Council invited emerging UK designers, Odette Steele and Abbie Adams to Chengdu in Sichuan Province and Jingdezhen in Jiangxi Province for a 6-week residency. The programme offered a unique opportunity to engage with traditional embroidery and ceramics artisans, collaborate with local craft students and engage audiences through special exhibitions and local media coverage. Following the residencies, participants will continue to research, develop and design sustainable and innovative craft projects, working with UK and Chinese craft practitioners.
As described by Odette Steele, ‘Crafting Futures added the traditional craftsmanship to creative practices. I have developed long-term partnerships with the people and corporates I met in the programme for future collaborations.‘
Fangsuo Commune commented: ‘The project enables us cultural enterprises to engage with international networks and facilitate the innovation of traditional crafts. It generated long-term impact for craft professionals and organisations to gain international access. ‘