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“A people’s art is the genesis of their freedom”

Deirdre Figueiredo, MBE

Director of Craftspace

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This slogan attributed to Claudia Jones, journalist, civil rights activist and community leader. The collective outward show, the ‘taking up’ and being visible in shared civic space – beyond the intimacy of home or private community space – is an important part of belonging. One of the most important determinants of happiness is being collectively engaged in community. These principles underpin the approach Craftspace enacts in working with artists and communities.

We value craft, skills and making as an important community asset that can be mobilised for social good and justice. Two current examples of our work include Shelanu craft collective with migrant and refugee women and 4600 Gifts for the Birmingham 2022 Festival in which the people of Birmingham are invited to make individual gifts for the athletes of the Commonwealth Games. Both projects explore the value of ‘collective’ and ‘co-operative’ making and a type of creative authorship which engenders a social return and unique co-created products infused with multiple perspectives and skills. Craft is activated as a powerful tool of social co-operation and agency.


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