New Director for the
Crafts Study Centre

The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) announces the appointment of a new Director for the Crafts Study Centre (CSC), Dr Stephen Knott.

19 May 2023

Stephen is currently Senior Lecturer in Critical and Historical Studies at the University of Kingston, as well as Managing Editor for the Journal of Modern Craft, a role which he has held for over a decade.

Stephen says of his new role:"I envisage the Centre as a beacon within a wider constellation of bodies of craft research and advocacy and I am committed to broadening the reach, accessibility, and impact of the Crafts Study Centre through dynamic mobilisation of its impressive collections."

Stephen’s doctoral thesis on Amateur craft as a differential practice was carried out under the auspices of the V&A and the Royal College of Art and was supervised by Glenn Adamson (V&A) and Hans Stofer (RCA). This research was the basis for his important and influential book Amateur Craft (Bloomsbury, 2015), and he has also produced a number of other significant research outputs including chapters, papers, co-edited volumes and curation. In 2022 he co-curated the Craft Study Centre’s Presence and Absence, an exhibition that sought to decolonise narratives of studio craft and highlight absences in the Centre’s collections. He is currently in the final stages of completing his new book, Making in Free Time (Bloomsbury).

Stephen has a long association with the Crafts Study Centre having held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Modern Craft at UCA/CSC, which focused on the role of evening classes, part-time, and self-directed learning in the biographies and pedagogic philosophies of studio craftspeople represented in the Centre’s archive. More recently he has been a member of the CSC Acquisitions Committee.

Professor Victoria Kelley, UCA’s Director of Research and Innovation, commented: "The CSC offers the integrity and rigour of a focused and deep collection of modernist and twentieth-century craft objects and archives in a setting that is accessible and welcoming. It serves the University, the crafts community and wider society. We are delighted that, in Stephen Knott, we have found a new director who can further all these aspects of the CSC’s mission."

Edward Wates, Chair of the Crafts Study Centre Trustees, commented: "On behalf of the Trustees, I am delighted to welcome Stephen as our new Director. He brings a freshness of vision to the role which, in combination with his in-depth knowledge of the Crafts Study Centre, promises an exciting future built on secure foundations."

Stephen Knott will succeed Professor Simon Olding, who retired from the CSC last autumn and sadly passed away shortly after. The CSC is currently led by Interim Director Professor Lesley Millar. Stephen hopes to commence his new role on Monday 11th September, with a one day a week handover period commencing on 19th June.

The Crafts Study Centre is an accredited university museum, funded by Research England. Its collections are held by its Board of Trustees and it is housed in a purpose-built museum facility on the Farnham campus of the University for the Creative Arts. 

To learn more about the Crafts Study Centre, visit their website.

Stephen Knott