NewsUCA Farnham

British Council awards Crafting Futures Grant to UCA

Professor Lesley Millar and Professor Simon Olding, from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), have been awarded funding from The British Council for their research project Re-configuration of textile tradition through a contemporary collaboration between Georgia and UK’.

Working in collaboration with the Crafts Council, the British Council awarded the 2019 Crafting Futures Grants to projects, people and international collaborations that explored new ideas to support the future of craft 

There were more than a hundred applications for this year’s open call, with only eight research grants awarded. The grants have a value of up to £5,000 each and allow for travel overseas to meet with other craft communities and undertake projects together.

Kendall Robbins, senior programme manager from the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme said: “We had a 150% increase in applications from last year’s round with proposals from all kinds of practices – print-making, ceramics, earth-building, fashion, basketry and more. The number of applications demonstrates the significance of the craft sector in the UK, and the desire to come together to collaborate and exchange.

“There was an overwhelming theme amongst applications around how craft could be pivotal in addressing global challenges, such as climate change, social inclusion, the reduction of inequalities or peace-building. It paints a really exciting future, where craft and making are integral in shaping the world.”

Lesley Millar MBE is Professor of textile culture and Director of the International Textile Research Centre at UCA, working with Professor Simon Olding, Director of the Crafts Study Centre (CSC) at UCA.

Tinatin Kldiashvili, Georgian artist for Crafting Futures Project

Tinatin Kldiashvili Georgian artist for Crafting Futures project

Through their Crafting Futures project, they will develop a partnership with the Georgian Arts and Craft Centre and the Tbilisi State Academy and address how historic textiles, such as Georgian Blue Cloth, may be re-imagined through contemporary analysis, fabrication, and reworking. Two contemporary textile artists - UCA PhD student Linda Brassington, whose research is concerned with indigo dyeing and Georgian Professor Tinatin Kldiashvili who is Head of Textiles at Tbilisi State Academy of Arts – will aid them on the project.

Using this international collaboration as a case study, they will look at how this approach could offer a new model of working to bring traditional textile practice into a contemporary light and reignite its cultural meaning, identity and significance. 

“Simon Olding and I are delighted and excited to have the opportunity to work with the Georgian Arts and Culture Centre and Tbilisi State Academy of Arts thanks to the British Council Crafting Futures Grant. We have both wanted to work with Georgia for some time and now it will be possible,” said Prof Millar.

“Georgia has a rich and long tradition of craft that is not well known in the West and which is looking to bring to international attention, particularly in the area of contemporary textiles, and we’ve chosen traditional Blue Cloth as the starting point.”

To learn more about UCA’s research centres and projects, visit Research at UCA.

To find out about studying crafts at UCA visit the subject pages.