The Creative Dimension Trust offers workshops and work experience opportunities designed to give talented young people the skills and confidence to pursue a career in which core hand skills – i.e. a high degree of manual dexterity, draftsmanship and the ability to understand and (re)construct 3-Dimensional structures – are prerequisite.
Workshops are taught by craft specialists who are acknowledged leaders in their professions. These are not kid’s art courses – the goal is to learn, experiment, gain confidence, take inspiration from the best, and have exposure to career opportunities. Students gain an awareness of what is possible, and how to achieve it.
Participation in arts subjects is on the decline in both secondary and higher education. Data suggests a move away from material and equipment intensive teaching, and thus a reduction in the focus on 3D learning. The decline in uptake of arts subjects in schools has been associated with the introduction of educational performance frameworks, perceptions of the value of arts education among pupils and parents, and a political emphasis on STEM.
Crafts promote precise hand-eye co-ordination, and the ability to understand and construct 3-dimensional shapes – core skills for any young person considering a career in architecture, design, surgery or the engineering and construction industries.
Roger Kneebone, professor of surgical education at Imperial College, says young people have so little experience of craft skills that they struggle with anything practical. He warns that medical students “might have high academic grades but cannot cut or sew.”
In November 2019, the Crafts Council project ‘Supporting Diversity and Expertise Development in the Contemporary Craft Economy’ reported barriers for people in minority groups to become professional makers which are social, cultural, and economic. It concludes that “For those who are not from a relatively privileged background or with the necessary networks and educational level, it is particularly difficult to make a career and be adequately recognised in the sector.”
While extra-curricular courses and networks support and nurture talent in activities such as music or sport, there is no equivalent for crafts. Industry professionals recognise there is a particular gap in the school curriculum for two of the core skills taught on TCDT workshops – hand skills and visual sensitivity. Other skills such as organisation and planning, focus and concentration, and teamwork apply to professional practice in general.
Our work is entirely dependent on the generosity of others. Everything we do requires collaboration, partnership and goodwill.
If you would like to help us in any way, please contact us.