Furniture Craft Education across the UK has been in decline for many years. Can we pull back from the abyss?
Joe has long been passionate about making, particularly in the field of furniture design and craft. Having spent 14 years teaching at Rycotewood in Oxford he became passionate about educating the next generation of craftspeople/makers. Over the past 20 years he has observed both the demise of undergraduate level craft programmes in the UK and the significant reduction in children learning craft in schools.
His travelling Fellowship, awarded by the Winston Churchill Fellowship Trust, enabled Joe to seek excellence in the USA and Europe and led him to some key recommendations for the future.
To be awarded the opportunity to ‘travel to learn’ was an incredible one for Joe! Accomplishing a Churchill Fellowship had been a long-term personal goal, and it allowed him to visit some of the most impressive institutions that offer furniture education in Europe and the USA. Often being camped within them for a two to three days, he was able to explore much further than the short introduction and tour you might expect on an open day, giving him a much deeper understanding of how they operate.
He was able to reflect on his observations to enquire further and subsequently learn much that could benefit himself, his teaching, and furniture education in the UK and beyond.
Joe set out to investigate how undergraduate furniture programmes developed skilful graduates and to look beyond study to understand how graduates are supported to become self-employed.
His conclusions have led to recommendations that range from reinvigorating crafts in primary schools to establishing a national standard of excellence for furniture craftsmanship; to inspire the next generation. Joe has established criteria for excellence in furniture craft education that all programmes should aspire to and advocates an international network of furniture educators and students to promote the subject of furniture and its craft.
We hope you can join us for this important educational presentation and to learn firsthand about Joe’s experiences and thoughts for the future of furniture education.