Heritage Crafts Awards 2023 now open

by Mar 27, 2023Awards, Campaigning, Charity partners, Heritage crafts, News

The Heritage Crafts Awards are now open with six brand new awards for 2023. The Awards, which have been running since 2012, celebrate and highlight the traditional living crafts that contribute to British heritage. 

New Awards this year include a new Lifetime Achievement Award supported by the Marsh Christian Trust, to recognise a heritage craftsperson who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to their specific craft over 25 years or more. The Award celebrates a lifetime’s dedication to a particular traditional skill, resulting in a practitioner operating at the highest level, having made a significant impact on the continued high-esteem in which their craft is held.

Heritage Crafts aims to ensure that traditional craft skills are passed to the next generation. For this to become a reality it is vital to celebrate the young people who are embracing craft skills today, already demonstrating excellence and becoming the role models of the future. Therefore we are announcing five new awards for young people 25 and under focusing on woodworking (sponsored by Axminster Tools), upholstery (sponsored by Sonnaz Ltd), weaving (sponsored by Rose Uniacke), basketmaking (sponsored by Sims Hilditch) and metalworking (sponsored by Lucy and Laurence Butcher). We are grateful to all of our sponsors and supporters.

For those not under 25 there are a range of awards to apply for including Maker of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Trainee of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award. There will also be a non-restricted Woodworker of the Year Award opening in June sponsored by Axminster Tools.

Anyone, including the maker themselves, can nominate for this award. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 5 May 2023 and you can find out more about each award, as well as how to apply, at awards.heritagecrafts.org.uk. The award winners will be announced at a high-profile Winners’ Reception at Vicar’s Hall, Windsor Castle, on 15 November 2023.

List of awards open until 5 May 2023:


Two new bursaries for Black and ethnically diverse trainees

In partnership with Heritage Crafts, the City & Guilds Foundation awarded two new bursaries in November 2022 of Black and ethnically diverse trainees in heritage crafts. The round of bursaries was specifically focused on trainees experiencing financial hardship, as the UK undergoes the economic uncertainty of inflation, rising cost of living and spiralling energy costs.

Marcia Bennett Male is a London-based mid-career stone carver with previous training in architectural stone carving and stone masonry. Her bursary will allow her to take her career to the next level by training in portrait work, specifically how to use a traditional pointing machine for reproducing likenesses from a clay maquette. Marcia is determined to teach and pass on skills that are currently difficult for both her and her students to access in the UK.

Michelle Mateo is a Monmouth-based early-career basket maker, green wood worker and leather worker. Her bursary will allow her to train in split wood basketry, expanding her repertoire from ask to hazel and oak splint basketry, and to weave baskets in styles from the UK, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Spain and the US. Two forms of split wood basketry are currently listed on the Red List of Endangered Crafts.

It is still the case that the UK craft sector does not accurately reflect the diversity of the UK as a whole and, for this reason, we are taking positive action to target this bursary at Black and ethnically diverse groups who are currently under-represented.

Heritage Crafts and the City & Guilds Foundation believe that the value of our craft heritage comes from the diversity of skills and traditions across all of our communities, whatever their background.

City & Guilds Foundation Advocacy Lead Lauren Roberts said:

‚ÄúQuality skills development for all is at the heart of what we do at the City & Guilds Foundation. We are incredibly excited to be working with Heritage Crafts in their mission to support black and ethnically diverse individuals, and are very proud to support learners on their journey to be highly valued members of the heritage community.‚ÄĚ

Heritage Crafts Endangered Crafts Manager Mary Lewis said:

‚ÄúWe are thrilled to be working with the City & Guilds Foundation to provide bursaries for Black and ethnically diverse groups and help redress the historic imbalance of opportunity that has resulted from both overt and hidden discrimination within the heritage crafts sector. We are very excited so see the new generation of makers as much more reflective of modern British society.‚ÄĚ

We will open again for these bursaries later in 2023.

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