Derby Museums has begun a new partnership with Heritage Crafts, launching the first of many workshops in its Craft Skills for the Future programme to inspire young people to become craft-makers.

Young people are encouraged to discover making and develop their creative skills, with Derby Museums and Heritage Crafts co-producing a vibrant programme of craft workshops and courses throughout the year, designed to enthuse and encourage young people about the possibility of craft as a career.

The programme, which takes place at the museum, builds on Derby Museums’ established STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) learning offer, supported by industry partners Rolls-Royce and IMI plc to develop relevant skills for a future workforce.

Students from primary and secondary education are invited to participate, as well as school leavers and those not in education, employment or training up to the age of 24.

Great British Life: The new programme enables young people to explore crafts as a potential career option (Emli Bendixen-Art Fund)The new programme enables young people to explore crafts as a potential career option (Emli Bendixen-Art Fund)

The Museum of Making, which celebrates Derby’s rich 300-year history of making and innovation, provides the ideal backdrop, with those taking part offered access to the museum’s unique studio and workshop spaces as well as gaining from one-to-one support from the museum’s specialist tutor-technicians.

‘The Workshop is at the heart of the Museum of Making project,’ explains Steve Smith, workshop and studios manager.

‘Fitted out to deliver authentic and practical making activities, the comprehensive nature of workshop spaces enable the Museum of Making and Heritage Crafts to develop contemporary, practical craft-related programming to engage young people.

‘The Museum of Making also has versatile studio spaces for young makers, which can be utilised for making projects including ceramics, jewellery, woodworking and textiles. We are really excited to partner with Heritage Crafts, enabling these facilities to be used by more young people who will experience the benefits of making and hopefully see themselves as future craft-makers.’

‘Through the partnership, we want to inspire young people from all backgrounds to be proud of their civic and creative heritage and to experience this heritage first-hand through experimenting in our workshop and maker spaces,’ adds Catherine Putz, Derby Museums’ director of programmes.

‘We want to provide them with new opportunities to discover practical skills in making and innovating, to show them they have many more options and potential career avenues than they may have realised.’

Great British Life: The Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill (Ashley Franklin)The Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill (Ashley Franklin)

The programme’s first workshops took place in late March, with secondary school students invited to try rug-making and tapestry, led by established crafts practitioners, Denzel Currie and Abigail Wastie.

These workshops bring participants face-to-face with craft professionals and, alongside experimenting with materials and techniques, will encourage them to think about the possibilities of craft as a career.

Craft Skills for the Future: Empowering the Next Generation – a special seminar at the Museum of Making, run by Heritage Crafts on the same day - also bring together heritage craftspeople, educators, policymakers and young people to discuss how the interests and perspectives of young people can be reflected in the decision-making to safeguard craft skills for the future.

‘Our mission is to support and promote crafts as a fundamental part of our living heritage,’ concludes Daniel Carpenter, executive director of Heritage Crafts.

‘We believe the value of our craft heritage comes from the diversity of skills and traditions across all our communities.

‘The next generation faces unprecedented challenges in relation to the environment, economy and what constitutes fulfilling and ethical work in an ever more populous world.

‘Among the tools they will need to face these challenges are the knowledge, skills and practices that have been built up over generations by heritage crafts practitioners.’

Young people and education providers wishing to take part can contact Derby Museums at