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Crafts Council Hothouse & workshops for makers

A Crafts Council programme of creative and business support for new makers.

Crafts Council Maker Development Workshops

Wednesday 1st March 2017
Harris Museum& Art Gallery, Preston

in association with the National Festival of Making

Book your place and more information

Workshop 1 (9.30-1pm)

Business planning and marketing strategy: How do I grow my creative business?

Advice on how to turn your creativity into a sustainable business, structuring a business, managing pricing and marketing.

Find out about how to visualise a business out of your making, from ideas to commercial products, to reaching your market

An introduction to marketing and how to set up a marketing plan

How makers can earn money from their creativity, simple administration and managing budgets and introduction to funding options

Advice and tips on social media and brand development to market your business

Workshop 2 (2-5.30pm)

Running a portfolio practice: How to manage your creative offer

As a maker do you wear lots of different creative hats?  Can you run a multi stranded business?  Have you mapped your skills?  Looking for advice on promote a range of work within your own brand?

How you can turn your many different creative hats into a creative business

Brand development advice on uniting your different ways or working or different product ranges under one brand

Industry expertise to offer advice in ways to manage and sustain a creative business.

Advice on applying to craft fairs and galleries, running workshops, and working to commission

Advice on managing your finances and cash flows

Who is speaking

The workshops are delivered by the Talent Development Manager from the Crafts Council alongside experienced makers offering their wealth of experience and knowledge to support you and your creative business.

Each half-day workshop cost £25 - attend both sessions for £40 (use promo code: CLCPD)


9.30 Workshop 1: Business Planning & Marketing Strategy
1.00 Break for Lunch
2.00 Workshop 2: Running a portfolio practice
5.30 END

Tickets and more informatio

Read more

National Festival of Making

A new kind of festival for a new age of making

The first National Festival of Making will take place in Blackburn, Lancashire on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 May, 2017.

An opportunity to see, make and do for residents and visitors to Blackburn town centre as The Festival of Making takes over the streets with music, markets, street food, art, performance, tours, talks and above all, an eclectic mix of making experiences for everyone.

Hothouse supports talented new makers at the start of their career.

Hothouse includes ten one-day workshops, a two-day residential, six hours of 1:1 mentoring and connects you to a national network of makers and organisations. It provides you with the tools to grow a sustainable and successful business when you need them most - at the start of your career. 

Hothouse has already supported over 200 makers establish a strong foundation for their business.  In their words Hothouse...

"... was invaluable, helped focus my goals and ambitions, moved my practice forward, created a support network of outstanding makers, kept me on track, widened my creative contacts, took my business in the direction, provided fabulous mentors and support, gave me life-long friendships"

More information & Apply

The story so far

Hothouse was launched in 2011 and since then over 200 makers have completed the programme.

Evaluation of the programme year on year shows that it has a transformative effect on participants and evaluation of Hothouse, who completed the programme  revealed;

  • 100% said Hothouse enabled them to think differently about their career direction
  • 92% understood the sector better
  • 87% could identify new skills/abilities learnt during the programme
  • 91% could identify next developmental steps
  • 96% had benefitted positively from being part of a peer group
  • vision for practice/business increased from 39% to 96% good or excellent
  • knowledge of business planning increased from 7% to 78% good or excellent
  • business judgement when assessing opportunities increased from 11% to 74% good or excellent
  • creative analysis skills increased from 29% to 78% good or excellent
  • ability to be entrepreneurial increased from 25% to 78%

Watch the Video


Crafts Cuncil Talent Development Programmes

Supporting makers across the UK

Talent is everywhere, but everyone needs a helping hand to reach their potential. The Crafts Council provides support for professionals within the craft sector from makers to craft curators and galleries. We encourage makers and curators to be ambitious, take risks in their practice and expand their artistic, technological and geographic horizons to deliver the highest quality work to the widest audiences.

We’ve supported the success of leading British makers over five decades. Crafts Council offers everything from bite-sized workshops to year-long programmes, for makers who are just starting out to those already well-established. We cover the essential topics for running a successful practice and craft business so makers can make the most of their talent, setting a standard for excellence and driving increased ambition and aspiration through the sector.

Hothouse is an intensive six-month professional development programme for emerging makers, which includes ten one-day workshops, a two-day residential, six hours of 1:1 mentoring and connects participants to a national network of makers and organisations.  

Injection is a year-long programme for established makers which provides tools to develop their aspirations for growth and embed sustainability and resilience within their business practice. 

Portfolio offers makers opportunities to develop their creative practice and professional portfolio through open collaborations with other professonals including technologists, engineers and scientists.

Talent Development Business Workshops and Masterclasses take elements from our existing programmes, as well as new features in response to needs from makers, to assist with business growth. 

Participants in all Talent Development programmes take part in on-going evaluation at key points during the programme and beyond in order to capture their journeys and outcomes. The information gathered helps us map the growth in the sector and provide advocacy to ensure all programmes maintain their relevance and impact.

Are you export Ready

These introductory workshops are tailored to craft makers who want to explore their export readiness and gain an understanding of the spectrum of international markets and shows. 

The workshops will introduce: 

  • Researching international markets – where to look; what to look for; identifying and navigating the globe.
  • Analysing the market and planning – how do you know it’s the right market for you and the right time for you?
  • Routes into markets: understanding the various approaches and types of opportunities available.
  • Sources of information and support available – who are the various bodies, what do they do and how might they help.

The sessions will include presentations by makers already working internationally, as well as relevant bodies such as the British Council, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), and individual dealers and curators.

The session will take place in: Portsmouth, Bristol, London and Sheffield.

Call for applications: Parallel Practices

In 2016 the Crafts Council will support two makers to undertake a six-month research and development collaboration to introduce craft-based learning to students at King’s College London. 

The makers will use their expertise to support students in experimentation and risk-taking using their hands in order to expand their learning experience.

Read more online and submit your application by Friday 15 January 2016.


Applications for Hothouse have now closed.

Hothouse is a national programme taking place in four areas across England and Scotland.

All of the cohorts are open to makers practicing in any craft discipline.

Hothouse is an intensive development programme for emerging makers

It includes ten one-day workshops, a two-day residential, six hours of 1:1 mentoring and connects you to a national network of makers and organisations.

Hothouse provides the tools in which to grow a sustainable and successful practice and nurtures a strong peer network between participants, mentors, course leaders and partners.

It runs in partnership with regional organisations, including Higher Education Institutes, galleries and development agencies.

Hothouse also gives you the knowledge and skills to:

  • understand your creative business and set goals
  • build a professional development plan
  • identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks
  • understand potential markets 
  • gain the confidence to promote yourself and your business
  • find, meet and get involved with the right people
  • understand financial planning, costing and pricing

Watch the Hothouse film

For more information and updates visit the Hothouse blog.

Hothouse is a free programme of professional support for craft makers, delivered by the Crafts Council and partners and run over the course of six months.

Hothouse provides makers with the tools to grow a sustainable and successful craft practice and helps nurture a strong peer network.

In the words of the 123 makers who have completed the programme to date, Hothouse was...

"... invaluable, helped focus my goals and ambitions, moved my practice forward, created a support network of outstanding makers, kept me on track, widened my creative contacts, took my business in the direction, provided fabulous mentors and support, gave me life-long friendships"