Design Crafts for the Future

Historically much of Craft has originated from a motive of problem-solving for example “I need a vessel to put food into”, the same problems face all people but we have a myriad of solutions. Contemporary Craft has a greater diversity of motivations from the utilitarian through to self-expression but the thread of problem solving and unique approaches and outcomes remains.

The diversity of Craft practice ensures that Craft remains alive and relevant in contemporary society. It affords scope for self-expression, a statement of creativity in a society dominated by mass production.


Our Design Crafts course at Swansea College of Art allows students to tap into this rich heritage and to develop sound making and design skills underpinned by contextual and theoretical studies. Our workshops boast an outstanding range of specialist equipment for glass, ceramics and jewellery, supported by a comprehensive array of general and digital workshops.

At Swansea College of Art, we value and uphold traditional craft-making skills and processes.  We also take the best that research and technology has to offer.  Students are introduced to designing using the latest 2D and 3D CAD software and have access to a host of equipment including a suite of laser cutting machines, 3D printers, CNC plotters and a waterjet cutting machine (capable of cutting everything from paper, through to 160mm thick titanium).

The UK has a world-wide reputation for creative and innovative Craft and Design, with graduates from these sectors in high demand across a range of industries. As stated in a recent Guardian newspaper article ‘companies ranging from Adidas to Ikea have set up design units based on the craft innovation model’.

To give our graduates the best start, entrepreneurship is embedded within the course, with wide-ranging discussions of the diverse approaches to developing and sustaining a creative practice as well as finding routes to employment within the immediate sector and beyond.  This is enhanced through regular lectures from visiting practicing makers and associated professionals.

Students who graduate from the Design Crafts course will have strong making skills which can be adapted to a wide range of employment opportunities. Careers in this area include:

Independent or collaborative craft, artist, maker, jewellery design, glass artist or ceramic designer, exhibition design and restoration and conservation… as well as the wider careers associated with manufacturing, material knowledge and construction.

The Design Craft course reflects the aspirations of cultural organisations such as the Crafts and Arts Councils as well as EU policy.

An education in craft develops creativity, inventiveness, problem-solving and practical intelligence. It also produces the makers of the future.

Craft currently contributes £3.4 billion to the economy and over 150,000 people across the UK deploy craft skills within a number of industries including fashion, film, medicine and engineering. [Craft Council: An Education Manifesto for Craft and Making]


A recent article from NSEAD discusses “In life ‘knowing how’ is just as important as ‘knowing that’. Art, craft and design introduces participants to a range of intellectual and practical skills. It enables learners to use and understand the properties of a wide range of tools, machines, materials and systems. It provides children, young people and lifelong learners with regular opportunities to think imaginatively and creatively and develop confidence in other subjects and life skills”.

With a sensitive balance between hand making and use of digital technology specifically for material making, this course delivers sound material, technical and creative learning for young people to design and make for the future.

We’re always keen to hear from fellow educators, to share our passion for Design and Craft, so please do get in touch with our Programme Director Cath Brown if you’d like to find out more.

Hwb - Creative Learning