Pandemic ‘adversely impacting’ designers, says GC and DC

The ongoing pandemic is “adversely” impacting designer-makers across the UK, according to a recent survey carried out by The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council (GC and DC).

In response to the survey, the council is now set to announce a series of new initiatives to “support, connect and inspire isolated craftspeople during this time”.

In a survey shared with silversmiths, jewellery designers, manufacturers, apprentices and those working in allied trades, the council said it sought to understand the current needs, concerns and mood of its audience in order to best support them during the pandemic.

From its survey of over 120 respondents, it found that 37% are still designing day-to-day, 30% are working in “some capacity” day-to-day and 25% are focused on activities such as social media and accounting.

Meanwhile, 17% of respondents are using this time to plan for the year ahead, 10% are improving their website, 9% are undertaking online courses and 2% are currently furloughed.

In terms of daily working, 39% say they have access to their own workshop and 33% are working from home. However, 25% have no access to their workshop at all.

Industry-wide closures are also impacting how jewellers, silversmiths and the allied trades are functioning, the council has discovered. 

Of those surveyed, 28% say a lack of access to materials is having the greatest impact on their working, whilst 21% said that cancelled selling opportunities are negatively impacting them. Some 11% cited assay office closures.

In response, The Goldsmiths’ Craft andDesign Council is launching a series of online initiatives to encourage contact between its audience, supporters and followers, and “inspire creativity and interaction during this time”.

Peter Crump, chairman of The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council, said: “We recognise that our audience – from our past and present entrants and award-winners, to our supporters, judges and industry peers – are feeling the impact of more than a month in isolation. 

“In some cases, not being able to work is having a major effect on their wellbeing,” says. “In response, I am pleased to report the council will be hosting a number of online projects and talks to inspire people and help the reconnect with others at this time.”

The first initiative, #StayAtHomeStudio, is a social media hashtag encouraging craftspeople to share inspiring views and videos from their bench or workshop at this time.

The council will also launch a series of industry-led design briefs, including fine jewellery to silversmithing, with entered designs set to be presented through its social media platforms.

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