'the shape of things' was a national craft initiative which supported culturally diverse artists to make and show significant new work; which developed new audiences for contemporary craft; and which stimulated debate about diversity in craft. This site provides a lasting legacy and archive for the main programme which finished in June 2012

‘the shape of things’ Documents

These are the key reports produced by 'the shape of things'. Other documents are in the archive pages

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  • Sharing the Impact

    Legacy document which summarises the initiative and what it achieved

  • Reflections by David Kay

    A detailed account of 'the shape of things' by its instigator, producer and Director, David Kay

  • Hybrid Evaluation Report

    Hybrid were commissioned by 'the shape of things' in 2010 to undertake an in depth evaluation of the programme

Tools and Publications

These toolkits and publications will provide support for developing and managing initiatives such as 'the shape of things'

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Arts Council's Creative Case

Commissioned by the Arts Council, this publication goes beyond criticism to propose a new concept of creative diversity to promote a culturally integrated British society.

Arts Council's reports on diversity

This link takes you to a list of Arts Council England's reports on diversity

Toolkits from Arts Council England

A range of toolkits from Arts Council England, many on developing audiences

Forming Ideas

Forming Ideas aimed to broaden and strengthen the debate around contemporary craft practice and to build national and international networks


Museumaker was a programme which unlocked the creative potential of collections through imaginative interchanges between the heritage and contemporary craft sectors

A Guide to Unlocking the Potential of Collections through Contemporary Craft

A comprehensive toolkit by Museumaker which explains in detail how museums and artist makers can work together on the creation of new work

Making it to Market: Developing the market for contemporary craft

This report represents the findings of a two-year long research programme by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre into the market for craft, with a specific focus on contemporary fine craft

Buying and selling craft

Information from the Crafts Council for people who want to buy and sell craft

Crafts Council research reports

The link takes you to the Crafts Council's research reports

Recording the Crafts

Recording the Crafts is based at the School of Creative Arts at the University of the West of England, Bristol and gathers materials which will act as a resource for those researching the nature of the crafts. These materials are usually in the form of digital video and sound recordings of people who have been intimately associated with the development of the crafts in Britain

Support Organisations

The organisations below provide support and information linked to the aims and values of 'the shape of things'

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Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people's lives


iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) creates exhibitions, publications, multimedia, education and research projects engaging with new ideas and emerging debates in the contemporary visual arts which reflect the diversity of contemporary society

Audiences UK

Audiences UK aims to further thinking in audience development and to disseminate information to help the sector's sustainability

Contemporary Art Society

The Contemporary Art Society develops public collections of contemporary art by working with Museums and Galleries across the UK


The National Society for Education in Art and Design is the leading national authority concerned with art, craft and design across all phases of education in the UK

Crafts Council

The Crafts Council's goal is to make the UK the best place to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft

Photograph of rosanfilmgrab

films: Rosa Nguyen

interview for 'Recording the crafts' archive...

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Photograph of David Kay

films: David Kay

interview for 'Recording the Crafts' archive...

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Photograph of Alinah Azadeh film grab

films: Alinah Azadeh

interview for 'Recording the Crafts' archive...

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Photograph of Acquisition of Craft

films: Acquisition of craft

a debate about buying and collecting craft...

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Photograph of Audience at New Walk Museum Art Gallery for Maggie Scott in converstaion with Bim Adewunmi

archive: Nuts and Bolts

details about 'the shape of things' from stats to the audience development framework...

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Photograph of Launch of The Shape of Things

films: Launch of 'the shape of things'

in 2010, chaired by Bonnie Greer...

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Photograph of Maggie Scott Private View New Walk Museum Art Gallery

exhibitions: New Walk Museum & Art Gallery

the exhibitions extended our crafts audiences and our audiences from diverse communities...

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Photograph of Tanvi Kant Touchstones Rochdale

exhibitions: Touchstones Rochdale

has a history of exhibiting work by Black and Asian artists and in the past has shown work by...

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Photograph of Rezia Wahid work in progress

exhibitions: Crafts Study Centre

Wahid's work is intensely personal. It communicates instantly her need to express...

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Photograph of Sophie Mutevelian the shape of things exhibition at Flow Gallery London

exhibitions: Flow Gallery

the exhibition here meant that the initiative could engage with a privately run gallery and...

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Photograph of Seiko Kinoshita installing work at Bilston Craft Gallery

exhibitions: Bilston Crafts Gallery

the experiment is running now, the reactants and their medium are selected...

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Photograph of Rosa Nguyen Bristol Museum Art Gallery

exhibitions: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

both sets of work are extremely moving and beautiful. An exhibition to engage both the emotions and the intellect...

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Photograph of Chien Wei Changin conversation

artists: Chien-Wei Chang

I want to prove that craft can step out of its domestic environment to engage with a wider public audience...

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Photograph of Maggie Scott

artists: Maggie Scott

is informed by a passionate engagement with gender and race politics...

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Photograph of Alinah Azadeh portrait

artists: Alinah Azadeh

this has given me time to examine the cultural legacy of my Iranian heritage and how that makes itself visible in my practice...

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Photograph of Halima Cassell in her studio

artists: Halima Cassell

just like the differently coloured and contrastingly textured clays hewn from the Earth we are all of one substance, despite our superficial differences...

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Photograph of Chien Wei Changs Masterclass

films: Chien-Wei Chang's Masterclass

with 3D Design Craft Students at De Montfort University, Leicester...

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Photograph of Tanvi Kant portrait

films: Tanvi Kant

at Origin 2007...

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Photograph of Chien Wei Chang New Walk Museum Art Gallery

archive: Blogs

when I record words, I create something; a tangible paragraph that no one else can replicate...

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Photograph of Disruptive Difference Symposium

archive: Disruptive Difference Symposium

I was introduced to new ways of thinking and practices, a fact that was amazing...

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Photograph of Rosa Nguyen in her studio

artists: Rosa Nguyen

describes how the fusion of her Vietnamese and French background and cultural experience...

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Photograph of Raimi

archive: Essays

the role of exhibition in provoking thought is at the core of achieving the ambitions for 'the shape of things'...

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Photograph of Seiko Kinoshita in her studio

artists: Seiko Kinoshita

came to the UK to follow her dream of becoming an artist...

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Photograph of Taslim Martin installing Rami at Touchstone Rochdale

films: Taslim Martin

installing 'Raimi' for his exhibition at Touchstones Rochdale...

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Photograph of An interview with Taslim Martin

films: Taslim Martin

interview in his studio on the eve of his show at Touchstones Rochdale...

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Photograph of Alinah Azadeh Bristol City Museum Art Gallery

films: 'The Gifts'

a quick tour of Alinah Azadeh's exhibition at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery...

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Photograph of Tanvi Kant portait

artists: Tanvi Kant

upholds the re-use, repair and value of handwork with materials sourced from her family and friends...

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Photograph of Timelapse installation of Chien Wei Changs exhibition

films: Chien-Wei Chang installation

timelapse of his exhibition installation at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery...

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Photograph of Seiko Kinoshita at work

films: Seiko Kinoshita

interviewed in her studio...

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Photograph of Halima Cassell in her studio

films: Halima Cassell

interviewed in her studio...

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Photograph of Maggie Scott in conversation with Bim Adewunmi New Walk Museum Art Gallery

films: Maggie Scott

in conversation with Bim Adewunmi, New Walk Museum & Art Gallery...

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Photograph of Maggie Scott talks about her work

films: Maggie Scott

discusses her work and members of the public talk about its impact on them...

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Photograph of Taslim Martin in his studio

artists: Taslim Martin

is interested in the sculptural potential of functional objects and investigating the notion of cultural identity and the artist...

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Photograph of Rezia Wahid at Disruptive Difference

artists: Rezia Wahid

we met just as I had started wearing the headscarf and was being seen as a 'muslim artist', which I am, but not just that...

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Photograph of crafts cover

archive: Press

coverage was generated locally, regionally and nationally...

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