South Australia’s craft sector is nationally and internationally renowned – as much for the strength of its conceptual and technical rigor, as for its community, and the quintessentially South Australian products it creates. In terms of profile and trade, the reputation of the state’s glass artists and makers is perhaps most significant, but the sector is also particularly strong in the areas of ceramics, jewellery, First Nations cultural practice, and more.
Together, the sector makes a vital contribution to South Australia’s identity and helps differentiate the state’s brand as a cultural and creative place to live, work, visit or engage. There are, however, significant concerns that this reputation and impact are at risk. The current state of play for South Australia’s craft sector is both complex and contradictory. Interest and participation in craft is on the rise, but unnecessary (and solvable) gaps and barriers mean this potential is not fully realised.
When we consider the additional challenges of the state’s recent bushfires and the escalating impact of coronavirus on working conditions and trade, the sector needs a timely, strategic response to weather the difficulties to come. This strategy provides a range of short- and longer-term recommendations designed to strengthen the craft economy at both a macro level (through education, infrastructure and tourism) and a micro level (by developing the careers of individual practitioners), in order to engender a thriving craft
ecology that positions South Australia at the heart of Australian craft innovation and culture.