Jeremy Broun Portfolio

how things can look. T he practical arts are an ideal vehicle for fos- tering a wide variety of life skills such as perse- verance, numeracy, a sense of history and ac- countability. There is no copy, paste and delete button or predictive text and patience is a key feature. The benefits are enormous and include what William Morris meant when he talked about regaining a sense of pride and ‘being at the scene of the crime’ in having a close rapport with the material and making process. I n the quest to make “craft” respectable, it has evolved into Design and Technology, which cov- ers a range of resistant and non-resistant mate- rials such as food, textiles, pneumatics, elec- tronics and woodwork. T his dilutes the purpose of the practical arts being physical (hugely important) whilst engag- ing the intellect. In overloading pupils (and their teachers) with such a broad curriculum in our panic about where we think the future jobs will lie and what children should know, many really valuable skills are skated over. ‘ C raft’ is a confusing and socially divisive term and sociology certainly plays its part. Despite the low status of the practical arts in schools the opposite has happened in society where grow- ing numbers of highly articulate upper middle class professionals change career to become designer makers making expensive one-off pieces (for example, furniture). Interestingly, in the past thirty years an underground movement (well, hardly anybody in Britain knows about it) of furniture designer makers leads the world in both quality and design and surpasses any pre- vious era. O ne way forward is to engage a broad spec- trum of people (including Fellows?) who pre- dominantly use their hands in their work to de- velop a low cost strategy for the next decade. Imagine a room full of plumbers, designer jew- ellers, motor mechanics, brain surgeons, seam- stresses and dentists with a bunch of social net- working savvy young kids thrown in to get peo- ple talking to each other and see what new thinking might emerge! Jeremy Broun is an internationally known furniture designer maker and author. He also lectures and makes films about the Practical Arts.