Dublin School of Creative Arts is delighted to announce that it has been awarded significant funding under the EU's Erasmus+ programme. The School is the lead partner on Craft 4.0 which was awarded a €316k in funding. The project is a collaboration with partners from Italy, Romania, Sweden, Spain, the UK and Bulgaria which will investigate how new technologies such as 3D printing can enhance the Craft Sector.
On face of it there may appear to be a conflict between the machine/computer and hand-made, where historically the machine has represented a threat to Craft. However, these tools can act as enabling factors in the creation for forms, objects and craft products. Digital tools, computers, software, imaging, and modelling technologies are stretching the boundaries of making both in terms of creating form and development of the design and making process. The emergence of affordable digital manufacturing and fabrication tools are acknowledged as having the potential to radically reshape contemporary craft practice, production and consumption. Furthermore, although machine made, these processes allow for the production of unique, bespoke, personalised and made-to-order design objects and artefacts which are all key elements of the Craft product whilst allowing for localised, independent, small scale manufacture.
The craft sector plays a crucial role in local economies in some of the most advanced urban areas in EU, where it is rooted in a network of city workshops that traverse and contribute significantly to culture, trade and tourism. Equally in rural economies craft plays an essential role in providing sustainable local employment and industry. Beyond economic value, education in and through craft contributes to cognitive development and engages learners. Through engagement with materials and ideas, making develops creativity, inventiveness, problem-solving and practical intelligence, as well as fostering wellbeing and being a vital part of being human. Furthermore, according to the World Craft Council (An Education Manifesto for Craft and Making 2014), craft enriches our society and economy in many ways with makers contributing to sectors as diverse as engineering, medicine, technology, architecture, fashion and design.
Ultimately, Craft 4.0 aims to develop a digital training platform and peer network aimed at the Craft sector in the area of digital modelling, digital manufacturing and additive manufacturing processes with the purpose of improving digital competences in the sector, develop product design and development skills, enhance the craft-making process, increase sectoral networking locally and internationally and increase customer engagement, with the purpose improving and developing individual craft businesses.
John Walsh, Assistant Head of School at Dublin School of Creative Arts is Project lead and Principal Investigator of Craft 4.0.