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Craft 4.0 wins Erasmus+ funding for new technologies project

Posted: 8 January, 2019

Dublin School of Creative Arts has been awarded significant funding under the EU Erasmus+ programme.

The School is the lead partner on Craft 4.0.  The project is a collaboration with partners from Italy, Romania, Sweden, Spain, the UK and Bulgaria.  It will investigate how new technologies such as 3D printing can enhance the Craft Sector. 

Craft 4.0 aims to develop a digital training platform and peer network for the Craft sector in the area of digital modelling, digital manufacturing and additive manufacturing processes.  By improving digital competences in the sector, the objective is to develop product design and development skills, enhance the craft-making process,  increase customer engagement and develop individual craft businesses.

John Walsh, Assistant Head, Dublin School of Creative Arts,  is Project lead and Principal Investigator of Craft 4.0.  He believes strongly that craft enriches our society and economy across diverse sectors. "The craft sector plays a crucial role in local economies in the EU.  In some of the most advanced urban areas  it is rooted in a network of city workshops that contribute significantly to culture, trade and tourism. Equally in rural economies craft plays an essential role in developing industry and providing sustainable local employment. Beyond its economic value, education in and through craft contributes to cognitive development and engages learners. 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."

While acknowledging that there may appear to be a conflict between the machine/computer and hand-made, where historically the machine has represented a threat to Craft, Walsh believes that these tools can also enable the creation of 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 in development of the design and making process. The emergence of affordable digital manufacturing and fabrication tools have 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 4.0 project has received funding of €316,000 through the EU Erasmus+ programme.