Funded by


Crafting Connections


April & May 2022


In-person events in Gateshead, Sunderland and Newcastle, as well as online sessions

About this workshop


Crafting Connections is a new programme of workshops for North East craftspeople and designer/makers to explore the innovative potential of their businesses.

Through exploratory making, we will build a picture of the craft and design sector as it exists now, and imagine what it could be like in the future. By reflecting on craft and design practices, and introducing the possibilities of digital making, we’ll develop ideas for new products, processes, or services to benefit your business. This will include creative activities where you will share your experiences and connect with partners who will introduce you to useful resources, including the craft and design collections at The Shipley Gallery, and the FabLab at Sunderland University. The aim is to build new connections with others working in the region, and develop unique products or ways of working that enhance the craft and design sector in the North East. You will leave the workshop programme with new networks, ideas to move your own business and the craft sector forward, and a strategy for making your new ideas a reality

Lauren Baker

Innovation & Research Assistant , Creative Fuse North East

What might the workshops include?

This workshop programme is driven by the idea that through all kinds of making we connect and communicate with each other, and all the things around us. The workshops will include an introduction to makerspaces, places where you can access digital knowledge and equipment such as 3d printing, laser cutters, and digital sewing.

Through collaboration with others in the group, we will begin to form new networks and connections that can unlock a host of new possibilities.

By sharing our stories, we will be able to identify common experiences or concerns, and work together to think of ways of addressing them.

Imagining the future of our own practices and businesses, as well as the future of the sector, allows us opportunity to identify aspirations and to establish a strategy to make that possible future a reality.

The programme incorporates a number of partners whose expertise you’ll be able to draw down from, as well as establishing links with resources that may be useful to you in the future.

The overall goal of the workshop is to make space for you to think about your innovative potential, whether that be creating a new product, introducing a different process, or incorporating a whole new service.

Who is it for?

These workshops are for the founder/owner/managers of craft and design businesses based within the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area. This may include designer/makers, workshop facilitators, or retailers, etc who are interested in exploring the potential of introducing digital making technologies. The workshops may be particularly useful for businesses who are unsure of what the future of their business might look like; are eager to connect with other like-minded businesses in the region; want to explore new possibilities and need support to develop a plan for taking their business forward. The workshop will host a maximum of 8 participants.

When is it?

Please note that these dates and times are open to change.

  • Introduction Session: Held over Zoom – Wednesday April 27th 2022, 10am-12pm
  • Workshop 1: The Shipley Gallery, Gateshead – Wednesday May 4th 2022, 10am-1pm
  • Workshop 2: Hope Street Exchange, University of Sunderland – Wednesday May 11th 2022, 10am-1pm
  • Workshop 3: Held over Zoom – Wednesday May 18th 2022, 10am-1pm
  • Workshop 4: Location TBC – Wednesday May 25th 2022, 10am-1pm


To find out more about the ‘Crafting Connections’ programme please email

To register for this workshop series, please fill out this form.