Director of Birmingham arts charity honoured with MBE

Director of Birmingham arts charity honoured with MBE

“I am delighted that our efforts to support craftspeople, young and disadvantaged people of all ages to develop through creativity has been recognised as having a value in society”

Craft is not just a commodity. I believe the crafts also have an important role to play in building social and cultural capital as well as strengthening and revitalising communities.”

Deirdre Figueiredo.

Deirdre received her MBE in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The receiving of a beautifully crafted medal made in Bromsgrove is particularly fitting and reflects the continuity of traditional skills in the West Midlands. Craftspace exists to ensure that people have the opportunity to learn and think through making. Deirdre actively promotes the importance of craft skills in schools and communities as a way of developing enterprise and other transferable cognitive skills that employers are looking for.

Fiona Toye, Chief Executive of Toye, Kenning and Spencer whose products include medals and insignia recently said “we have to attract young people towards the crafts at the heart of our business”. Craftspace projects such as Craft=Skills for Life recently exhibited at the Houses of Parliament is engaging secondary school pupils, particularly boys, in practical learning.

Deirdre has contributed to the development and promotion of the Visual Arts in the UK for 21 years with a focus on contemporary craft for the past 13 years through her leadership of award winning arts charity Craftspace in Birmingham. Current projects include the setting up of a crafts social enterprise in collaboration with The Community Integration Partnership who work with refugee women and Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution, a nationally touring exhibition curated with Helen Carnac.

Matthew Rhodes, Chair of Craftspace Board said “I’m delighted Deirdre has received this well-deserved honour. Her leadership within the Visual Arts and strong advocacy for equality of opportunity is distinctive. She has built Craftspace into an organisation that goes well beyond promoting and developing contemporary craft to show just how powerful and positive the art and practice of making can be in anybody’s life, particularly those people who may otherwise feel excluded. It is an unique combination and achievement and one that should inspire us all”

Deirdre highlighted the creativity and skill of making by commissioning a hand made dress from designer maker Kei Ito

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