New Award at Cockpit Arts

An award to foster creative excellence and diversity in the craft world


Cockpit Award



This spring, The New Craftsmen launches an Award in collaboration with Cockpit Arts to open up opportunity and build greater diversity in the craft world, for a new generation of talented craftspeople.

Together, The New Craftsmen and Cockpit Arts are inviting creative, early-career makers to take up the opportunity of a three-year programme that includes a funded studio space at Cockpit Arts, financial and practical support, as well as guidance and mentoring from both organisations.

The Award will fund three craft makers over the next six years who demonstrate excellence in their work across furniture, lighting, artworks or other objects for interior settings. The recipients will have the opportunity to develop their business, become part of a thriving community of the country’s most inspiring creative practitioners, and build a relationship with one of its leading brands.

Cockpit Arts is London’s leading studios for contemporary crafts and the UK’s only business incubator for makers and designers, offering guidance to some of the country’s best makers to help transform their craft into a successful enterprise. The New Craftsmen’s expertise lies in helping makers realise ambitious, crafted collections, and secure stable returns on their work. In combining the value and experience of The New Craftsmen with the resources and experiences of one the most respected creative craft institutions, we hope to offer the best possible support to emerging talent.

To mark the launch, we commissioned Hannah Refaat, textile artist and embroidery specialist, to create a series of inspiring and energising visuals that chimed with the spirit of the Award. The vibrancy of Hannah’s textile-laden centrepieces celebrates the sacredness of a makers’ tools and truly captures the essence of craftsmanship.


Cockpit Award



“Craft is all about individual expression through process, skill and materiality, and access to this sphere should not be hindered. However, it has been made very clear that craft needs to do far more to enable access and support diversity and inclusion. As a business in the craft landscape, we felt that firm action was needed - which meant defining a long-term initiative committed to lasting and genuine change.” – Yelena Ford, managing director at The New Craftsmen

Laying foundations in support of a culturally-rich and diverse future for craft is a key goal. To ensure the intended impact is realised, the Award is directed and overseen by a group of craft experts who themselves have lived experience of the issues that the Award aims to address.

“For many practitioners, who like myself are from an ethnic background, it is important for a new generation of talents to see that having a successful career within the creative industry is absolutely viable.” – Lola Lely, designer-maker

The selection panel will include Lola Lely, renowned designer-maker and founder of Wax Atelier, Alexandria Dauley, interior designer and founder of United in Design, in addition to Yelena Ford representing The New Craftsmen and David Crump from Cockpit Arts. To ensure that the Award is being held to account and reviewed at every stage of the process, a Steering Group has been assembled consisting of gallerist Peter Ting; interior designer and educator Simon Hamilton; and jewellery designer-maker Disa Allsop.

“The Award to me shows an acceptance and recognition of the fact that there is an issue with under-representation of ethnic minority craftspeople and a will to address this in a tangible, positive and productive way. It opens the door to a new narrative and breaks down barriers to entry.” – Alexandria Dauley, interior designer

In addition, the Award enlists the support of a group of ambassadors from within the world of craft, journalism, education and curation. By combining our networks and voices, we hope to amplify the visibility of the Award, and also establish figures within the craft landscape that young talent can approach to seek further guidance and encouragement.

“I’m excited to be an ambassador of the The New Craftsmen Award at Cockpit Arts, fostering creative excellence in skill and artistic flair for ethnic diversity in the craft world. Now is the time to support and encourage young talent to expand and follow their dreams.” – Freya Bramble-Carter, artist, ceramicist, teacher

By launching this Award we hope to take a positive step towards dismantling obstacles to access, and enrich the landscape of contemporary craft with an abundance of perspectives, backgrounds and identities.

Please join us in spreading the word. To find out more or to apply, please visit Cockpit Arts.