“Central London is still open and as special as ever” | A message from London Craft Week’s Guy Salter

The day before London Craft Week opened, I was holding my breath in case we got closed down by new restrictions. When the worst didn’t happen, then I worried that no one would turn up. Or we would get slammed for being irresponsible keeping the core of the festival physical, rather than going all online.

Now we are on Day Eight and with three more to go until we close (on Saturday), it is dawning on me that all these fears have turned out to be paper tigers. Actually we have ended up with over 200 live events spread all over the city, including much original international content. For example, Amazing China is an exhibition featuring not just a range of special pieces but their makers, who have come all the way over here. Of course we have had to adapt everything so we are safe, and part of that is many less people in one space at one time, but, not only have we sold out for many events but our visitors have shown great good humour and persistence with the new rules, even when having to queue in the rain.

We’ve also been selling. Our new flagship exhibition, 300 Objects, which – thanks to St. James’s – has a stunning location just off Regent’s Street, has proved to be a real hit and, with accessible QR codes and straightforward UX, means one can learn about an artist and buy their work in a few clicks, without having to touch a thing.  I’ve also noticed that people tend to be making a day or a half-day of it, combining dropping into some of our events with lunch or tea.  The common sentiment seems to be the joy of rediscovering simple pleasures, as well as seeing other people doing the same.

The reason I’m writing this is partly of course I’d love you to get to a few of our events if you haven’t already. But mainly because it seems to me that those of us who have a stake in central London need to come together to highlight how much is still open and as special as ever. There is no point in waiting for anyone else to do this for us.  Plus, we need to banish our fears and embrace for as long as we have to, a new way of doing things, which is safe and sustainable but also stylish, creative and different.

So what I’d like to suggest is a sort of collation across the spectrum of what makes our great city so unique; shops, cultural institutions, studios, iconic buildings, performing spaces, workshops and much more.  I know we aren’t used to working together and much of what we do seems so different but actually we have much in common, the most important of which is our visitors and customers.

If anyone thinks this a good idea please let me know and let’s see what we can achieve together.

Guy Salter, Chairman & Founder, London Craft Week
London Craft Week
@LondonCraftWeek

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