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The making of modern Scottish craft: revival and invention in 1970s Scotland.

Peach, Andrea


Andrea Peach


Alistair R. Anderson

Juliette MacDonald


The 1970s were a period of renaissance for the crafts in Britain, often referred to as a craft revival. The creation of national organisations and infrastructures to support craft, and define its identity, played a crucial role in this. The received craft revival narrative focuses on the Crafts Council of England and Wales, with its emphasis on raising the status of craft and promoting it as fine art, largely through the efforts the Minister for the Arts, Lord David Eccles. The narrative in Scotland was very different, and is a story that until now remains untold. Scotland had its own national agencies with responsibility for the crafts. But instead of having a focus on the arts, they were tasked with addressing Scotlands economic decline, and saw an opportunity to develop Scottish craft as both an industry and a product. The emphasis was not on promoting craft as fine art as in England and Wales, but rather on developing craft as commodity. Borrowing from Adamsons thesis that as a form of cultural production, craft is itself a modern invention (Adamson 2013 p. xiii), this thesis will analyse how Scottish development organisations in the 1970s attempted to promote and invent Scottish craft as an industry and product, and how those involved in the making of Scottish craft responded to this. In order to do this, it will examine the origins of the 1970s craft revival in Britain, the legacy of the invention of modern Scottish craft, and the two development agencies tasked with its invention in the 1970s: the Highlands and Islands Development Board, and the Scottish Development Agency. This thesis makes an original contribution by telling the Scottish side of the 1970s craft revival story. It also addresses wider issues that have received little critical attention in craft history, namely the relationship between craft and commodification, and the tension between modernity and tradition in the invention of modern craft.


PEACH, A. 2017. The making of modern Scottish craft: revival and invention in 1970s Scotland. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.

Thesis Type Thesis
Publication Date Aug 1, 2017
Deposit Date Feb 2, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 2, 2018
Keywords Scottish craft; 1970s; Scotland; Craft history; Craft reviva; Craft development; Souvenir; Cultural production; Commodification; Modernity; Cultural identity
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