The Crafts Study Centre at the University for the Creative Arts is a museum of 20th century and contemporary British crafts. Its collections include ceramics, wood and furniture, textiles (print and weave) and calligraphy and lettering. An understanding of these collections is supported by a large and growing archive which includes the papers of makers, and organisations such as guilds and selling galleries. Represented in the centre’s collections are some of the leading names of the early modern crafts movement such as the potter Bernard Leach, the textile artists Barron and Larcher and Ethel Mairet and calligrapher Edward Johnston. More recently and with the support of a Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Collecting Cultures’ grant, it was able to acquire the archives of the letterer Ralph Beyer, the furniture maker Alan Peters and Peter Collingwood’s collection of woven textiles.
In 2000 the Centre was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) to deliver a three-year project to digitise key objects and archives in the collection, and to develop a suit of essays written by experts in each subject area. Over 5000 images are now available from across its collection. These images and their associated catalogue records are available on the Visual Arts Data Service’s website (http://www.vads.ac.uk). The Centre has also been funded by JISC to create collection-level descriptions of its archive holdings for delivery on the Archives Hub (http://archiveshub.ac.uk)
The SCARLET+ project will enhance understanding and access to the Crafts Study Centre collections through the creation and delivery of material associated with Augmented Reality (AR) technologies. By working across academic teams the aim is to embed material in the Project that will relate to taught activities at the University for the Creative Arts, thus increasing the pedagogical value of the selection. The long-term aim, as AR technologies become embedded in the University will be to extend this to as wide an audience as possible through its applications to the Centre’s exhibition programme so that both students and public alike will benefit.
Written by Jean Vacher, Collections manager