ARC Discovery Projects grant recipient, Professor Susan Luckman, based at the University of South Australia, has examined the economic opportunities and social impacts of Australia’s growing multi-million-dollar craft economy.

Online distribution and the rise of social media marketing have empowered many creative, craft-based micro-enterprises. Professor Luckman’s research team interviewed 20 peak body and industry organisations, 81 established makers, and 32 recent graduates around Australia, following the emerging makers’ progress as they sought to establish their careers.

Outcomes from the project are a number of recommendations for policy makers, including broadening the eligibility of recipients for the Commonwealth New Enterprise Incentive Scheme and instating grant schemes to support collaborations between industry and creative micro-enterprises to expand, strengthen and support the design-craft sector.

Professor Luckman says that it makes sense to support and foster the sector through education and training schemes, in order to ensure it grows into a sustainable and vibrant part of the Australian creative and manufacturing landscape into the future.

Investigations revealed that the biggest challenge for these micro businesses is being able to balance the creative aspects with the business skills and market profile required to turn great products or ideas into income.

Image: Craftmaker, Gill Cordiner.
Credit: Rosina Possingham Photography.