November 8, 2022

Fired Up: The Future of Art Glass Aotearoa

Kia ora koutou,

Thanks to those of you who came to our Zoom last night, great to hear from you.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a summary of the project with more detail than we’re able to put on the MCH website.

The Backhouse has applied for funding for Fired Up: The Future of Art Glass Aotearoa, a programme to support the national art glass sector to thrive long-term and help emerging artists to enter the scene. We know it’s vital to welcome and develop new makers, so that the art glass continues to the New Zealand art scene in 20 years’ time.

The Backhouse is a Whanganui-based organisation which is a partnership between UCOL (the Whanganui branch of Te Pūkenga) and Whanganui & Partners (Economic Development Agency). The Backhouse is a centre for innovation, creative industries, entrepreneurship and education.

Whanganui is lucky to have a Council that is committed to art glass, with NZ Glassworks a Council facility, and with my role which supports the wider creative industries. We know that for art glass to flourish it needs to be a nationwide approach, and that’s why our application is for the benefit of the glass scene nationwide.

The application is focused on:

Masterclasses: Free professional and business workshops for NZ glass artists

These cover topics such as: marketing, social media, photography of your work, small business accounting, working with galleries, applying for funding. They will be aimed specifically at the unique way craft artists work and operate, easy to understand and put into practice. In person workshops will be held in Auckland and Whanganui, but each workshop will also be hosted online, so as many people as possible can access them. If you have an area you’d love to upskill in, let us know.

Internships: Support to help emerging glass artists become professionals

We know it’s hard for graduates to make the shift from student to working glass artist. The Backhouse has applied for a pilot scheme for two internships to be based at NZ Glassworks, with the intention to grow the internship programme long term to make it national.

Next Generation: Young people see art glass as a viable career path

We know high school students are not learning about craft and therefore are not considering art glass as a career option when they leave school. The Backhouse will develop a programme for high schools nationwide which will see students introduced to art glass through meeting glass artists, undertaking field trips to hot shops and workshops, as well as getting a chance to “try out” glassblowing through a VR experience.

Outside of the MCH application The Backhouse have a separate application with the Lotteries Community Research Fund for another part of Fired Up.

Education Revisited: Micro-credentials developed in art glass so there is a long-term training plan

This sees The Backhouse develop micro-credentials that can be used by glass studios around NZ that want to offer NZQA qualifications for workshops and training courses they run. We see this as one of the ways that art glass education can continue to be offered now that tertiary craft design and glass programmes are no longer offered.

The MCH funding is a chance to get some central government funding into the glass scene, which will help develop programmes to support the future. If you think this is a worthy project, you can take five minute to show your support by filling in a short survey here: Te Tahua Whakamarohi i te Rāngai Ahurea Cultural Sector Regeneration Fund Fired Up: The Future of Art Glass Aotearoa Survey (