The value of craft skills to the future of making in Australia

If Australia is to (re)build its domestic manufacturing capacity following over four decades of operations closing and/or offshoring, renewed support for training in at risk manual craft skills embedded and working in collaboration with industry and alongside digital technologies are essential to both innovation and capacity development. Today craft enables both niche and mass production, from small-scale but high-end custom bicycles to small, medium and large-scale textile manufacturing. However, in Australia, despite the emphasis on restoring the country’s sovereign manufacturing capacity following the supply chain interruptions of COVID-19, as well as wider geopolitical uncertainty and the climate crisis, much local production remains under threat on multiple fronts. Key among these is the loss, or simply a lack of, skilled expertise and thus opportunities for innovation in the Australian making workforce. In the digital future, craft skills embedded and working in collaboration with industry remain essential to innovation as Australia looks to develop more sustainable manufacturing.


This five-year mixed-methods Australian Research Council–funded project employed both quantitative and qualitative research methods to identify the craft skills required to sustain and grow future making. The primary aim of the project was to identify the essential embedded making skills that both enable the survival of current manufacturing as well as provide the foundation out of which the innovation necessary for developing sustainable future manufacturing can grow.


Read the final report

Final report

The final public report summarising key findings from the project is now available here.








Research team
Professor Susan Luckman
Dr Ash Tower

Project funding source
ARC Discovery Grant

Australian Government ARC Council logo

Key contact
Contact Prof Susan Luckman for more information.