Funded Travelling Fellowships for Crafts and Makers

Published: 6 May 2016

Funded Travelling Fellowships for Crafts and Makers

In 2017, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust will be investing around £1.3 million in British citizens, by awarding 150 Travelling Fellowships.

This will directly support British citizens who want to travel overseas to gain knowledge, experience and best practice to benefit others in their UK professions and communities, and society as a whole.

Travelling Fellowships will be awarded in the Crafts and Makers category, and the application process is now open.

There are an estimated 11,620 businesses involved in the craft industries, with 88% of craft businesses being sole traders1, meaning that the crafts industries make a key contribution to the economy, as well as to the preservation of traditional skills.

We are awarding two Travelling Fellowships to Carpenters and Joiners as part of a partnership with the Worshipful Company of Carpenters. We are also collaborating with Heritage Crafts Association for the third year. These partnerships have so far seen 20 Fellowships awarded, an investment of over £115,000 in British citizens.

Anyone practicing or supporting those working in the Heritage Crafts, such as crafts people, members of a group, society or guild, and anyone who cares about traditional craft skills, is encouraged to apply.

Siân Evans is one of the few remaining decorative coppersmiths in the UK. She was interested in connecting with similar craftspeople in other parts of the world, and in 2011 travelled to France, Greece and India to study ancient artefacts and the origins of Smithing at first hand. In Villedieu-les-Poêles in Normandy, known as the town of coppersmiths, she met people who were practising traditional metalwork brought to France by the St Johns Knights of Malta in the 12th century. Siân also spent time at the British School at Athens researching and studying the most ancient copperwork in world-class museums. Her trip was concluded at Swamimalai in Tamil Nadu where she worked with Chola bronze statue sculptors, to understand more about the earliest forms of metal casting. Since her Fellowship, Siân won a 2014 Craft and Design magazine Finalist Award in the 'Wood and Metal' category, and she has given talks about her Fellowship findings. As a solitary practitioner of an unusual craft, she discovered for the first time an extraordinary sense of camaraderie, both with the coppersmiths she met on her travels and with the ancient craftspeople whose work lives on, which will help her realise her dreams of preserving the art of coppersmithing here in the UK.

Among those travelling this year, in this category, are:

  • David Wilson, an artist and designer from Perth. He will be travelling to Canada and the USA to explore stonework practice and techniques.
  • Edmund Jacobs,a furniture designer and maker from London. He will be travelling across Europe to explore sustainable manufacturing and design techniques for bespoke furniture.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the commitment, the character and the tenacity to travel globally in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK, and upon their return work to transform and improve aspects of today’s society.

A travelling sabbatical for people with the drive, determination and desire to help others, can further their leadership and role model abilities.

Employees who are awarded Fellowships bring great benefits to their employers, not only in terms of the positive impact on their personal development, but also with the advantage of their enhanced knowledge, new ideas and examples of best practise that they bring back to the organisation.

Applications are judged purely on project merit, and these opportunities are available to all UK residents over the age of 18, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Successful applicants will receive an average Fellowship grant of over £6,000, covering return airfare, daily living costs, insurance and travel within the countries being visited, for approximately six weeks overseas.

Notes to Editors

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established shortly after Sir Winston’s death in 1965, as his national memorial and living legacy. Since then it has awarded over 5,250 Travelling Fellowships.

The application process for travel in 2017 is now open, and there are 14 varied categories in which people can apply.

Churchill’s beliefs and passions are still living on through our Fellows – who are remarkable individuals, representing a wide range of backgrounds, qualifications, interests and professions, but sharing the desire to do something for the improvement of individuals and communities in the UK.

The deadline for the 2017 applications is 5pm on Tuesday 20th September 2016.

In total 150 Fellowships were awarded in the UK in 2016, an investment of over £1.4 million. The Fellows are currently travelling to 52 countries between them, across 6 continents, carrying out a wide range of projects.

To maximise the impact of our Fellowships we have developed partnerships with other organisations, focused on specific areas of concern and relevance for the UK today. Lessons learnt from overseas travel are effectively coordinated and disseminated, and incorporated into best practice in the UK for the benefit of others in similar communities and professions.

The Worshipful Company of Carpenters is one of the livery companies in the City of London. Dating back to the thirteenth century, the company was established as a medieval trade guild to look after the welfare and interests of carpenters living and working in London.

For further information about The Worshipful Company of Carpenters, please visit

The Heritage Crafts Association is an advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts. Working in partnership with the Government and other key agencies, it provides a focus for crafts people, groups, societies and guilds, and works towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future.

For further information about The Heritage Crafts Council, please visit


1. From Measuring the Craft Economy, Crafts Council, November 2014