Airbnb Launches New UK Experiences to Save Unique Crafts from Extinction

  • Two-fifths (37%) of traditional heritage crafts are in danger of dying out
  • 31% of the UK don’t remember the last time they had a hobby
  • World renowned photographer Rankin has captured some of the UK’s last remaining craftspeople
  • There is growing demand as Airbnb sees 180 percent increase in Arts & Crafts Experience bookings in 2018*
  • Airbnb hosts around the world have long been turning to Airbnb as a platform to preserve traditional crafts

The United Kingdom has a longstanding history of craftsmanship, however research conducted by the Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) claims 37 percent of traditional crafts** are in danger of dying out. There are currently 17 crafts – including clog making, paper marbling and piano making – classified as ‘critically endangered’ which are at serious risk, with a further 45 on the ‘endangered’ list. To help save these crafts, Airbnb and the HCA have joined forces to provide Experiences hosted by the endangered craftspeople on their site, that are bookable for the public.

Paper Marbler

Master Wheelwright

Clog Maker

The crafts have ended up on the endangered lists due to various factors, such as limited training opportunities and a lack of mechanism to pass on the skills and knowledge, however research conducted by Airbnb into the UK’s hobbies also provides some insight into the problem.

Hobbies have become less of a priority to the population, with a quarter (26%) of Brits stating they don’t have one, and 31 percent*** unable to remember their last hobby.

Unsurprisingly, the main reasons for Brits not taking part in hobbies these days are:

32%

lack of time

26%

work

24%

cost

18%

other commitments

13% 

lack of skills

Although Brits may have fewer hobbies, a third of respondents stated they’d be more interested in trying out a craft if they knew it was in danger of dying out – which has now been made possible thanks to the collaboration between Airbnb and the HCA offering ‘critically endangered’ crafts as Experiences available to book on the platform.

The Experience workshops will be led by craftspeople from the critically endangered list, and guests will be able to learn about the dying crafts and the basic skills that are required. The following workshops will be hosted across the UK:

Coachbuilding and Wagon Making

Paper Marbling

Passementerie

Hand Tassel Making

Green Woodworking

Pewtersmithing

World-renowned photographer Rankin is also helping to raise awareness of these dying crafts, by capturing images of wheelwright Greg Rowland, clog maker JoJo Wood and paper marbler Lucy McGrath for the partnership.

There’s so many craft-based skills which take years to properly hone and develop that are in danger of dying out. We must not let this happen. Shooting with Greg, JoJo and Lucy, I got a unique insight into their work and why we should fight to keep crafts like these alive.

Rankin, Photographer 

We’re delighted to work together with the HCA and enable craftspeople to offer these unique workshops through our platform, connecting travelers and locals to authentic historical crafts. We’ve seen a growing appetite for Arts & Crafts Experiences on our site, with an increase of 180 percent in bookings to this category of Experiences in 2018, making it a powerful platform to raise awareness about the crafts in danger of dying out.

Hadi Moussa, General Manager for Northern Europe for Airbnb 

It has been our mission to help raise awareness and safeguard craft skills across the UK for almost 10 years. In an increasingly digital world, it’s vital to ensure that traditional crafts are taught well and thus continue into the future. We all lose part of our heritage when a traditional craft becomes extinct, which is why we are so excited to be collaborating with Airbnb to bring these unique skills to a wider group of people and hopefully, inspire them to take it up themselves.

Patricia Lovett MBE, Chair of the Heritage Crafts Association

The Airbnb x Heritage Crafts Association workshops are available to book via this link: http://abnb.co/uk–craft

And around the world, local hosts have long been turning to Airbnb as a platform to preserve traditional crafts to show guests another side of their community, heritage and culture. A sampling of those Experiences are below:

Kintsugi in One Day

 Where Gods Are Born

Experience Folk Painting with Artists

Natural Dye Using Ancient Techniques

 Learn the Typical Art of Buenos Aires

Learn to Draw Ancient Mexican Art

Meditation Sumie at Temple

Discover the Beauty of Malaysian Batik

Traditional Calligraphy

Loom Workshop

Your First Chinese Seal – Engraving Work

*Based on internal data from Airbnb on year over year growth of bookings in the UK for Arts & Crafts Experiences, from July 2017 to July 2018.

**Based on research conducted by the Heritage Crafts Association.

***Based on research commissioned by Airbnb and conducted by One Poll with 2,000 respondents in July 2018.

The Airbnb Press Room is aimed at journalists. All Experiences referenced on the Airbnb Press Room are intended purely to inspire and illustrate. Airbnb does not recommend or endorse specific Experiences on the Airbnb platform.

Composer : Theodore Elwell ‘Climbing Ivy”

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