Applications invited for 2020 William Morris Craft Fellowship

A country-wide conservation tour offering craftspeople hands-on experience in the repair of historic buildings – that’s what successful applicants can look forward to as a SPAB (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) 2020 Fellow.

Up to four successful candidates will travel together across the UK to learn more about the full range of traditional building trades. This is said to be a life-changing opportunity for craftspeople.

We’re looking for craftspeople with a passion for old buildings and conservative repair. Applicants must have completed their apprenticeship and demonstrate a high level of competence.

The SPAB Fellowship is an advanced training programme, devised to nurture craftspeople at the beginning of their careers, who are employed in any trade relating to the repair of historic buildings. The programme is now more relevant than ever, given the shortage of skilled people needed to care for Britain’s historic buildings and structures. The six-month practical training programme is divided into three blocks of two months, enabling the Fellows to return to their employment between each block. During the first two blocks they travel as a group, making daily site visits, studying repair projects, and meeting professionals, contractors and craftspeople. The final block is devoted to the individual needs and interests of each Fellow in consultation with their employers.

This year there is a new position for young craftspeople interested in or already working with mills of any type. A suitable applicant would have the opportunity to gain experience in millwrighting, in addition to the main programme. In 2019 traditional millwrighting was added to the Heritage Crafts Association’s red list of critically endangered heritage crafts, as only a small number of millwrights still practise in the UK. The SPAB hopes that this new position on the Fellowship will help support the next generation of millwrights.

Since 1986 the SPAB has organised the Fellowship each year to develop the specialised skills needed for the survival of historic buildings and to promote understanding of the importance of conservative repair. Fellows have included carpenters, masons, thatchers, metalworkers, plasterers, roofers, bricklayers, leadworkers and glaziers.

There are no course fees as training and administration costs are borne by SPAB as part of the award. Fellows also receive a bursary in the region of £6,500 towards basic travel and living expenses. The packed 2020 programme will run from March to December.

SPAB is inviting applications now for the 2020 William Morris Craft Fellowship. For further information or to obtain an application form, please visit our website (spab.org.uk/learning/fellowship) or email: education@spab.org.uk. The closing date for applications is December 1, 2019 and interviews are held at 37 Spital Square, London in January 2020.