Exploring contemporary expressions of the identity of Scottish craft through makers on Instagram
This study explores contemporary expressions of the identity of Scottish craft trough makers on Instagram. Current research reflects that the Scottish craft sector feels that policy makers’ perceptions of craft need to change. It also showed that the sector feels that an identity for Scottish craft needs to be developed, which has historically been linked to the national identity and mass-produced souvenirs. In recent years makers have been turning to social media platforms to promote and sell their work and it is a space where they feel they can control the narrative surrounding their practice. Therefore, by exploring how makers construct their Scottish maker identity on Instagram, more accurate expressions of Scottish craft can be revealed. Further, it is argued that by identifying as Scottish on their Instagram accounts, makers are shaping perceptions of Scottish craft, and thus, its identity as well. This research comprised a questionnaire, and five case studies that consisted of self-curated photo elicitation and interviews data generation methods. These methods involved asking participants to select a series of posts that they felt most strongly demonstrated their identity as a Scottish maker which were then discussed through interviews. The study found that participants felt proud to be a Scottish maker and saw it a unique and attractive quality to customers online. Participants identified what they saw as stereotypical symbols of Scottish craft, such as tartan and Celtic designs, but did not feel they reflected Scottish craft today. Instead, makers identified community and place related ideas as more authentic symbols of Scottish craft. This research is a study of the contemporary identify of Scottish craft through its makers themselves, and is a preliminary contribution to a subject that has received little scholarly attention to date.