On 13 November 2019, The British Council formalised a working partnership with the Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation (Kraftangan Malaysia) through Institut Kraf Negara (IKN), marking the continued commitment of all parties to Malaysian local craft and the preservation of its tradition and heritage. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was witnessed by YB Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia.  

Through the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme, the partnership aims to understand youth engagement and crafts, provide solutions to attract youth to the vocation, address the issues around product and design innovation, and connect IKN and its students to higher education and employability pathways. This pilot project will help IKN become a creative hub for vocational students and a catalyst of creativity for the craft sector.  

The British Council has been working with IKN since 2018 in an effort to drive design innovation and youth engagement in the craft sector. In close partnership with the Institute of Design Innovation at Glasgow School of Art, Crafting Futures is designed to focus on supporting the new generation of artisans from IKN through capacity building and design innovation workshops, showcasing opportunities, and cross-disciplinary exchanges with the UK as well as locally and within the Southeast Asian region.  

Sarah Deverall, Director Malaysia, said: ‘IKN and Kraftangan Malaysia are key players in nourishing local craft and artisans in Malaysia, and the British Council is proud to bring our partnership to another level. The Malaysian craft sector is worth investing in as an education option for our younger generations because of the potential of craft, its versatility and applicability to other sectors, and the role it plays in maintaining Malaysia’s relationship to its heritage’.