Contemporary Craft Tour

Highlights has presented an annual Contemporary Craft Tour from 2004 to 2018, using the existing network of venues and volunteer promoters to provide rural communities with access to high-quality craft usually only accessible in urban areas.

From 2009, artist Karen Babayan worked as Highlights Craft Tour Officer, curating stunning exhibitions showcasing the work of acclaimed makers and artists. Recent highlights include Paper Scissors Book (2016), exhibiting the best of current paper-cut and artists’ books, and Luminosity (2017) celebrating light with an illuminating exhibition of contemporary works including glass, sculptural textiles, film, electronics, jewellery and neon.

In 2018 Karen put together her final tour for Highlights, the critically acclaimed Craft+Conflict, which visited seven venues across Cumbria, County Durham and Northumberland. In the year of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, Craft+Conflict addressed the pertinent theme of conflict, which affects our communities locally, nationally and internationally. The exhibition showcased work from 12 nationally and internationally renowned artists, and included work by refugees affected by conflict supported by the UNHCR MADE51 programme thanks to a collaboration with Aileen Brindle of f.o.a.k

In December 2018 Karen decided to leave Highlights to pursue her own work, including writing her book Swallows and Armenians, and we have paused the Craft Tour whilst we consider the options for its future.