Jay Blades MBE and David Clarke become Co-Chairs

31st August 2022  |  ANNOUNCEMENTS

Jay Blades MBE and David Clarke

We are delighted to announce that David Clarke and Jay Blades MBE will be leading our Board of Trustees as Co-Chairs over the next three years.

Jay Blades’ journey has taken many twists and turns. From growing up on a council estate in Hackney and leaving school at 15 with no qualifications, he got back on track by studying for a degree in criminology and philosophy at Buckinghamshire New University (BNU), before finding his true vocation in restoration and supporting vulnerable people through former charity Out of the Dark.

It is through BBC One’s extraordinarily successful The Repair Shop that he has become a household name, known for championing the revival of both heritage crafts skills and individual journeys through life, his own included. He was awarded the MBE for services to craft in 2021 and was appointed the first Chancellor of BNU in May 2022. He has served on the judging panel of the President’s Award for Endangered Crafts since 2021, set up by Heritage Crafts President HRH The Prince of Wales.

David Clarke is a heritage and cultural sector consultant who has served as a Heritage Crafts Trustee for the past three years. He moved into the cultural sector from education management in the mid-1980s and from 1987 to 1995 was Director of Chapter, a major centre for contemporary arts in Cardiff. In 1995 he set up DCA Consulting specialising in the development of cultural buildings, sustainable business planning and innovation.

David is a fellow of the RSA, an RIBA Client Advisor and a member of the Heritage Trusts Network, the Museums Association and the Theatres Trust. He has led the Heritage Crafts fundraising subcommittee since 2020.

Co-Chairing is a novel but increasingly popular form of Board leadership, combining the complementary skills and expertise of two exceptional individuals, and has been pioneered by organisations such as Age UK and the British Fashion Council. We believe that the Co-Chairing approach will serve us well as it enters a new strategic period from January 2023 responding to a country undergoing rapid social, financial, political and environmental changes.

Heritage Crafts Director Daniel Carpenter said:

“The profile of heritage crafts has been rising steadily over the last few years, thanks to the work of our dedicated staff and Trustees, and through wonderful programmes like ‘The Repair Shop’. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome David and Jay as Co-Chairs; their skills and expertise are the perfect combination to help push forward a revolution in the recognition of heritage crafts as a vital part of our collective cultural identities, social lives and individual wellbeing.”

Co-Chair David Clarke said:

“It has been a huge privilege and great fun to have been involved with Heritage Crafts for the past three years, and it’s tremendously exciting to be asked to work alongside the inspirational Jay Blades over the next three. It’s a time of huge growth and opportunity for craft, but also one of serious challenges and concerns for craftspeople. We look forward to all the work ahead.”

Co-Chair Jay Blades MBE said:

“I am delighted to be appointed Co-Chair of Heritage Crafts alongside David Clarke; a man I have huge admiration for who shares my passion for the Association. Together we have big plans to further raise the profile of Heritage Crafts and ensure pathways for a new generation of craftspeople.”

As the charity that publishes the influential Red List of Endangered Crafts, Heritage Crafts encourages anyone who supports the continuation of traditional craft skills, whether or not they are makers themselves, to become Heritage Crafts members via our website.

Download the full press release


  • Jay Blades MBE. Copyright Amy Braithwaite.
  • David Clarke. Copyright Pete Warwick Photography.