Self-employment in craft making – a career change towards personal sustainability.




Contemporary crafts are experiencing a vigorous revival not only as bearers of cultural heritage and meaningful leisure activity, but increasingly as a career choice. According to UNESCO, the creative economy is now one of the world’s most rapidly growing sectors. Recent statistics show that this is apparent in the Icelandic economy. With the rise in precarity of work and challenges in career development, people are seeking meaningful and sustainable careers, as is evidenced by an increase in self-employment and micro-entrepreneurship. The main research question of this study was: How do contemporary craft makers in Iceland make sense of taking up and maintaining financially risky self-employment? Data collection and analysis was therefore focused on motives and shared meaning. The primary empirical data consists of fifteen semi-standardized interviews. Reflexive thematic analysis was conducted. The constant comparison method was also applied. Needs for authenticity, autonomy, and self-determination, along with passion for creating, were important motives. Negative career shocks were an unexpectedly common motive. Three main themes were developed to describe how participants reasoned their career choice: a second chance, a natural choice, and an act of agency. The analysis revealed craft knowledge as a valuable resource for participants seeking personal sustainability through self-employment. The study adds to an understanding of the value of crafts and craft knowledge in contemporary society.
Keywords: craft knowledge, self-employment, personal sustainability, career sustainability, career shocks



2024-02-07 — Uppdaterad 2024-02-14

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Valdimarsdóttir, S. (2024). Self-employment in craft making – a career change towards personal sustainability. Techne serien - Forskning i slöjdpedagogik och slöjdvetenskap, 31(1), 29–45.