Name: Rosy Greenlees
Rosy Greenlees, OBE, has been Executive Director of the Crafts Council since 2006. A national organisation promoting the value of craft and making to society, the Crafts Council has supported thousands of makers through its talent development programmes; brings high quality craft to an annual audience of over 3 million through its exhibitions, Collection and events; and leads a national campaign for re-instating craft education in schools. Rosy spent her early career as a curator in regional galleries and on major public art projects before taking on senior management roles as Head of Visual Arts and Media and Deputy Chief Executive at Eastern Arts Board; Cultural Strategy Manager responsible for the Mayor of London’s first culture strategy; and founder Director of the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise, a HEI partnership, now known as the Culture Capital Exchange. Rosy has served on various advisory bodies including the Bristol and Bath Design Research Project, the Skills Commission; and was a board member of CC Skills. Currently she is President of the World Crafts Council, a member of the Creative Industries Council and sits on the University of Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design Faculty Advisory Board. Rosy is a Fellow of the RSA and received an Honorary Fellowship from Arts University Bournemouth in 2015.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?:
I am always happy in museums and galleries. I live in Cambridge and am lucky enough to have the Fitzwilliam Museum on my doorstep. I love to nip in for half an hour on a Saturday afternoon and browse in the ceramics galleries or the print room. We are very lucky in this country to have free museums and in many, even quite small, towns you can find the most incredible collections.
What is your current state of mind?:
At the moment it is very easy to swing between pessimism and optimism. The world is going through great change and it can seem like we are going to crash and burn. What gives me optimism is as the Director of the Crafts Council, the amazing work that is produced by makers and how it gives us skilfulness, ingenuity, and a sense of humanity and our place in the physical world.
What is your most treasured possession?:
I was given a set of Michael Marriott’s Sardine Tin Drawers for a significant birthday by my husband. It is a series of brightly coloured sardine cans housed in a simple MDF cabinet and makes a great little set of drawers for my jewellery. I love the fact that it is recycled and whilst it is made by an important designer it is fun and I use it every day.
What do you most value in your friends?:
Loyalty, honesty, fun and as I get older shared memories.
Who are your favorite writers?:
I like to alternate between reading fiction and non- fiction, classic novels and contemporary fiction. I have enjoyed the sociologist Richard Sennett and anthropologist Tim Ingold for their works on craft and making. Richard Sennett’s book heralded a new age of popularity for craft and appreciation of skill. I have just finished Beowulf – a wonderfully simple and short tale – and am now wading through Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman a not very well known Russian writer whose novel was smuggled out of Russia in the 1980s. It is a sprawling novel based on the Second World War and deals with the same themes as Beowulf – conflict, courage, humanity and family.