Professor Simon Olding

Tributes across the fields of both education and contemporary craft have been shared for Professor Simon Olding who, following a short illness, has passed away.

The Crafts Council's tribute to Simon describes hm as a 'curator and writer who quietly shaped the craft world. And, this is exactly how he presented. In 2011, Simon introduced Dame Magdalene Odundo to the Society, and wrote a beautiful article about Magdalene's work in AD issue 3 pages 14-16. Simon also helped persuade Magdalene Odundo to become patron of NSEAD in 2011.

Simon had deep knowledge of contemporary craft and craft history. After studying English at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge in 1976, Simon completed a PhD in Edinburgh in 1980. He went on to hold many senior roles in museums, galleries and art organisations including Glasgow Museums and Art Gallery.

He became director of the Crafts Study Centre (CSC) in 2002, and also a professor of Modern Crafts at UCA Farnham in the following year. In CSC he established a vibrant exhibitions programme, working with leading artist-makers to put on shows featuring the best of contemporary craft as well as exhibitions which draw on the CSC’s own collections.

Simon was a passionate supporter of NSEAD, supporting Lesley Butterworth and the Society as we sought to re-introduce 'craft' into classrooms, and into our subject's name too. 

Simon retired from his job directing the CSC in October 2022 and died on 19 November 2022.

Read the Crafts Council wonderful tribute to Simon here.

Simon will be missed by so many – his shaping of contemporary craft and passion for craft education will continue for generations. 


Image: Simon Olding pictured in conversation with ceramicist Magdalene Odundo in 2019. Photo courtesy of Crafts Study Centre