The King's Foundation The King's Foundation
Stained glass window in the Shepherd's Hut, Building Arts Programme 2020

Journal 27 November 2020

Reflections on our Building Arts and Building Craft Programmes in 2020

We look back at how our Building Arts Programme and Building Craft Programme have fared this year.

Building Arts Programme

The Building Arts Programme delivered in collaboration with the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) launched in February. This nine-month hands-on course brings together students from a broad range of backgrounds including architecture, timber framing, glasswork, furniture making, ceramics and textiles to explore the interdisciplinary nature of architecture, the decorative arts and traditional craft, and the role that these practices can continue we play in shaping the world around us.

In the early stages of the programme, the eight students were based at the Dumfries House Estate where the group were involved in a broad range of lectures, practical workshops, and collaborative projects. These activities aimed to broaden the groups understanding of the role of craft within our built environment and fundamentally encourage a dialogue which reaches across the different disciplines in order to highlight the value that an holistic approach can bring to the creation of spaces and places.

Despite disruption to the original programme as a result of the national lockdown, the group were able to continue their participation remotely. Throughout April to July the group turned their attentions to their immediate surroundings and available resources in order to interrogate and creatively respond to their own domestic space. Through regular online discussion and presentations, the group were able to continue many of the discussions which they had begun to explore in the early stages of the programme.

You can read more about one student’s experience here.

In August, the Building Arts Programme students returned to the Dumfries House Estate to tackle a group project which focused on the design and construction of a traditional shepherd’s hut. Whilst relatively small in scale, the project provided the perfect backdrop for the students to showcase how each of their individual craft areas can inform and support those of the other students.

The students aimed to utilise materials from the estate where possible and worked with a number of The Prince’s Foundation team to source oak for the timber frame and interior fit out, wool for insulation and interior textiles, plants and vegetables which will be used for textile dyes and glazes, and local clay for the production of ceramic tiles. The group were also joined by Strata Florida Project Manager, Nathan Goss, who supported the students with the timber frame construction.

Building Arts Programme student with tutor

The practical nature of the project was particularly inspiring for the group's architect, you can read more about his experience here.

"It has made me realise that each constituent part of a building can add up to make something quite special. That each crafted part harmonises with another to make a building which feels fully alive and accomplished.”- Jim Nightingale, Building Arts Programme 2020

Having completed the shepherd’s hut and despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, the students will now embark on their industry placements around the UK, which were secured by The Prince’s Foundation. Placements include working with QEST Scholar and Basket Maker, Annemarie O’Sullivan, The Orkney Furniture Maker, Craven Dunnill Jackfield Tile Manufacturers, The Marchmont Workshop, Recclesia Conservation, and many more. So inspired by the process of creating the shepherd’s hut, one of the students has remained on the Dumfries House Estate to work alongside the Gardening team, continuing her explorations into the development and use of natural dyes.

The Prince’s Foundation and QEST are committed to delivering the Building Arts Programme in future years, and hope to open applications in late 2021.


In September, twelve students started the 20/21 Building Craft Programme, an eight-month course which is designed to support those working within the construction sector on their journey to becoming the next generation of master craftspeople.

Our students have now completed their three-week Introductory Programme and are several weeks into their Live Build project, which will see the eventual refurbishment and redevelopment of Pennyland Cottage which is thought to date back to the mid-18th Century. Living together on the Dumfries House Estate throughout the duration of the Live Build, the students have also been taking part in evening lectures, and occasional weekend short courses.

“Trying my hand at other heritage crafts with such enthusiastic tutors was my personal highlight. It was brilliant to have the opportunity to learn from these skilled craftsmen, but also have the chance to explore the medium ourselves under their watchful eyes.” - Luke Dudley, Building Craft Programme 2020-21

Work at Pennyland Cottage continues to gather pace with the Building Craft Programme students contributing significantly to various elements of the build. Working in small teams the group have focussed their attentions on the construction of new kennels, which utilises reclaimed red sandstone and will house the estate's working sheepdogs. Within the existing cottage the group have constructed a traditional timber cruck frame which will form a striking focal point to the new open plan living spaces. Blacksmith, Luke Dudley has been realising the designs that he developed in the early stages of the programme and is pressing ahead with the fabrication of the bespoke driveway and pedestrian gates for the property. In addition to support from the onsite construction team, the group have also been supported by Building Craft Programme alumni, Owen McClatchey and Ian Thackray.

Live Build BCP 2020

Blacksmith Luke Dudley BCP Live Build 2020

In the new year the students will embark on individual industry placements around the UK where they will have the opportunity to further develop their skills and expand their networks across the sector.

Applications for the Building Craft Programme 21-22 will open shortly. To be added to the mailing list please contact Michael Goodger on