Archipelago Folkschool logo


About Archipelago Folkschool


Archipelago Folkschool connects people with craft. They are a Community Interest Company (CIC) and a collaborative social enterprise. They aim to be as inclusive, open and encouraging as possible. They run short residential craft courses in beautiful places, events that teach skills but also encourage participation in communities and connection with the environment.


Their approach is interdisciplinary as much as possible - our lives are not lived as neat sections so our making shouldn't be either. They work at the boundary between expression and engineering; art and science; the human built and the naturally occurring. They are inspired by folkschools around Scandinavia and America as well as the pioneering work of the GalGael Trust in Glasgow.


They believe that craft should be democratic and open to everyone - this underlies everything that they do. Their bespoke courses are flexible and they aim to offer activity at an affordable level as well as adapting to any and all needs communities might have. The fee for all of their courses includes a contribution towards the Archipelago Bursary - a means tested resource to allow everybody to come along.



Community Boatbuilding


The community boatbuilding programme
The community boatbuilding programme


Since 2020, Archipelago Folkschool has run a community boatbuilding programme in conjunction with two other Shipshape Network Scotland projects, the Skylark IX Recovery Trust and the Scottish Maritime Museum. The programme trains people in recovery to build St Ayles rowing skiffs, canoes, and other small boats.


Two young women work on a wooden canoe in a boat workshop


The National Lottery Heritage Funded Canoe Crafters community project ran in 2023.  Over the course of four months, Archipelago Folkschool worked with a group of young people from Choices School in Jamestown to build two Selway-Fisher designed Prospector canoes. Working in the historic Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Dumbarton, their workshop was the original working environment of the traditional model makers, clay moulders and carpenters employed in the Denny in the late 19th century.  This gave students a unique opportunity to be surrounded by maritime heritage while exploring the craft of boatbuilding.




Boatbuilding Courses


Kayak building
The kayak building course


Every summer, Archipelago Folkschool run week-long residential courses in kayak and canoe-building on the beautiful Isle of Mull. You can either build your own Greenland-style sea kayak or one of two types of canoe to take home with you.


It’s a busy week to get everything done, and a very intensive course. Depending on the group it can involve some long days - finishing after 7pm is not unheard of. Despite the hard work it’s really good fun, very sociable and incredibly rewarding.


The course fee includes all materials, tuition and all tools and equipment you need to get the boat built, plus an endless supply of tea, coffee, biscuits and fruit to keep you going too! They settled into their new workshop in 2023, so can also offer accommodation for the courses - the course fee includes camping on their croft and use of the workshop’s self catering kitchen. A welcome meal is provided on the Saturday night and a celebration on the Friday once the boats are all complete. Find out more



Bespoke Courses


Archipelago Folkschool are keen to go beyond their main public programme to offer courses to people in a way which works best for them. They’ve run courses with community groups across Scotland and are keen to do more builds with families, friend groups, water sports clubs or anything else!


If you think your community could benefit from learning more skills, or would like to work together on a boat build, then get in touch.



Build Your Own 1/8 scale model boat!


Boat kit
The Build Your Own Boat kit


You can now build a boat of your own at home! These kits were developed for Archipelago Folkschool's 100 Boats For Scotland project in 2020, which supported youth groups around Scotland to build a total of 100 model boats in their homes, youth centres and community centres during the pandemic. Now, due to public demand, the kits are available for anyone to buy. Each kit contain everything you need and full instructions to build an accurate 1/8th scale version of an Echo Bay Dory Skiff. If you want to give it a go and build a beautiful wee model boat to play with in the bath, you can buy one here.




JAN 2024: Archipelago Folkschool unveil 2023 canoe and kayak building courses Read more



Find out more:


Follow them on social media: