Led by one of our C3 Centre members, Agata Lulkowska, a new third season in the Rebellious Research Seminar Series (previously known as art/practice based-research seminar series) is now published and available to download and share.
It runs on a last Wednesday of each month starting in October, via MS Teams, at 3:30-5pm UK time.
More details and the programme can be found in the links below or the downloadable PDF.
Throughout history, ceramics have played an important role in the phenomenon of cultural transfer. For centuries China, Korea and Japan have influenced each other’s aesthetics, practices and technologies. Subsequent trade with the West, and the imitation and assimilation of East Asian goods and styles in the late 17th and 18th centuries greatly influenced the development of new ceramic traditions in Europe that were to gain historical prominence.
Since 2015 artist Neil Brownsword has explored this historic cycle of knowledge exchange, via performances staged in South Korea and the UK which have addressed the cultural hierarchies and value systems aligned to their ceramic traditions.In his work Factory (2017) staged at Icheon World Ceramic Centre, Brownsword re-choreographed the indigenous ceramic practices of two ex-factory personnel from Stoke-on-Trent and four Korean artisans to question established hierarchies of cultural production and reassign value to people and practices displaced by global economics.
By reactivating obsolescence via non-commercialised production, Brownsword revealed a shared language of haptic intelligences developed through ethical modes of exchange between East and West.
Performing FACTORYin Korea enabled the actors of marginalised immaterial heritage to renegotiate their value in a context where similar embodiments of knowledge are culturally protected. Its tour to the British Ceramics Biennial 2017, furthered UK/Korea cultural exchange, strengthening Stoke-on-Trent’s regeneration ambition as a global centre for ceramics. This presentation examines the context and development of Brownsword’s collaborations and his exploration of heritage as a ‘living process’ that can be constantly reimagined for the future.
Neil Brownsword is an artist, researcher and educator who holds a professorial position in ceramics at Staffordshire University. Brownsword began his career in ceramics as an apprentice at the Wedgwood factory in the mid- 1980’s. His practice examines the legacy of globalisation in relation to Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramic manufacturing sector, and the impact this has had upon people, place and traditional skills. Using film and performative installation Brownsword deconstructs complex craft knowledge within industrial production to pose questions surrounding the value of inter-generational skill. His work is represented in public/private collections internationally, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Korea Ceramic Foundation, Yingee Ceramic Museum Taiwan and Fu Le International Ceramic Art Museum China. In 2009 he was awarded the ‘One Off Award’ at the inaugural British Ceramic Biennial, and the Grand Prize at the Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, South Korea in 2015, and Whitegold International Ceramic Prize in 2019.
Saturday 16 October 2021, 9am to 5pm Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 3DW
Beyond Preservation: re-evaluating Intangible Cultural Heritage in the UK Ceramic Industry
Global economics and advances in automation technology have radically transformed the landscape of the UK’s ceramic industry in recent decades. Whilst these transitions have facilitated greater productivity, once commonplace skills associated with ceramic manufacture have now been displaced, threatening the continuation of much traditional knowledge. Should such practices, deemed outmoded or economically unviable for contemporary ceramic production be simply relegated to history or the trails of heritage tourism? What value is there in safeguarding this knowledge for the future? How can traditional practices be revived through new modes of thinking and creativity in a digital age?
This symposium builds upon these questions, and highlights specialist skills at significant risk of being lost from the industry, surveyed through recent research for the Heritage Craft Association’s Red List of Endangered Crafts. Making particular reference to North Staffordshire’s intangible cultural heritage*, scholars together with former employees and current representatives from the ceramics industry, will explore a variety of perspectives concerning a re-evaluation of the industrial crafts and their revitalisation through contemporary exchange and adaptation.
Although the symposium will be taking place within a cultural event, it will discuss ways to connect with the local community beyond cultural institutions, so that they can develop, engage and participate in ‘their’ intangible heritage. It is hoped that this event will introduce new ways of valuing industrial ceramics skills that are not influenced by the immutable heritage discourse of experts, by facilitating those that were and are still involved in the industry to articulate the value of their own heritage.
Associate Professor Anna said about the BCB: “As always, this important biennial activates the streets and buildings of our city, providing an opportunity to discuss the heritage and future of our relationships with ceramics.”
Whitegold winner Professor Neil Brownsword is joining makers across the world to exhibit his work in St Austell.
In these artworks Neil explores the entangled histories of St Austell and the Potteries of North Staffordshire, bound together by the mining of china clay and its transformation into ceramics.
‘Relic’ is the culmination of five-years of research during which Neil has archived the incredible hand skills of Stoke-on-Trent china flower maker Rita Floyd. He has captured every stage of the hand modelling involved in mass producing the many types of flower that Rita has in her repertoire, and enshrined them in a series of porcelain fragments.