Beyond Preservation – endangered ceramic skills symposium

Beyond Preservation – endangered ceramic skills symposium

This symposium is organised by the Heritage Crafts Association and Ceramic Cultures, Practices and Debates Research Group at Staffordshire University. It is funded by The Pilgrim Trust and supported by Staffordshire University, Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, and British Ceramics Biennial.

When: Saturday 16 October 2021, 9am to 5pm
Where: Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Bethesda Street, Hanley Stoke-on-Trent ST1 3DW

Speakers (in-person and remote) to include:

  • Dr Neil Brownsword, Professor of Ceramics, Staffordshire University
  • Mary Lewis, Endangered Crafts Manager, Heritage Crafts Association
  • Emily Johnson, Founder and Director of 1882
  • Dr Ezra Shales, Professor of Art History, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Professor Xiaoping Yu, Professor, Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute
  • Dr Geoffrey Gowlland, Research Fellow at the Section of Educational Sciences, University of Geneva
  • Dr Laura Breen, Independent arts & museums researcher, Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Vicki McGarvey, doctoral research student, Staffordshire University

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 HCA 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.

Findings will feed into a future edition of the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts and inform its advocacy work with UK government agencies and funding bodies.

The event is free to attend, and attendees must register via Eventbrite

 

Forthcoming online events

Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown we have been running a series of free online events on Zoom. Here you can find out what event we have coming up. Click here to re-watch the recordings for some of the previous events.

 

Coming up

 

Gemma Black in ConversationGemma Black in Conversation – 26 October 2021, 7pm

Join Heritage Crafts in conversation with calligrapher Gemma Black, one of the most proficient and inventive scribes in Australia, if not the world! Her precise lettering style is matched with exciting and innovative designs which really bring the texts to life, and her work is in many collections including the Fitzwilliam Museum Collection of Contemporary Calligraphy. She is in great demand to teach and lecture all over the world and Gemma will be beaming in from Australia for this event.

 

Maria Maclennan in ConversationDr Maria Maclennan in Conversation – 9 November 2021, 7pm

Join Heritage Crafts in conversation with Dr Maria Maclennan, forensic jeweller. Maria is the world’s first ‘Forensic Jeweller’, exploring how jewellery can be used to assist identification and help solve crimes. After studying jewellery making at art college, Maria worked with designers, forensic anthropologists and police officers during her Masters degree and PhD at Dundee University’s renowned Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification. She now puts her skills to use as Service Design Manager at Police Scotland and Lecturer and Researcher at Edinburgh College of Art.

 

Michelle Brown in ConversationMichelle Brown in Conversation – 16 November 2021, 7pm

Join Heritage Crafts in conversation with Michelle Brown, manuscript curator. If you’ve ever enjoyed looking at a manuscript online, enlarged it to see every detail of the scripts, admired the illuminations and wondered in awe at the skills shown, you should thank Professor Michelle Brown because she was at the forefront of the technology at the British Library as one of the first Digital Curators. She curated the pioneering exhibition of the Lindisfarne Gospels, and authored facsimiles of the Gospels, the Holkham Bible and the Luttrell Psalter. During her time as Curator and Outreach Officer at the British Library she ensured that the writing, and not just the pictures, of manuscripts were available to modern-day scribes. She is now writing, curating exhibitions all over the world and undertaking voluntary work in Cornwall.

 

Heritage Crafts Wales members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed

Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter, Mary Lewis and Clare Revera exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in Wales and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.

 

Heritage Crafts Northern Ireland members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed

Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter and Emma Whitehead exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in Northern Ireland and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.

 

Heritage Crafts East Midlands members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed

Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter and Sally Morgan exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in the East Midlands and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.

 

Heritage Crafts North of England members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed

Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter and Chrissie Freeth exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in the North of England and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.

 

Heritage Crafts South West of England members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed

Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in the South West of England and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.

 

Heritage Crafts West Midlands & Marches members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed

Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Mary Lewis and Mike Taylor exclusively for Heritage Crafts members. If you’re a current member in the West Midlands & Marches and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.

 

HCA Scotland members Zoom meeting – date to be confirmed

Peer support and networking meeting facilitated by Daniel Carpenter, Mary Lewis, Louise Butler and Helen Voce exclusively for HCA members. If you’re a current member in Scotland and wish to attend, email us for the joining instructions. If you’re not yet a member, please consider joining.

Click here to watch the recordings of previous online events