Sunday, 26 April 2015

Report: 'Ahead of the Curve: New china from China symposium'

From Claire Blakey, Arts Curator, Potteries Museum & Art Gallery:

On 17th April 2015 the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, hosted the Ahead of the Curve: New china from China symposium.
The symposium focused on contemporary Chinese ceramics and glass and was organised in conjunction with the exhibition of the same title currently on display at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery until the 31st May.

The aim of both the exhibition and the symposium was to showcase exciting developments over the last decade in Chinese studio glass and ceramics. Studio glass making departments have only emerged in Chinese universities since 2000, whilst in the field of contemporary ceramics, a wave of new graduates are challenging the boundaries of their field. 

Funding for the project, which has been over four years in the making, has been supplied by Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts, with grants for research visits to China from The British Council and The Art Fund.

We were able to bring together an exciting group of speakers, including three who had come to the UK to speak at the symposium. Glass artist Shelly Xue and potter Wan Liya both have work on display in Ahead of the Curve.
Shelly Xue, Angel is Waiting 9, 2014, glass © the artist
Wan Liya, Birds Twitter and Fragrance Flowers, 2010, porcelain © the artist
Both spoke about their work and careers at the symposium and Shelly Xue also gave an insight into the glass departments in Chinese universities. The keynote speaker was Shannon Guo, co-curator of the exhibition, curator of twocities gallery in Shanghai (the partner gallery for the exhibition) and Associate Professor of the Fine Arts College of Shanghai University, who gave an insight into the world of contemporary Chinese craft.
Visiting the Dudson Museum with Wan Liya and Shannon Guo.
The symposium also featured talks from:

Helen Brown, co-curator of the exhibition, on shared concerns between British and Chinese artists
Ying Tan, curator at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, on the works of Liu Jianhua.

Rachel Marsden, specialist in transcultural curating and Chinese/Asian contemporary culture, Coordinator (Research Assistant) at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CCVA) and Lecturer in MA Contemporary Curatorial Practice at the University of Lincoln, on China's new museums - an architecture of design.

Andrew Brewerton, Principal, Plymouth College of Art, Honorary Professor of Fine Art, Shanghai University, former Subject Leader in Glass, University of Wolverhampton, on contemporary Chinese glass art.

An introduction to the exhibition by Claire Blakey (co-curator and Arts Curator, The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery), Kate Newnham (co-curator and Senior Curator, Visual Arts, Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives) and Project Assistant Alexandra Nachescu.
Panel discussion © Rachel Marsden
For a full description of the day, please click HERE>

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Making Futures: 3rd & final call for abstracts - deadline 18 May 2015


For the website please click HERE>
Making Futures will be held on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th September 2015 in the magnificently sited Mount Edgcumbe house on the River Tamar opposite the city of Plymouth, Devon, UK.

Making Futures investigates contemporary craft and maker movements as ‘change agents’ within 21st century society, particularly in relation to global sustainability agendas, social innovation and community regeneration. Embracing contemporary craft and making as instances of thought in action, and convinced of their transformative potential at personal and communal levels, Making Futures envisages the ‘return of the maker’ as a radically open project capable of generating new progressive possibilities - of contributing to new social and economic futures.

Making Futures welcomes submissions from all who have an interest in the relationship between contemporary making, sustainability and social change, including artists, craftspeople, designers and design groups, curators, historians, theorists, campaigners, activists, and enterprises engaging in making and/or with makers.

We welcome proposals for practice-led case studies, presentations based in critical-theoretical and historical analysis, and unconventional formats that might include performance, objects, AV, and other media and materials. The working language is English but the scope is international and we welcome accounts from non-western contexts.
CONFERENCE THEMES:The call is open to three Research Workshops and the six Indicative Themes that more generally underpin the Making Futures series:

Indicative Themes:
  • Lifecycles of Material Worlds (Sustainability in Practice)
  • Craft in an Expanded Field
  • Critical Perspectives on Producers & Consumers
  • Translations Across Local-Global Divides
  • Materials & Processes of Making
  • Making Thinking (Crafting Education)
  • Digital Crafting – Defining the Field in collaboration with the School of Materials, The Royal College of Art.
  • Makers & Frugal Innovation in collaboration with the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, and Fab Lab Barcelona.
  • Place-Making-Space: tools and methods forcrafting communities’ and ‘making places’ in collaboration with the Community21 Sustainable Design Research Group at the University of Brighton.
KEYNOTES:We are pleased to announce the following confirmed keynotes:
  • Rebecca Burgess, Executive Director of Fibershed, San Geronimo, Northern California, USA. Fibreshed is an international network of regional textile communities based on carbon farming, regenerative textile manufacturing, and public education, and a co-founder of the Carbon Cycle Institute (CCI).
  • Keith Harrison, International Artist-Maker and Research Professor at Bath Spa University, UK. Keith has been involved in a series of process-based live public experiments that investigate the direct physical transformation of clay from a raw state utilising industrial and domestic electrical systems. Kieth will also be showing in one of the associated exhibitions, Acts of Making.
  • Mark Miodownik, Director of the Institute of Making, University College London, UK, a multidisciplinary research club for those interested in the made world: from makers of molecules to makers of buildings, synthetic skin to spacecraft, soup to clothes, from furniture to cities.
  • Cameron Tonkinwise, Director of Design Studies, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, USA. Cameron’s areas of research include Sustainable Design, systems of shared use, and the role designers can play in enabling social systems change.
CONFERENCE EXHIBITIONSAlongside the conference we will run two major exhibitions: Acts of Making: a Crafts Council Touring Project in partnership with Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth City Council, Arts & Heritage; 2015 Jerwood Makers Open: a UK national exhibition commissioned by Jerwood Visual Arts.

A limited number of full bursaries are available to independent makers, see website for details.

To facilitate high levels of delegate interaction conference places are limited. Early bird offer: book before 17th May 2015 and save £40 on the Full 2 Day Registration Fee.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Fri 17 April 2015 Ahead of the Curve symposium - don't miss it!

There are still places available at the 'Ahead of the Curve' symposium which takes place Friday 17th April at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

Some of the artists whose work is featured in the exhibition are coming over from China especially to speak at this event, alongside some great UK-based speakers.

Click HERE> to book now and for full details.