Staffordshire University logo
STORE - Staffordshire Online Repository

Neil Brownsword Lecture Series, International Ceramic Workshop, 8th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, 2015

BROWNSWORD, Neil (2015) Neil Brownsword Lecture Series, International Ceramic Workshop, 8th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, 2015. In: 8th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, 25 -27 April 2015, Icheon World Ceramic Centre, Gyeongchungdae-ro 2697 beon-gil, Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, 17379, Rep. of Korea. (Unpublished)

[img] Slideshow (For access to the PowerPoint slides please contact STORE@staffs.ac.uk)
1. Neil Brownsword. GICB 2015 .pdf - Presentation
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (55MB) | Request a copy
[img] Slideshow (For access to the PowerPoint slides please contact STORE@staffs.ac.uk)
2 Poet of Residue. GICB 2015.pdf - Presentation
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (68MB) | Request a copy
[img] Slideshow (For access to the PowerPoint slides please contact STORE@staffs.ac.uk)
3. Reactivating the Post-Industrial Landscape of North Staffordshire and its Associated Histories through Contemporary Art Practice. GICB 2015 pptx.pdf - Presentation
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (44MB) | Request a copy

Abstract or description

As winner of the Grand Prize at the 8th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, Brownsword was invited to deliver three lectures to engage a visiting audience with the concepts underpinning his award-winning work 'National Treasure'. A series of the artists films made in collaboration with Johnny Magee were also screened following the lectures. Sessions were attended by international visitors, students and professional artists.

Introductory Lecture (25 April 2015)
This series of presentations and film screenings will elucidate Brownsword’s ongoing investigation of place, the displacement of its heritage industry.

The ‘Potteries’ - the name given to the six towns that collectively constitute Stoke-on-Trent, remains one of the few cities in Britain still associated with an industry that for centuries has shaped both the areas economic life and physical landscape. With the industrialisation of ceramics in Britain during the eighteenth century, systems of segregated labour brought about a phenomenal concentration of specialist skills and knowledge to this region. By 1800 the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent paralleled China as a world centre for ceramic production. Paradoxically, recent decades have seen centuries of this cultivated expertise being relocated to the Far East. Company investment in advanced production technology has further contributed to a massive reduction of an indigenous work force and the closure/ demolition of once prevalent sites of historic manufacture. To indicate the extent of Stokes decline in 1948 around 79,000 were employed in the North Staffordshire ceramics industry, in recent years the figure bottomed out to around 6000.

For over a decade Neil Brownsword’s artistic practice has remained a potent form of recording this historic change within the region. His exploration of post-industrial landscape as a raw material has renegotiated North Staffordshire’s associated socio-economic histories and production infrastructure through a variety of perspectives and practices.

Poet of Residue. Film screening of Salvage Series (26 April 2015)
In this presentation Neil Brownsword will illuminate his artist/archaeologist practice. Brownsword unearths/ salvages by-products from the histories ceramic production and regenerates these symbolically charged vestiges of labour into abstract assemblages and spatial compositions. Through its metaphoric exploration of absence, fragmentation and the discarded, his work mediates the impact of global capitalism upon heritage industry. Brownsword will also screen excerpts of Salvage Series (2005) filmed by Brownsword in collaboration with the National Video Archive for the Crafts. This film was made over a period of eight months in 2003 and 2004 and documents the oral testimonies and tacit knowledge of a senior generation of skilled employees at the Wedgwood factory during a period of intensive economic restructuring.

Reactivating the Post-Industrial Landscape of North Staffordshire and its Associated Histories through Contemporary Art Practice. Film screening of Marl Hole (2009) and Divided Labour (2013) 27 April 2015
Despite ongoing attempts to regenerate the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the economic fallout and human cost of the decline of traditional industry remain omnipresent throughout its six towns. Since its inception in 2009 the British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) has come to play an important role in the cultural renewal of the city. In this talk Brownsword will discuss his numerous artist led collaborations with the including Marl Hole (2009) and Topographies of the Obsolete (2013).

Despite ongoing attempts to regenerate the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the economic fallout and human cost of the decline of traditional industry remain omnipresent throughout its six towns. Since its inception in 2009 the British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) has come to play an important role in the cultural renewal of the city. In this talk Brownsword will discuss his numerous artist-led collaborations with the BCB, including Marl Hole (2009) and Topographies of the Obsolete (2013) through which Brownsword’s award winning work National Treasure was developed.

Marl Hole explored concepts of artistic dislocation within the context of North Staffordshire’s indigenous clay deposits. By stripping away the familiarity of one’s studio, tools, materials and working practices, Brownsword together with three international artists sought to interrogate the articulation of clay in its geographic abundance through a range of ephemeral interventions. Johnny Magee’s film that intimately captures moments of fleeting curiosity, failure and discovery will be screened as part of this session.

Topographies of the Obsolete is an international artistic research project initiated by Brownsword and Bergen Academy of Art and Design, that explores Stoke-on-Trent’s post-industrial landscape and its associated histories through interdisciplinary artistic practice. The project frames a particular point in time through which artists have opened up a different perspective to the complexities of socio–economic decline addressed by politicians, economists, historians and ex-employees. It documents both the aftermath of the Spode factory closure and the repurposing of its post-industrial fabric through processes of culture-led regeneration. Brownsword will discuss the development of this project and the ethical implications of working in a non-art space.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Additional Information: National Treasure (artefact) introduced new critical insights into aspects of skill displacement following the aftermath of decades of deindustrialisation in North Staffordshire’s ceramic sector. It examines shifts in production from the ‘shop floor’ to the factory tourism model, through an innovative combination of live performance, installation, social practice, film and artefact that ‘bring the traditions of the [ceramics] field into a new category of experience’. Brownsword’s parody of this ‘artisan on display’ format, critiques how the parade of ‘indigenous’ artisanal craft from the visitor centre experience, obscures the realities of profit first strategies of mass-automation and global outsourcing. Ex-industry China painters were employed by Brownsword to follow the genre of the romantic ruin commonly depicted in 18th century British ceramics. Painting on the backs of discarded platters found at former historic sites of production, with images that documented Stoke-on-Trent’s post-industrial fallout offered a new perspective to social realism within ceramic practice. By incorporating the dynamics of hired labour, National Treasure offered an innovative method to elevate and disseminate the endangered practices of a rapidly disappearing culture of labour. The work also explored the ethical implications of appropriating people and their skill as a raw material – a subject relatively absent in contemporary ceramic practice.
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Art and Design
Event Title: 8th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale
Event Location: Icheon World Ceramic Centre, Gyeongchungdae-ro 2697 beon-gil, Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, 17379, Rep. of Korea
Event Dates: 25 -27 April 2015
Depositing User: Neil BROWNSWORD
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 13:52
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2019 13:52
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/5650

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

DisabledGo Staffordshire University is a recognised   Investor in People. Sustain Staffs
Legal | Freedom of Information | Site Map | Job Vacancies
Staffordshire University, College Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2DE t: +44 (0)1782 294000