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Re-activating Displaced Heritage

BROWNSWORD, Neil (2014) Re-activating Displaced Heritage. In: From Geographic Pasts to Virtual Presence, International Academy of Ceramics 46th General Assembly, 8-12 September 2014, The Printworks, Dublin Castle, Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or description

The International Academy of Ceramics (IAC) is the principal organisation representing the interests of ceramists worldwide. Its membership consists primarily of individual makers, supported by writers and critics, museum and gallery curators, and private collectors. For its 46th General Assembly, Brownsword was invited to present at ‘Moving Objects –From Geographic Pasts to Virtual Presence’. It explored contemporary ceramic practices within four key themes – Past; Hybrid Practice; Identity and Influence; and Future, of which Brownsword presented in its ‘Past’ strand, his on-going artistic mediation of Stoke-on-Trent, and how the recent effects of globalisation have impacted upon its heritage industries. The presentation was structured partly as a reflective examination Brownsword’s practice, with particular reference to his work, National Treasure that developed out of Topographies of the Obsolete, an artistic research project which has engaged a group of international artists to explore Stoke’s post-industrial landscape.

‘The three-day programme featured 21 invited speakers and includes acclaimed international ceramicists such as Brendan Tang, Katie Bunnell and Neil Brownsword as well as renowned Irish practitioners including Claire Curneen and Ingrid Murphy’.

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: From Geographic Pasts to Virtual Presence, International Academy of Ceramics 46th General Assembly
Event Location: The Printworks, Dublin Castle, Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Event Dates: 8-12 September 2014
Depositing User: Neil BROWNSWORD
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 13:50
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2019 13:50
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/5652

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