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Reactivating North Staffordshire's Post-Industrial Heritage, Northern Ceramic Society Lecture

BROWNSWORD, Neil (2018) Reactivating North Staffordshire's Post-Industrial Heritage, Northern Ceramic Society Lecture. In: Ceramic Conversation & North Staffordshire's Post-Industrial Heritage, 29 September 2018, Spode Works Visitor Centre 32 Elenora Street Stoke-on-Trent ST4 1QD.

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Abstract or description

Reactivating North Staffordshire's Post-Industrial Heritage

Alongside pioneers of the industrial revolution, such as Josiah Wedgwood and Spode, the Staffordshire potteries in the late 19th century comprised of hundreds of relatively small factories with more than 2,000 kilns firing millions of products a year. By 1938 half of the region’s workforce worked in the ceramic industry with employment in 1948 peaking to an estimated 79,000 people. The ‘Potteries’ - the name given to the six towns that constitute Stoke-on-Trent, remain one of the few cities in Britain still associated with an industry that for centuries has shaped the areas economic life and physical landscape. Yet during the last three decades, escalating international competition and economic unrest has destabilized Stoke-on- Trent’s global monopoly. Throughout this period the physical evidence of the effects of deindustrialisation have remained commonplace throughout the city, as sites of historic manufacture and its related infrastructure faced closure and demolition.

This lecture will explore artistic mediations surrounding the legacy of deindustrialisation in relation to Stoke-on-Trent’s heritage of ceramic manufacture. Artist Neil Brownsword has continued to extend this critique of globalization and its socio-economic impact on people, place and traditional industry. Through research methods that involve film, performative gesture, installation and the appropriated remnants ceramic production, Brownsword examines the complex knowledge systems within ceramic manufacture. Through this paper, Brownsword raises questions surrounding the value, relevance and sustainability of increasingly threatened industrial craft skills that remain an important aspect of Britain’s intangible cultural heritage.

Professor Neil Brownsword, Bucks New University, UK. University of Bergen, NO.
Neil Brownsword is an artist, researcher and educator who holds Professorial positions in ceramics at Bucks New University and University of Bergen, Norway. Brownsword began his career in ceramics as an apprentice in the mid- 1980’s at the Wedgwood factory. 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. He was one of twelve finalists shortlisted for the 2017 Woman’s Hour Craft Prize, held in collaboration with BBC Radio 4, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Crafts Council.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Additional Information: For access to the PowerPoint slides please contact STORE@staffs.ac.uk
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Art and Design
Event Title: Ceramic Conversation & North Staffordshire's Post-Industrial Heritage
Event Location: Spode Works Visitor Centre 32 Elenora Street Stoke-on-Trent ST4 1QD
Event Dates: 29 September 2018
Depositing User: Neil BROWNSWORD
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2021 14:44
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2021 04:30
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/6745

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