Staffordshire University logo
STORE - Staffordshire Online Repository

Externalising the Archive, lecture

BROWNSWORD, Neil (2019) Externalising the Archive, lecture. In: ‘Who will draw our pots in the future?’ Archaeologists and Ceramicists in Conversation, 9 October 2019, Spode Heritage Centre, Spode Works, Kingsway Stoke-on-Trent ST4 1JB. (Unpublished)

[img] Image (British Ceramics Biennial promotional material)
‘Who will draw our pots in the future_’ Archaeologists and Ceramicists in Conversation - British Cer.pdf - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Registered users only
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (3MB) | Request a copy
[img] Slideshow (Externalising the Archive presentation)
Externalising the Archive.pptx - Presentation
Restricted to Registered users only
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (111MB) | Request a copy
[img] Image (Externalising the Archive promotional material)
Externalising the Archive - British Ceramics Biennial.pdf - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Registered users only
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (9MB) | Request a copy
[img] Other (British Ceramics Biennial web details)
index.html - Supplemental Material
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (41kB)

Abstract or description

Externalising the Archive is a multimedia installation by Neil Brownsword which re-evaluates ‘heritage at risk’ retained at the former Spode Works, Stoke-on-Trent. Out of an estimated 70,000 production moulds, from c.1850 to 2008 - when the factory ceased production, less than 5% are earmarked for retention. The vast majority of more recent moulds - generally regarded to have ‘little historic value,’ face impending disposal as the site undergoes regeneration. Such by-products are rarely valued or preserved for posterity; but with no inventory, these tools of mass production represent an ‘untapped’ archive that illuminates both technological developments and stylistic change. The project questioned established criteria and age as arbitrary determinants of cultural value, as these objects equally constitute an important aspect of industrial history. This lecture illuminates Brownsword's practice and the research underpinning Externalising the Archive, which was developed in conjunction with the international artistic research project Topographies of the Obsolete and the British Ceramics Biennial.

From the BCB website:
‘Who will draw our pots in the future?’ Archaeologists and Ceramicists in Conversation

Fired clay, perhaps more than any other creative medium, has the potential to endure into the future and become archaeological evidence. Ceramic artists have often looked to the past for inspiration, sometimes adopting archaeological methods in what has been described as an ‘archival impulse’. By making new ceramic objects, we are ultimately adding to the archaeological record. Meanwhile, archaeology is increasingly recognised as an inherently creative enterprise, where archaeologists make, or design, the past in the present.

When you bring the practices of art and archaeology into dialogue – what happens? Is it too simplistic to characterise one of practices as being about imaginative design and one of the practices as about scientiVc study? Does each profession respond to the ‘thingness’ of ceramics in a different way? How does each profession approach the ideas of use and the aesthetic? Does each profession have a different perspective on the social value or even social activism of their work with ceramics? Given the creativity embodied in both professions – can or should either of them avoid sentimentality or nostalgia when working with notions such as technology, craftsmanship, change and loss.

This symposium will bring together leading archaeologists and ceramicists in a dialogue which will explore creative synergies between these two disciplines and discuss examples of collaborative practice. The second half of the symposium will be about artists and archaeologists thinking aloud about their own work with ceramics. They will listen to and share their thinking and provoke some debate about the differences and similarities in their approach and ethics, their creativity and discipline, as well as their products and outcomes.

Speakers include:
Neil Brownsword, Professor of Ceramics at Staffordshire University,
Janet Miller, CEO, Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), Museum of London
Jacqui Pearce, Senior Finds Specialist, Museum of London and President of the Society for Post Medieval Ceramics, Professor Stephen Dixon, Manchester Metropolitan University,
Dr Christopher McHugh, Ulster University, Lyn Blackmore and Nigel Jeffries, Medieval and Later Ceramics, Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Art and Design
Event Title: ‘Who will draw our pots in the future?’ Archaeologists and Ceramicists in Conversation
Event Location: Spode Heritage Centre, Spode Works, Kingsway Stoke-on-Trent ST4 1JB
Event Dates: 9 October 2019
Depositing User: Neil BROWNSWORD
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2021 10:39
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2021 04:30
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/6749

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