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Beyond Preservation: Re-evaluating Intangible Cultural Heritage in the UK Ceramic Industry. On the Edge - The 49th International Academy of Ceramics Congress & General Assembly

BROWNSWORD, Neil (2021) Beyond Preservation: Re-evaluating Intangible Cultural Heritage in the UK Ceramic Industry. On the Edge - The 49th International Academy of Ceramics Congress & General Assembly. In: On the Edge - The 49th International Academy of Ceramics Congress & General Assembly, 22-23 September 2021, virtual. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or description

Description
Neil Brownsword was invited to deliver a keynote presentation for the 49th International Academy of Ceramics Congress & General Assembly under the topic of Social and Political Reality. The international Academy of Ceramics is the only association devoted to the medium of clay that functions on an international level. The IAC develops and encourages all forms of international co-operation to promote ceramics and to encourage and maintain production at the highest level of quality in all ceramic cultures. The theme of the conference, On the Edge, encourages discussions and interpretations that address both the mainstream and margins within ceramic art, design and crafts. The theme acknowledges the diverse discussions that currently take place in the field of ceramics in communities of artists, researchers and other actors. The theme provides a general framework under which the four following proposed topics will be discussed and shared via lectures and exhibitions within the congress program.

1. Signals from the Future
This proposal acknowledges ceramic-making processes, material-based research and, in
particular, emerging practices. We invite contributions that consider how traditional skills
and methods feed innovation, and the implementation of new technologies and
manufacturing processes.

2. Social and Political Reality
Proposals will take into consideration the whole of society, including all actors involved
from communities to individuals. We invite here contributions to discuss social values and
responsibilities, particularly how art and ceramics can contribute to support social equality.

3. Locality and Materiality
For this topic, we consider that our everyday practices are based on locality. The local
environment including its history, culture and material resources gives context and
responsibility to our actions: we invite contributions related to restrictions and limitations,
from the perspective of global and local resources, in order to understand ceramics as an
ecological and sustainable material which can restore environmental health.

4. Making and Wellbeing
Individual or community wellbeing is social, physical and mental; under this proposal, we
invite critical contributions discussing the ways in which art and craft can enhance human
wellbeing.

Abstract
Global economics and advances in automation technology have radically transformed the landscape of the UK’s ceramic industry in recent decades. Whilst these transitions have facilitated greater productivity, once commonplace skills associated with ceramic manufacture have been displaced, threatening the continuation of traditional know-how. Should such practices, deemed outmoded or economically unviable for contemporary ceramic production be simply relegated to history or the trails of heritage tourism? What value is there in safeguarding this knowledge for the future? How can traditional practices be revived through new modes of thinking and creativity in a digital age?

Since 2013, Neil Brownsword has explored these questions through his artistic practice by foregrounding the embodied knowledge of personnel formerly employed in North Staffordshire’s ceramic industry. Using a range of intersecting approaches that include social practice, collaborative performance, object installation and re-enactment, his works have drawn greater critical attention to people and traditional knowledge displaced by regional industrial change. Site-specific interventions staged at numerous post-industrial spaces and high-profile cultural venues, have aimed to rejuvenate procedural and material knowledge embedded within marginalised industrial practices. This presentation elucidates Brownsword’s projects which re-evaluate intangible cultural heritage within Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramic sector.

To see a recording of the presentation visit: https://youtu.be/mtPcKyAJWdU

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Faculty: School of Digital, Technologies and Arts > Art and Design
Event Title: On the Edge - The 49th International Academy of Ceramics Congress & General Assembly
Event Location: virtual
Event Dates: 22-23 September 2021
Depositing User: Neil BROWNSWORD
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2022 10:57
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2022 04:30
Related URLs:
URI: https://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/7145

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