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Thinking Hands

BROWNSWORD, Neil (2014) Thinking Hands. In: Thinking Hands, 17 September 2014, Central St Martins College of Art, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AA. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or description

‘With the decline of hand and craft skills’ development, it is believed to be affecting capacities in a range of fields from literacy development, to design, to surgery. With 3D printing, why do we still need to develop hand skills and knowledge of materials?’ This symposium brought together a range of experts in ceramic design, surgery, and neuroscience to explore perspectives on the significance of hand skills’ development.

In his presentation, Brownsword discussed his training in the ceramic industry and the importance of tacit knowledge in the face of new technologies - citing endangered practices such as flower making, which he had recently reverse engineered via hiring out an ex-industry flower maker for a major project with Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery (2014). Through this process he traced sophistications of touch through fragments of making, and identified other over looked forms of manual intelligence through film collaborations with Johnny Magee and redundant tools.

Other speakers included: ceramic designers Mike Eden, Tony Quinn, Kathryn Hearn, Neil Brownsword and Tamsin van Essen; eye-surgeon, Bruce Noble; neurophysiologist, Roger Lemon; medical educator, Jamila Sherif; surgical educator, Roger Kneebone (filmed interview), Duncan Hooson and Julia Rowntree of Clayground.

'Participants numbering 55 included teachers (primary and secondary, mainstream and special needs), makers, arts educationalists and policy-makers, library and museum learning managers, medical and surgical educators, academics, hand-skills advocates and students.

Thinking Hands? is an initiative of arts organisation Clayground Collective in partnership with Central Saint Martins Ceramic Design and Widening Participation, A New Direction, British Ceramics Biennial (BCB), Canal & River Trust (C&RT) and Camden Libraries, to coincide with the London Design Festival 2014. Supported with funds from the national lottery distributed by Arts Council England'.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Additional Information: Divided Labour – The unsung crafts of ceramic industrialisation. The New Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery (Exhibition) As one of five artists funded by Arts Council England to ‘develop new audiences for museums through contemporary art’, Brownsword was invited as artist/curator by Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery (SMAG) in 2011. As part of the new museum’s redevelopment (open April 2014), this involved the reinterpretation and redisplay their nationally recognised Shropshire ceramics collection. Brownsword's response was set in the context of recent globalisation where traditional industry has outsourced much of its skilled labour overseas. For the commission he sought to re-connect overlooked industrial craft practices back to SMAG’s ceramics collection. Through his curated taxonomies of found objects and industrial tools, Brownsword offered innovative entry points to further understanding traditional ceramic manufacture through residual traces of manual dexterity.
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Art and Design
Event Title: Thinking Hands
Event Location: Central St Martins College of Art, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AA
Event Dates: 17 September 2014
Depositing User: Neil BROWNSWORD
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2019 10:59
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:56

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