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Have you booked your ticket for the next CoCA symposia?

Tuesday 23rd March, 10.30am-3pm

It is free to attend thanks to support from Arts Council England. I am pleased to be able to share the updated programme and booking details:
Restating Clay: There’s much work to be done …

This symposia will explore key issues faced by the ceramics sector, most particularly from a curatorial and collections perspective, including the future of research and collections, engagement with the press, digital opportunities and exhibition activism.

The keynote will be presented by Design Historian Tanya Harrod, with further contributions from Beth Ann Gerstein, Executive Director, American Museum of Ceramic Art, California, USA, Emma Crichton Miller, Freelance Journalist, Writer and Editor and Jane Audas, Digital consultant, design historian, craft writer and curator. The day will be convened by Paul Greenhalgh, Director, Sainsbury Centre.
To book your place visit the CoCA eventbrite page.

23 March 2021 - 10:30-15:00 GMT

10.30: Welcome and Introduction - Dr Helen Walsh, Curator, CoCA, York Art Gallery and Paul Greenhalgh, Director, Sainsbury Centre

10.40: Research Dreams and Clay Lives - Tanya Harrod, Independent Design Historian

As the potter and ceramic historian Nigel Wood has observed ‘the history of ceramics is really the history of mankind’. Ceramics help to illuminate the story of humanity in most cultures but, categorised as a so-called applied or decorative art, ceramic studies have invariably been marginal to art historical teaching and writing. This paper will explore this exclusion and reflects on curriculum changes needed at school and university level. From fashionable consumption and global networks to new insights into our understanding of modernism, ceramic studies bring together science and the humanities. Working with actual archives and ‘embodied archives’ the field is wide open for exciting and ground-breaking research.

11.20: Audience questions for Tanya Harrod moderated by Paul Greenhalgh

11.30: Comfort break

11.40: Recoding Clay: what is being done in the digital space? - Jane Audas, Digital consultant, design historian, craft writer and curator

An exploration of how ceramics are being ‘displayed’ in digital spaces - online exhibitions, collections online, through user generated projects and on social media channels.

12.05: Audience questions for Jane Audas moderated by Paul Greenhalgh

12.15: Lunch break

13.00: An introduction to Paul Greenhalgh’s new book: Ceramic, Art and Civilisation (Bloomsbury Visual Arts)

13.15: CoCA UK Public Studio Ceramics Collections Research - Dr Helen Walsh, Curator, CoCA, York Art Gallery and Charlotte Dew, CoCA SSN Freelancer

An introduction to the research undertaken into UK public collections of studio ceramics during the last twelve months, and the soon to be launched database that will present this information, and a new range of CoCA resources.

13.30: Pots and the Press - Emma Crichton Miller, Freelance Journalist, Writer and Editor

In 2016 in a discussion at Frieze Art Fair, Alison Britton responded to the idea that clay is experiencing a boom in the art world, amongst collectors and artists alike, with the observation, "Ceramics has never gone away, it’s just that general culture rediscovers it from time to time." What governs that flow of rediscovery and forgetting? How can ceramics curators seek out and build on the current interest in ceramics evinced by the popularity of the Great Pottery Throw Down, the celebrity status of individual makers like Edmund de Waal and Grayson Perry and a definite shift in market perception reflected in rising auction prices? What is the role of the press in this? How has the field of ceramics been treated by the general media? What are the challenges in gaining the attention of arts journalists? And how can the mainstream press be persuaded into a more vigorous consideration of the field of ceramics - both of its history and of its current, contemporary liveliness and diversity?

13.55: Audience questions for Emma Crichton Miller moderated by Paul Greenhalgh

14.00: Comfort break

14.10: Exhibition Activism - Beth Ann Gerstein, Executive Director, American Museum of Ceramic Art, California, USA

Can museum exhibitions encourage reflection, activism, and change? We the People: Serving Notice, Julie Green: Flown Blue, and Making In Between: Contemporary Chinese American Ceramics exhibitions will illustrate how museum exhibitions can spur change. These exhibitions addressed issues including capital punishment, environmental protection, freedom of speech, gender equality, human rights, immigration, racism, wildlife protection, and women’s rights.

14.45: Audience questions for Beth Ann Gerstein moderated by Paul Greenhalgh

14.50: Closing remarks, future resources and opportunities - Dr Helen Walsh, Curator, CoCA, York Art Gallery

We very much hope you can join us