Conference: Ceramics in the Expanded Field

LOCATION | University of Westminster

DATE | 17-19 July 2014

The AHRC funded project Ceramics in the Expanded Field; Behind the Scenes at the Museum culminated in an international 3-day conference and accompanying exhibition hosted by CREAM researchers Christie Brown, Julian Stair and Clare Twomey at the University’s Marylebone site from 17–19th July 2014. The conference opened with a keynote address from internationally renowned American conceptual artist Theaster Gates who reflected on the dynamic relationship between artist and audience, the need for art to be socially inclusive and how his training as a potter has shaped his artistic involvement with the Dorchester Projects and the Black Cinema in Chicago.

The conference examined how ceramic practice has broadened over the last decade, initiating new forms of experimental practice and dialogues within the museum environment. Speakers from the UK, USA, Korea and Australia presented papers on developments in contemporary ceramic practice and its relationship to museum culture.They interrogated ideas about ceramic display and intervention, and divergent forms of practice, curation and museology within ‘the expanded field’. Keynote sessions explored the following themes; The Museum as Context, Audience Engagement, Curation and Authorship and Process and Material, while strand sessions addressed  themes around Institutional and Museological Responses, Object Narratives and Curatorial Narratives.

After the opening address, delegates attended the private view of the accompanying practice–based research exhibition held downstairs in the Ambika P3 gallery. The exhibition was opened by the Rt Hon Lord Paul of Marylebone, PC, Chancellor of the University, introduced by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Petts. Lord Paul commented on the power of Julian Stair’s monumental pots, from his successful touring exhibition Quietus, and the dynamic performative installation Piece by Piece by Clare Twomey, later shown to acclaim at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. He also made special mention of Christie Brown’s installation, Ambika’s Dream, which commemorated his daughter Ambika Paul’s love for the zoo through ceramic figures and drawings.

An anthology of essays based on a selection of conference papers was published by Routledge in July 2016

Full list of conference contributors

James Beighton, Freelance Curator, formerly at MIMA, Middlesbrough, UK. Laura Breen, University of Westminster, UK Christie Brown, University of Westminster, UK Glen R. Brown, Kansas State University, USA Juliet Carey, Waddesdon Manor, National Trust, UK Kimberley Chandler, University of Brighton, UK Hyeyoung Cho, Hangyang University & Seoul Women’s University, S. Korea Phoebe Cummings, Artist, UK David Cushway, University of Sunderland, UK Wendy Gers, University of Johannesburg, South Africa Rachel Gottleib, Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Canada Laura Gray, Independent researcher, UK Jan Guy, Sydney College of the Arts, Australia Tanya Harrod, Freelance writer and art historian, UK Stephen Knott, Journal of Modern Craft, UK Andrew Livingstone, University of Sunderland, UK Martina Margetts, Royal College of Art, London, UK Christopher McHugh, University of Sunderland, UK Tessa Peters, University of Westminster, UK Catherine Roche, Carmarthen College of Art, UK Anders Ruhwald, Cranbrook University, Detroit, USA Ezra Shales, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, USA Mella Shaw, Artist and Independent Scholar, UK Matt Smith, University of Brighton and Unravelled Arts, UK Julian Stair, University of Westminster, UK Clare Twomey, University of Westminster, UK Helen Walsh, York Museums Trust & Manchester Metropolitan University, UK Sarah Younan, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK