Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Ceramics has broadened out its dialogues with other fields through experimental practice and developments in critical theory. The relationship between ceramic artists and museum collections has formed a key part of this development.
Ceramics in the Expanded Field was a 3-year project undertaken by the CRC-UK which produced the first critical overview of the relationship between contemporary ceramics and curatorial practice in museum culture through artistic collaboration with specific collections and the publication of critical writing.
Working closely with the Freud Museum in London, York Art Gallery and Plymouth City Museum and Gallery, the researchers examined how ceramic artists could animate museum collections in new ways. The in-depth project website published bi-monthly commissioned essays from key international writers in the field, and Contemporary Clay and Museum Culture, an anthology of critical writing on ceramics and museology, published by Routledge, contextualised and defined the powerful relationship between ceramic practice and museology within the broader international arena of visual culture. A series of symposia, a major international conference and a major final exhibition were staged to draw attention to the significance of contemporary ceramic practice within museums and develop a wider audience for both areas.
With the decline in education and industry of a practice that is of such fundamental relevance, the project helped to raise awareness not only of its importance in the contemporary art landscape but also its social and cultural relevance for new audiences. It sought to contribute to the dialogues and agendas surrounding this significant area of practice by exploring a gap in cultural knowledge.
- Produced the first critical over-view of the relationship between contemporary ceramics and museum culture through a body of theoretical and critical writing, the publication of an anthology of essays on ceramics and museology and the creation of a cutting-edge website.
- Investigated and contextualised both the history of curatorial practice in exhibitions of contemporary ceramics within museums and recent developments in contemporary ceramic artists’ interventions into museums.
- Explored how historic collections can be animated through a dialogue with contemporary practice and identified divergent research models for this exploration, through collaboration with three museum collections.
- Contextualised and defined the powerful relationship between ceramic practice and museology within the broader international arena of visual culture.
- Drew attention to the significance of contemporary ceramic practice within museum culture, thereby developing a wider audience for both areas.
Each year the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) provides funding from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities. Only applications of the highest quality are funded and the range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC please go to www.ahrc.ac.uk