Working with Whiteness – clay workshops

Wednesday 1 February – Wednesday 15 February 2023, 02.30–15.00

A series of three practical workshops using porcelain clay to discuss whiteness and antiracism – with artist and PhD researcher Victoria Burgher.

The Workshops

In these practical, hands-on workshops, we will work with porcelain as a way of thinking together about the meaning of whiteness in society today. Participants will learn pottery-making and decorating techniques to produce their own ceramic porcelain pieces, which will be glazed and fired and can be taken home after the final session. We will learn about the material history of porcelain, in relation to Empire and colonialism, and discuss why porcelain is an apt material with which to consider symbolic whiteness. 

These workshops will be informal and relaxed, creating a safe, supportive environment in which to openly discuss whiteness, while engaging with the therapeutic qualities of clay. 

Dates and Times

These sessions will run on three Wednesday afternoons in February. Refreshments will be provided. 

  • Session 1 – Wednesday 1 February, 2:30-4:30pm: Intro to Victoria’s research and material history/culture of porcelain. Plus, learn pottery techniques to make pinch pots, tiles and surface decoration. Book via Eventbrite.
  • Session 2 – Wednesday 8 February, 2:30-4:30pm: Discussion of porcelain’s ties to symbolic whiteness and why we need to talk about this in antiracist practice. You’ll decorate the work made in the previous week. Book via Eventbrite.
  • Session 3 – Wednesday 15 February, 2:30-3pm: Collect and discuss glaze-fired decorated pieces. You’ll get the opportunity to reflect and feedback. Book via Eventbrite.

Participants will gain an understanding of the history of whiteness as a racial and social construct and discuss how it continues to embody and uphold white supremacy today. Participants will be able to reflect on how highlighting whiteness in this way is crucial to any antiracist social justice work. These workshops are inclusive and open to all and will create a sensitive and supportive environment in which to develop our racial awareness.