Ceramics Collections: exploring object engagement beyond the known historic models of clay practice

Twomey, C. 2018. Ceramics Collections: exploring object engagement beyond the known historic models of clay practice. PhD thesis University of Westminster Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media

TitleCeramics Collections: exploring object engagement beyond the known historic models of clay practice
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsTwomey, C.

This  practice-­‐based  research  examines  ceramics  collections  and  artistic  practice.  It  explicitly focuses on the exploration of object engagement beyond the historic models of clay practice and the uses of clay as a medium through which to examine cultural and museological challenges. It is centred on five artworks by the author made between 2006 and 2015 (Trophy, 2006,  Forever, 2010, Exchange, 2012, Piece  by  Piece,  2013,  Manifest: 10,000 hours, 2015). These employ advances in curatorial practice and theory that have informed the curation of ceramic artefacts held by museums seeking to reframe the relationship between material culture and clay culture, and the modes and  devices  of  how  ceramics  are  displayed.  These  five  exhibition  works  have  interrogated traditional understandings of ceramic collections in museums and their boundaries. These exhibitions, together with this commentary, constitute this PhD by publication. Ceramics, clay practice and craft are the context of these developmental works that have expanded thinking within the field. The thesis discusses the long-­‐term development of ceramic and craft practices  of  immersive  works  that  can  be  used  as  a tool to access our understanding of ceramic collections and trajectories. The research recognizes shifts in the contextual development of craft practice and in the literature developing alongside practice during a period  from  the  1960s  onwards. In  the contextual review the museum and the collections in focus are addressed in the contexts of audience engagement, participation and live works, and issues are raised in relation to time-­‐based works and shared authorships. The critical developments of clay practice  are  also  addressed  within  the  timeframe  of  each  section.  Each  of  the  five  artworks is outlined in terms of context, research and development. These works have addressed  the  main  question  of  how  ceramic  collections  may  be  animated  and  explored through the audience’s participation. Through ten years of research, experimentation  and  close  investigation,  these  questions  have  been slowly  and  carefully developed to test the boundaries of knowledge regarding arts and museum practices, encouraging a continued relationship with these concerns.


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