Community of Practice: Stories beneath the surface
The Community of Practice programme supports the development of creative practice, offering unique opportunities for participating artists to test new ways of working and thinking with support from leading practitioners and researchers within the field of contemporary ceramics.
Stories beneath the surface is a powerful workshop programme that seeks to interrogate the authority and versions of told history. The programme seeks to explore how absent identities and people can be centred in stories told through contemporary ceramics using museum collections, archives, oral histories and unofficial archives.
Jacqueline Bishop, Paul Scott and Matt Smith will lead a small group of 16 people, including artists, makers, curators, researchers, professionals and enthusiasts from all fields who would like to engage in the workshop.
What is it about?
This workshop will address the:
- Power of oral histories, exploring contemporary ceramics practice as a gateway to telling (y)our stories
- Absences and silences in museum collections
- Unofficial archives as a decolonisation tool
- Filtered historical narratives, showing how artists can re-edit and present complex stories for audience today
- Position of artists in challenging norms
Participants will further benefit from the following outputs:
- Oral history training and project
- An identified untold/silenced story
- A response to a collection or archive
- A supportive community of practice
What will we be doing?
Whilst in working from our individual spaces and coming together as part of the workshop, this will be a collective process of moving through activities, discussion and investigation together. The workshop will take shape as:
- A series of workshops, accessible online talks and discussions with peers and leading artists.
- Practice-based research with historical collections, heritage sites and archives in Stoke-on-Trent.
- Self-directed research, practice and group discussion will be required in between workshop days and will deepen critical dialogue and the development of individual practice.
This workshop will take place online for 3 days and in Stoke-on-Trent for 2 days. Whilst online, you can take part in the workshop from wherever you are – studio, home, workplace etc.
The workshop is delivered over 5 days between August 25th – October 24th, 2022 through online and in-person participation.
Workshop schedule and themes:
Please find below the workshop schedule which outlines how the workshop will take shape:
Day 1: Thursday 25th August 1-8pm GMT
(Online) Introduction and Oral History with Jacqueline Bishop
Day 2: Thursday 15th September 1-8pm GMT
(Online) Artist presentations from Jacqueline Bishop, Paul Scott and Matt Smith.
Group discussions focusing on practice and themes unearthed through artist presentations.
Day 3: Monday 19th September 10am-5pm GMT
(In Stoke-on-Trent) Exploring archives and unofficial archives with Paul Scott
Day 4: Tuesday 20th September 10am – 5pm GMT
(In Stoke-on-Trent) Investigating absent and silenced stories in heritage with Matt Smith.
Day 5: Monday 24th October 1-8pm GMT
(Online) Workshop conclusion: Participant presentations and reflections on oral histories collected and stories identified for future development through contemporary ceramics practice.
What will we provide?
- Group workshops as listed in the programme timeline
- Access to a reading and research list to develop learning and practice
- Access to a Microsoft Teams platform for the group to share and discuss progress online
- A 1:1 for each participant within the programme with one of the leading artists, timing will be agreed with the lead artists.
What will you need?
- To be available for the group workshop sessions at the dates and times listed below
- To be available in Stoke-on-Trent for the two in-person workshop days
- Time in-between workshop sessions to develop ideas, to complete workshop tasks (Record an oral history for example) and to discuss with other participants
- To be able to access group meetings online.
- Access to a laptop, Wi-Fi, zoom/Microsoft teams (more information to follow)
The total fee for participating in the programme is £250. This is payable in full or in 3 instalments of:
- Upon booking = £85
- Deadline July 1st = £82.50
- Deadline August 1st = £82.50
*Please not this fee doesn’t include travel or accommodation, but we can provide you with a list of accommodation if you need it for your time in S-o-T.
Cancellation or postponement terms:
Workshop bookings are non-refundable unless we can fill your space. Unfortunately, you will not be entitled to a refund nor will we offer a transfer of your booking or provide a credit note unless the space is filled.
The BCB Community of Practice has a minimum attendance level (8 people) and may be cancelled or postponed if too few bookings are received.
We reserve the right to cancel or postpone workshops at any time.
How to Book
If you’d like to pay in full, please use the pink button on this webpage labelled as ‘Community of Practice Full Price Ticket’.
If you’d like to pay in instalments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and use ‘Community of Practice’ as the subject. You will be emailed an invoice for each instalment.
Places on the programme will come on a first come first served basis. As places are limited we advise booking as soon as you can.
If you have any questions or are having troubling making a payment, please email email@example.com.
Jacqueline Bishop is a writer, academic and visual artist whose book, The Gymnast & Other Positions, was awarded the 2016 OCM Bocas Award in Non-Fiction. She is also the author most recently of “The Gift of Music & Song: Interviews of Jamaican Women Writers.” Awards she has received include the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for short story writing, a year-long Fulbright grant to Morocco, a UNESCO/Fulbright Fellowship to Paris, and a Brown Foundation/Dora Maar visual arts award. She is currently studying for her PhD at the university of Leeds. Jacqueline’s recent work ‘History at the Dinner Table’ consisted of brightly colours bone China plates used symbolically in Caribbean homes and explored how they hid the violent side of slavery and colonialism in European countries.
Examples of Jacqueline’s practice and research include:
(2021) The Gift of Music & Song: Interviews of Jamaican Women Writers (book) [Find out more about the book]
(2021) History at the Dinner Table, British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent [Read the Financial Times article ]
Paul Scott lives and works in rural Cumbria. He has been a professional artist for over thirty years and is best known for his research into ceramics and print. His playful intervention, particularly those of his blue and white china pieces, thoughtfully and provocatively chart and investigate “the cultural wallpaper in our minds”, subtly subverting the domestic familiarity of familiar patterns and images to make us think about the complexities of history and contemporary society through transfer ware and collaging.
“Over the years, my artworks have commemorated and examined a range of issues, from the Foot and Mouth crisis to the impact of energy extraction and production on our environment… I have inserted nuclear and coal fired power stations as well as wind turbines into pastoral landscapes, exploratory oil rigs in pristine arctic locations – and placed landscapes with fracking rigs onto cracked platters.’ – Matt Smith
Examples of practice and research include:
(2016) Horizon, Transferware & Contemporary Ceramics, Arnoldsche (book) [ Find out more about Paul Scott’s book ]
(2021) New American Scenery, RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island, USA [ Read about Paul Scott’s work, New American Scenery]
Working as a hybrid artist and curator, the core of Matt’s practice is unpicking the work of establishment organisations and shifting their – and their visitors’ – points of reference. Using techniques of Institutional Critique and Artist Intervention, the familiar is made unfamiliar and power structures are brought to light.
Using craft, with its connotations of the amateur, accessibility and gender and exploiting its place in the art world, the work celebrates the mainstream and also unsettles it, taking objects from their intended roles and repurposing them in alternative situations and narratives.
Through re-appropriation and reinterpretation, Matt’s work aims to question the master narratives we get told and provide a space in which marginalised viewpoints are given space and alternative and contradictory conclusions can be made.
Examples of practice and research include:
(2018) Flux: Parian Unpacked at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge [ Link to article ]
(2020) Losing Venus, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford [ Link to article ]