Dena joined the Biennial team back in 2012, initially managing a number aspects of the festival’s engagement – from our work with schools to volunteer management. The festival’s work with its community has expanded significantly in recent years, which has given the opportunity for Dena to focus working with those on health journeys.
Alongside Kat Evans, Dena now manages the Clay Works? programme, which explores the potential benefits to health that working with clay can bring.
Alongside her work for the festival, Dena teaches MA-level students socially-engaged art practice and management at Manchester Metropolitan University and is completing an AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Sunderland. Her doctorate explores the holistic benefits of working in clay in addiction recovery contexts and is in close collaboration with the British Ceramics Biennial and the Crafts Council UK.
For the 2019 festival, her role will include the curation of experiential clay spaces on all of the four of the festival sites. Dena will also assist Kat in the programming of participant-led events, which will showcase the experiences and outcomes of the Clay Works? projects.
“The presence of the stories, experiences and clay outcomes from the residents of Stoke-on-Trent are always a festival-highlight for me. They change significantly each time, ranging from static displays to feasts and clay workshops. I can’t wait to see what the community come up with this time.”