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Fierce Passengers: Inside-Out/siders

Keynote Abstract for 2018 Restating Clay conference in York, England March 19-20, 2018.

Ceramics whips through the 2nd decade of this century, upturning notions of ‘discipline’, resisting long-held values. Fine lines scatter: inter-, cross-, multi-, non-… Have skill and fluency run aground? What is worth risking in making space for newness? Is clay sintering or simpering under the hot lights of contemporary galleries, art fairs and biennales? Which opportunities are lost and found at a time when bucking is the trend?
These questions offer a tangle that perhaps many of us would prefer to ignore. However, in reflecting on my experiences, and those of my students over the past 15 years, the urgency to respond to these issues
has only increased. Via hands-on approaches and studio-based research – through collaborative, figural, interactive, geometric, functional, narrative and/or as yet undefined forms – artists continue to dig up material and ideas, transforming the complex world around them. If ceramics is power, it is privilege. As artists in the field imagine its future, we are accountable for widening access and participation.