Professor shortlisted for Woman's Hour Craft Prize


Date: 10th Jul 2017

Neil Brownsword, a well-respected Professor in Ceramics and Glass, is among 12 makers in the running for an inaugural £10,000 The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize with BBC Radio 4, the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) and the Crafts Council.

Neil creates installations using ceramics, film and performance taking the ceramics industry of The Potteries in his native Staffordshire as his primary subject, observing its people and production systems.

He has sought to challenge the marginalisation of craft skill in industrial contexts, and to highlight the danger of specialist knowledge being lost. Brownsword was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2015 Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, in South Korea.

Speaking about being shortlisted, Prof Brownsword said: “It’s a great honour to be shortlisted for this prestigious prize and even more important that it will highlight threatened industrial craft knowledge and the urgent need to pass on and preserve this for future generations.”

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize was launched in order to celebrate the most innovative and exciting craft makers in the UK, and coincides with the 70th anniversary of Woman’s Hour.

The 12 finalists were selected from almost 1,500 applications, and their works will feature in a Woman’s Hour Craft Prize exhibition at the V&A from Thursday 7 September to Monday 5 February 2018, followed by a UK-wide tour.

The winner will be selected by Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council; Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A; and BBC journalist and broadcaster Martha Kearney, and announced in a live ceremony from the V&A on Wednesday 8 November.

Karen Dalziel, Editor of BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, said: “I’m delighted to be working with our partners the Crafts Council and the V&A on our new prize. The calibre of entries was really impressive so it was a challenging yet immensely enjoyable task to choose the 12 finalists.

“It’s an incredible achievement for them to be selected to exhibit at the V&A. Woman’s Hour listeners have shown a huge interest in the award and the range of crafts we’ve highlighted. I’m sure they will be excited to learn more about the exceptional and innovative pieces made by the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize finalists.”

Here is more of Prof Brownsword’s recent and forthcoming activity:

Factory.  Korea Ceramics Foundation.

22 April - 28 May.

An invited solo exhibition as Prof Brownsword was the Grand Prize Winner of the 2015 Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale.

Funded by British Council, Korea Ceramics Foundation, Arts Council England.

Prof Brownsword will be part of the UK/Korea 2017/18 Exchange: Place and Practices

His first involvement is at the British Ceramics Biennial, Spode Works, Stoke-on-Trent 

Residency: 18 July - 25 September

Exhibition: 23 September - 5 November

International artist collaboration between Prof Brownsword and Juree Kim of South Korea, funded by Arts Council England, British Ceramics Biennial, Korea Ceramic Foundation, Korea Cultural Centre, and the British Council.

Throughout history, ceramics has played an important role in the phenomenon of cultural transfer that has led to the forging of new ceramic traditions. Korean artist Juree Kim will work alongside Brownsword in the former Spode Factory’s China Hall over the summer and together they will present the outcomes of their exploration as a major installation within the festival.

It is part of the British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) which returns to Stoke-on-Trent, the home of British ceramics, for its fifth edition. Running from 23 September to 5 November, the six-week international ceramics festival will animate the city with exhibitions, installations, new commissions and hands-on activities that will showcase the creative potential of clay, reflecting and stimulating the resurgence of contemporary ceramics.

This is followed by a role as Artist in Residence at Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)

2 October - 31 March 2018.

Funded by Korea Cultural Centre, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Council.

Invited research residency in the ceramic galleries with Korean artist Juree Kim, as well as research into the V&A ceramic archive with a particular focus upon intangible heritage and alchemy.

Topographies of the Obsolete: Ashmolean Papers

Publication launch - 9-14 October. University of Bergen, Norway

Launch coincides with the opening of the new art and design department at University of Bergen.

This is the fourth publication in the Topographies of the Obsolete series initiated and led by Brownsword, which has six essay proceedings from the Ashmolean conference, Topographies of the Obsolete, in 2015, which explores inter-disciplinary perspectives surrounding North Staffordshire’s post-industrial landscape.

Relic (solo exhibition) 

28 October - 11 November. Blas & Knada gallery, Stockholm.

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