UWE researchers launch 'Ceramics Points of View' for V & A

Issue date: 26 May 2005

Issue date: 26/05/05

Ceramics researchers from the Bristol School of Art, Media and Design at the University of the West of England have produced an important addition to the Victoria and Albert Museum website entitled ‘Ceramics Points of View’. The web site includes video footage from video interviews conducted with ceramics experts discussing key works from the V & A Museums 20th century ceramics collection.

Matthew Partington managed the project - conducting the interviews and designing the website as the result of collaboration between the National Electronic and Video Archive of the Crafts (NEVAC) that is based at Bristol UWE and the V & A Museum’s Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass.

Matthew said, “A significant group of museum objects can now be accessed via a website with a range of responses from six members of the ceramics community, all of whom have something different to say about the objects. As a result they are contextualised via comments on the maker, the history of the object and the personal comments of the interviewees. The site offers video clips and full transcripts of what each person said about each object. Essentially the ceramics are brought alive by the personal views and comments of a well informed group of interviewees. It is a unique educational and research resource which is freely accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.”

Six people were interviewed: Tanya Harrod, a respected writer on the crafts; Emmanuel Cooper, a maker, writer and editor of Ceramic Review; Alison Britton, ceramicist, writer and educator and maker of one of the pots selected for review; Clare Curneen and Neil Brownswood, both exciting young makers whose work has been recently acquired for the V&A’s collection.

The pots chosen for discussion are Alison Britton’s ‘Big White Jug’ 1987; Michael Cardew’s ‘Cider Jar ‘ 1938; Hans Coper’s ‘Pot’ 1975; Elizabeth Fritsch’s ‘Optical Pot’ 1980; Bernard Leach’s ‘Cup and Saucer’, about 1924; Gillian Lowndes ‘Cup on Base, 1986; William Newland’s ‘Bull’ 1954; Lucie Rie’s ‘Teapot and Jug, about 1936; Richard Slee’s ‘Cornucopia’, 1983 and William Staite-Murray’s ‘Madonna’ about 1930.

Professor Paul Gough, Dean of the Bristol School of Art, Media and Design, said, “This work marks a significant achievement by the NEVAC team and an innovative addition to the V & A Museum website. The key to the success of the website is the way that the ceramics are brought to life through the commentary of the experts. It is both educational and informative and well worth a look!”

The website can be viewed at:

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