TOPOGRAPHIES OF THE OBSOLETE’S SYMPOSIUM AT THE ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM OF ART AND ARCHAEOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

Topographies of the Obsolete is proud to invite you to a full day symposium at the Ashmolean Museum on Saturday 7th of November 2015!

In ‘The Natural History of Staffordshire’, Dr Robert Plot, the first keeper of the Ashmolean Museum describes an early account of the county’s pre-industrial pottery manufacturing during the late 17th century. Apart from documenting potters’ practices and processes, Plot details the region’s natural clays that were once fundamental to its rise as a world renowned industrial centre for ceramics. Yet in recent decades, the factories and communities of labour that historically developed around these natural resources have been subject to dramatic downturn. Global economics have resulted in much of the region’s ceramic industry outsourcing to low-cost overseas production.

Today, despite ongoing attempts to regenerate the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the economic fallout and human cost of the decline of traditional industry remain omnipresent throughout the six towns. Plot’s pre-industrial mapping of North Staffordshire in the 1680’s, has been echoed through the artistic research project Topographies of the Obsolete*, which has recently surveyed the region’s post-industrial landscape through a range of multi-media responses primarily centred around the former Spode factory site. Through various phases of on-site practice-led investigation, interconnected strands of discourse emerged that examine the socio-economic impact of globalization upon community and place, the contemporary ruin, and the artist as post-industrial archivist/archaeologist.

Topographies of the Obsolete frames a particular point in time through which artists have opened up a different perspective to the complexities of socio–economic decline addressed by politicians, economists, historians and ex-employees. It documents both the aftermath of the Spode factory closure and the repurposing of its post-industrial fabric through processes of culture-led regeneration.

This one-day symposium will reflect upon this recent history. The topics uncovered through Topographies of the Obsolete will be expanded upon by a panel of experts previously unconnected to the project, from the fields of art and design, anthropology, urban sociology, critical theory and cultural geography. It will offer a broad range of inter-disciplinary perspectives surrounding the effects of de-industrialisation upon communities and landscapes, and the urban renewal of such cities through art and culture-led strategies.

*Topographies of the Obsolete is an international artistic research project initiated by Bergen Academy of Art and Design that explores the post-industrial landscape and its associated socio-economic histories, industrial architecture, production remnants through a range of interdisciplinary artistic practice. The project primarily explores how ceramic and clay can be understood as both material and subject in contemporary art practice.

Website:

The symposia ‘Topographies of the Obsolete’ is organized by Bucks New University and Bergen Academy of Art and Design in collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, and in association with the British Ceramics Biennial and The Clay Foundation.

Booking:

Ticket £45concs/£25students. Tea/coffee provided. Lunch not included. Details of local eateries available on the day.

Online: www.oxfordplayhouse.com/ticketsoxford

By phone: (0044) 01865 305305

In person: Oxford Playhouse Box Office

Programme

Please note that registration will take place at 10.00am, so please arrive early. The conference will start promptly at 10.30am

10.00 – 10.30am            Registration & refreshments

 

10.30 – 10.40am            Welcome

                                    Dr. Jon Whitely
                                    Department of Western Art, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology,
                                    University of Oxford

 

10.40 – 11.10am            Topographies of the Obsolete Introduction:

                                    The Post- Industrial Landscape as a Site for Creative Practice
                                    Dr Neil Brownsword and Professor Anne Helen Mydland
                                    Bucks New University/Bergen Academy of Art and Design

                                    http://bucks.ac.uk/whoswho/profile/neil_brownsword

                                    http://www.khib.no/norsk/om-khib/ansatte/faglig-ansatte-ved-avdeling-for-kunst/anne-helen-mydland/

 

11.10 – 11.50am           Key Note: Post-Industrial Ceramics Heritage: Jingdezhen, Stoke-on-Trent, and Beyond

                                   Professor Maris Boyd Gillette
                                   Professor of Museum Studies and Community History, Director of the Museum Studies
                                   University of Missouri, St. Louis

                                   http://www.umsl.edu/divisions/artscience/anthro/list/gillette.html

 

11.50 - 12.30                Industrial Ruination and Shared Experiences: Narratives of Exceptionalism

                                   Dr. Alice Mah
                                   Associate Professor of Sociology
                                   University of Warwick

                                   http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/staff/academicstaff/alice_mah/

 

12.30-1.30pm                Lunch

 

1.30 - 2.10pm               Ruins are Everywhere

                                   Dr. Tim Edensor
                                   Reader in Cultural Geography
                                   Manchester Metropolitan University

                                   http://www.sste.mmu.ac.uk/staff/staffbiog/default.asp?StaffID=356

 

2.10 – 2.50pm               Archiving Post-Industrial Heritage

                                    Professor Jake Kaner
                                    Furniture
                                    Bucks New University

                                    http://bucks.ac.uk/whoswho/profile/jake_kane

 

2.50 – 3.20pm               Coffee/tea

 

3.20 – 4.00pm               Topographies of Culture and Regeneration

                                    Professor Malcolm Miles
                                    Cultural Theory in the Architecture School
                                    University of Plymouth

                                    http://www.malcolmmiles.org.uk

 

4.00 – 4.25pm               Plenary

                                    Led by Professor Juliet Simpson
                                    Professor of Art History, Chair of Visual Arts Research 
                                    Coventry University

                                   http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-directories/researchers/professor-juliet-simpson/

 

4.30pm

Symposia close 

  • Topographies Of The Obsolete Symposium Ashmolean Museum Alice Mah Dsc6183
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  • Topographies Of The Obsolete Symposium Ashmolean Museum Jake Kaner Dsc6244
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  • Topographies Of The Obsolete Symposium Ashmolean Museum Jon Whiteley Dsc6198
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  • Topographies Of The Obsolete Symposium Ashmolean Museum Maris Boyd Gillette Dsc6147
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  • Topographies Of The Obsolete Symposium Ashmolean Museum Neil Brownsword Anne Helen Mydland Dsc6138
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  • Topographies Of The Obsolete Symposium Ashmolean Museum Tim Edensor Dsc6203
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