Neil Brownsword (1970, UK) is an artist, senior lecturer and researcher at Bucks New University, as well as professor in Clay and Ceramics at Bergen Academy of Art and Design. His PhD (2006) combined historical and archaeological research on ceramic production in North Staffordshire from the eighteenth century to the present, and the creation of a body of artwork in response to this. He is co-leader of the artistic research project Topographies of the Obsolete along with Anne Helen Mydland.
His PhD (2006) combined historical and archaeological research on ceramic production in North Staffordshire from the eighteenth century to the present. In 2009 Brownsword received the 'One Off' award at the inaugural British Ceramic Biennial.
Brownsword's work resides in numerous prestigious collections including, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Middlesbrough Museum of Modern Art, and Fu Le International Ceramic Art Museum, China. In 2009 Brownsword received the 'One Off' award at the inaugural British Ceramic Biennial, and in 2011 was appointed Professor at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway.
My artistic practice has been a sustained meditation of the decline of ceramic manufacture in Stoke-on-Trent. This is not some detached exploitation of regional misfortune, but a social critique which stems from a deeply personal perspective. History of family employment alongside my own formative apprenticeship at the Wedgwood factory has provided unique insights into the complex knowledge systems that exist within the industry. In 2003 research for a PhD drew me back to Wedgwood as social ethnographer, recording skills that were being displaced through technological advances and global outsourcing. The advantage of being a former 'insider', led to the documentation of an extraordinarily valuable body of information which sheds light on Britain's contemporary post-industrial experience as well as its industrial past. The archival aspect of film has since become an integral practice that compliments my meditative trawl through Stoke's past and present industrial archaeology.