I was surprised when Andrea suggested doing something with the ceramics collection. From my point of view it’s a dream opportunity – and it ticks a lot of Sainsbury’s boxes – but I would definitely not have suggested it myself because it would have seemed too predictable coming from me…
However, I think we can both play to our strengths;
I have a reasonable working knowledge of ceramic practice and a (sketchy) knowledge of ceramic history. Crucially, though, I have a good idea who to ask and where to look for answers to things I don’t know.
Andrea has lots of experience in arts education, specifically with regards to children and an exhibition about ceramics will offer lots of opportunities for hands-on experience/ workshops/ etc
Even more importantly, it will fit with the Sainsbury Centre’s programme quite neatly:
1. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury have amassed a significant collection of ancient and contemporary ceramics, for which the art centre is known.
2. By using pieces from the collection and archive we can highlight and ‘refresh’ the collection (in a small way!)
3. We can extend our research and presentation to include the UEA’s Science department (eg analysis of ancient pigments, new industrial uses for ceramics)
4. Our proposal can have breadth and depth, appealing to a wide range of audiences, backed up by solid research.
Having spoken to a lot of potters/ceramicists over the years I know how vitally important museum collections are for firing that first spark of interest, especially when there are opportunities for handling pieces and having an enthusiastic and knowledgeable person to explain the processes.. If it were possible, through this exhibition, to turn on just a few people to the wonderful opportunities for self expression which clay offers, or get even one child interested in coming back to the Sainsbury Centre for another exhibition – I think we will have done a good job.