We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Whitegold International Ceramics Prize 2020, we would like to extend our thanks to all those who entered.
For this year’s theme of ‘Convivial clay’ we are looking for art, craft or design combining clay and food. We welcome work relating to cooking, eating, drinking, for creating a festive and sociable environment, ceramics for growing and even works that considered clay as a part of the soil and our life cycle. We are interested in environmentally friendly farming practices, in foraging, in locally and collectively grown produce as well as culinary delights that considered food miles as well as fairtrade and co-operative production.
This prize is open to artists and artist collectives from across the world and this year we received submissions from as far afield as South America. There were over 40 high quality submissions for this specialist area of practice through which the material and human connections between clay and food are explored and the following four were selected by the Whitegold jurors for the shortlist:
Clayground Collective is a charity limited by guarantee run by 3 creative practitioners Duncan Hooson, Claire West and Julia Rowntree, who collaborate across artforms to engage the public, educators and researchers through clay. They work collectively across disciplines with diverse practices, introducing experts to new locations and clay-based activities, creating unexpected responses and unfamiliar knowledge exchange. They seek institutional and educational partnerships to make things happen in both formal and informal learning settings. Their work is made possible through specialist freelancers, advisers, volunteers, and teams of students.
Clayground Collective connect with people nationally and internationally; produce large-scale nationwide projects, venue-based installations, symposia and talks, archaeological walks, ceramic research laboratories, commissions and bursaries. We often work with tonnes of clay in the public realm on large-scale participatory installations which enable people to get their hands dirty and create a sense of local community. We enquire together why we need clay and hand skills now.
Established in 2007, Clayground were awarded the national Craft Skills Award for “Commitment towards excellence in craft skills, success, ambition and exemplary and imaginative approaches to passing on clay skills” in 2013. In 2018 we were nominated for the h100 Awards, Art, Design and Craft Category, among the top 10 acknowledged creative influencers in London.
“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this Prize as it merges with our own philosophy of responding to place and space, producing ambitious, creative, ceramic-based activities in the public realm with an element of performance and collective making, contributing to shared cultural memory.”
Francesca Anfossi’s interdisciplinary practice takes the tradition of crafts as a starting point to make and collaborate, using ceramic as a core material. Inspired by the very nature of clay — a versatile, inclusive and non-hierarchal material — her various projects are conceived in direct collaboration with communities and evolve according to their needs. Her work most often takes the form of workshops, cooking classes or communal events, and offers participants opportunities to learn new skills and form new social bonds.
Anfossi is the co-founder and director of Rochester Square, a dynamic space in north London dedicated to socially engaging projects and artistic collaborations, where she recently completed the installation of temporary ceramic facilities for recreational use by artists, children and local residents alike.
By putting other people’s creations and interests forward, Anfossi aims to remove the barriers between art and craft, professional and amateur, work and leisure. Rather than appropriating the objects produced by other people, she wishes to celebrate their achievement and share it with their families, friends and the broader community. Within the context of the Whitegold Prize, Anfossi intends to create a space for experimentation and exchange, based on some of our most basic activities: cooking, playing and sharing.
Over the past five years, Anfossi has worked on commissions, exhibitions and projects with Whitechapel Gallery, London (2019-20), Salone del Mobile, Milan (2019), Centre for Audio Visual Experimentation, Leeds (2018), Frieze Art Fair (2018), the AIR Sefrou Residency, Morocco (2017) and the Camden Arts Centre, London (2015).
“I don’t work alone. My work is about other people’s hands. It is made with them and for them.”
The Portland Inn Project
The Portland Inn Project is a creative arts project that has been working with the community around Portland Street in the ceramic city of Stoke-on-Trent since 2015. It aims to achieve community cohesion, economic, social and cultural change through engaging the community in the development of a pioneering community space, cultural hub and social enterprise based in the disused Portland Inn. The project delivers a programme of events and activities developed in collaboration with and for local residents and these are often centred around sharing food and making with clay. The project advocates for people led change and the programme aims to create a counter narrative for a neighbourhood that. This community initiative is led by artists Anna Francis and Rebecca Davies with creative input from a wide range of other practitioners. It is supported by Creative Civic Change, AirSpace Gallery, Appetite, My Community Matters, Arts Council England and Stoke City Council.
The project questions the power and role of the artist as a neighbour and explores the role of artists in raising the aspirations of a neighbourhood, in challenging and reshaping the way an area is portrayed in the wider context of the city.
Portland Inn’s interest in the Whitegold Prize stems from a desire to bring their experience of working in community in Stoke-on-Trent to working in community in and around St Austell, exploring the importance of CLAY as a material that means so much to both places.
“The Portland Inn Project is thrilled to have made the shortlist for the Whitegold Prize. We can’t wait to make some connections with the project and Communities in Cornwall, and share the learning journey we have made over the past 5 years. This opportunity represents a new direction for our community and project, where we can celebrate the role that ceramics making processes and food sharing has had for us in a new context. Now more than ever we need to find creative ways to be together, even in sometimes challenging contexts.”
Grizedale Arts is a unusual organisation based on a remote small-holding high above Coniston Water in the Lake District of England. It takes a pluralist approach functioning on many levels; as a local resource driving forward projects and strategies centred around the idea that art is a useful tool in everyday life. As an illustration of a way of working and thinking for artists, centred on being useful in a civic context. And as an international arts organisation leading projects across the globe in both art and non art contexts. All of this activity is drawn from existing, available resources, making the best of what we have, from raw materials to cultural heritage.
“Whitegold’s Convivial Clay is a fascinating and innovative programme that will draw on all elements of Grizedale’s activity, from farming and food, to community cohesion and development and all underpinned by making the best use of the people, the history and the raw materials of the area. Recycling and rethinking, drawing from existing culture to create hybrids that better service contemporary issues and needs. We look forward doing something that makes a difference to people’s lives, their ambitions and achievements.”