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Hand Skills: Why do they matter and why do we need to pass them on?

January 17, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

£11.00 – £12.50

In this 2023 kick off lecture for London Potters, Duncan Hooson and Julia Rowntree of Clayground Collective will challenge the conventional view of clay simply as a medium for making pots. They will share insights from their creative projects and learning initiatives to re-engage people with clay wherever it occurs, in response to an acute decline in ceramic courses in schools and colleges. Large-scale public artworks have put tonnes of clay at the centre of cities inviting thousands of people to make alongside one another, celebrating the creative potential of this abundant and universal material.

Their research has led them to connect with cultures around the world, to Mars, Britain’s canal system and the Thames foreshore.  Work with poets, artists and archaeologists has opened up fresh opportunities to engage people of all ages in clay and making.  Discussions with scientists, medics and literacy development experts has revealed the significance of craft skills in the brain’s development and wider learning.  Clayground will challenge you to look at your own skills in a new light and reflect on the responsibility to pass these on.


Date Tuesday 17th January 2023
Time 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Location Virtual via Zoom
Ticket Price £11 London Potters members

£12.50 non London Potters members

Recording This talk will be recorded only for ticket holders
Minimum Attendees 30
Cancellation There is no refund for cancellation by attendees

London Potters reserves the right to cancel if we do not receive the minimum numbers required

Clayground Collective was established in 2007 by Duncan Hooson and Julia Rowntree, subsequently joined by producer and craft expert, Claire West.  The company combines participatory public art, education and research and has worked with over 100,000 people in the UK and internationally. Commissioned by the Crafts Council to lead Firing Up, they taught teachers over 3 years in 13 cities across the country.  A National Craft Skills Award in 2013 recognised their ‘commitment towards excellence in craft skills, success, ambition, and exemplary and imaginative approaches in passing on craft skills.’  Their book Clay in Common was published in 2018 (Triarchy Press ).  Clayground’s approaches have inspired a new generation through formal integration into ceramic design courses at Central Saint Martins and informally through artists’ practice further afield. Winner of the Whitegold Prize in 2020, the company led participatory projects with communities in St Austell throughout lockdown and is now developing ceramic skills with medical and other staff at University College Hospital.

Duncan Hooson is Reader in Knowledge Exchange; Stage 1 Leader, BA Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins. He produces work for public and private commission employing a wide range of ceramic techniques at varying scales; from high-relief murals to domestic and sculptural forms for internal or external locations.  His educational and public engagement experience spans schools, hospitals and communities.

Julia Rowntree, amateur potter, is a producer, writer and researcher.  She specialises in exploring today’s questions via the arts by forging partnerships across art forms, civic, commercial and community spheres.  For 20 years prior to Clayground she was Development Director at the London International Festival of Theatre. She has received awards for international research and writing from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and  NESTA (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts). She now focuses on Clayground’s archaeological strand.

Claire West is a craft expert, product and exhibition designer. For 11 years, she was Head of the Programmes at the Crafts Council and is now part of design duo bobandalf.


Feature Image: Left to Right –  Julia Rowntree, Duncan Hooson, Claire West.  Photo: Steph Buttle


January 17, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
£11.00 – £12.50
Event Category:


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