Articles & Reports



(born 6 May 1942, died 31 October 2000)

I first met Mike Hughes in June 1998 when I came to be interviewed for the post of Research Fellow. What struck me wasn't his passion for ceramics, music and teaching, (which were all immediately apparent), it was the fact that he could speak Irish and Manx Gaelic. I am a Manxman and here I was aged 28 and Mike was the first person I had ever met who could speak this almost extinct language of my forefathers. I had instant respect for this man with whom I was to have such a sadly short working relationship.

As well as being a linguist, (he could also speak Mandarin Chinese), Mike was a classical scholar and musician. During lunchbreaks students would congregate in his room armed with cellos, violins, keyboards and recorders and music would waft around the faculty under Mike's assured direction. The Faculty was a richer place with Mike in it.

I will remember Mike as he was at his wake, the night before his funeral. He lay in his coffin in the front room while dozens of friends and family said goodbye, drank whisky, danced and talked. People played music, sang, read from Virgil and Chaucer and everyone had a good time. Mike would have been in his element.

Mike left a wife, Kate, three daughters and a son.

Matthew Partington
NEVAC Research Fellow
University of the West of England, Bristol

For a more detailed obituary, (from the Independent newspaper), go to

AnnaAnna Hale died, aged 54, in October 2001 after a long battle against cancer. For many people Anna Hale represented the public face of the Ceramic Collection and Archive at Aberystwyth. Her enthusiasm for ceramics was always infectious. Born in Egypt of Greek parents, she came with her family to London as a child but spent most of her adult life in Wales. She originally undertook teacher training but later studied Visual Art in Aberystwyth as a mature student. Having learnt pottery at evening classes she was delighted with the opportunity to work with the ceramic collection and her commitment to the work was absolute. When funding seemed difficult Anna always reminded me of how far we had progressed - from pottery stored in cupboards, to display cases, to the opening of the gallery in the Arts Centre in 1986 and eventually, the Archive. 'Look at it now', she would say with a broad smile. She worked with the collection for nearly twenty years but in the last decade was particularly involved with the oral history project around the Ceramic Archive. She loved talking to potters and used the interviews to explore the roots of creativity and the early experiences that first brought people to take up pottery. Just before she finally had to stop work she recorded a long interview with Michael Casson. Her life story interviews with potters in Wales will be a major resource for the future. Anna also carried out the education work with the Ceramics Collection at Aberystwyth Arts Centre and believed fiercely in the importance of introducing children at an early age to art and, of course, ceramics. Teachers and children alike will remember her with affection and her recorded interviews for the Archive will be a legacy for future students of studio pottery and social history.

Moira Vincentelli
Curator of the Ceramic Collection and Archive
University of Wales, Aberystwyth

Over a three year period in the early 1990's Anna Hale conducted a series of interviews for the National Electronic and Video Archive of the Crafts, (NEVAC). The illustrious roll call of the ceramists she interviewed includes Marianne de Trey, Ray Finch, Anita Hoy, David Leach, Ursula Mommens and William Newland.

Those researchers who use the NEVAC materials and those of us privileged enough to work for NEVAC will be forever indebted to Anna Hale and her sensitive interviewing technique.

Matthew Partington
NEVAC Research Fellow
University of the West of England, Bristol

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Obituaries • Issue 4