|Welcome to Issue 14 of Interpreting Ceramics, in which we are pleased to publish papers presented at the Ceramics and Sculpture: Different Disciplines and Shared Concerns conference held at Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales, Cardiff, on 5th July 2012. The conference was convened jointly by Cardiff School of Art and Design and the Museum. For some time relationships between ceramics and sculpture have been a focus for research at Cardiff School of Art and Design. This research has demonstrated that the interests of ceramicists and sculptors in Britain have either overlapped or have come into particularly sharp focus at certain periods. The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, has in the last few years awarded research fellowships to explore such relationships and Jon Wood from the Institute was the keynote speaker at the conference. Both ceramics and sculpture now have to make a case for their survival as discrete disciplines within higher education and increasingly categories are blurred. Against this background the conference sought to illuminate shared concerns by examining points of formal, conceptual, theoretical and material convergences between the two disciplines, while also addressing key points of difference. The first six papers published in this issue were those that were selected for presentation on the day after being chosen from a particularly strong response to a Call for Papers. The seventh paper, by Wilma Cruise, was accepted for publication although the author was unable to attend the conference.
Interpreting Ceramics is an initiative of a group of academic staff in the UK who have joined together under the title of Interpreting Ceramics: Research Collaboration (ICRC). Our collaboration has come about through shared research interests in recording, interrogating, interpreting and communicating the practice and history of ceramics.
The members of ICRC are committed to exploring ways in which collaborative effort, on both a national and international level, can lead to broader and more interdisciplinary research into all those categories of human activity which are indicated by the term 'ceramics'. ICRC has an interest in any practice or mode of inquiry which brings a social and cultural awareness to bear on the manufacture and consumption of objects made from ceramic materials. The fields covered would therefore include studio, industrial, architectural, traditional, sculptural and figurative ceramics as well as the relevant branches of anthropology, archaeology, material culture studies, museum studies, archiving etc.
The journal Interpreting Ceramics is the first outcome of the collaborative work of ICRC. It is the first refereed, electronic journal for ceramics and in publishing on the Internet the journal allows contributors to exploit the possibilities of new digital media as well as offering more traditional text based approaches. The journal is freely accessible, without charge. We aim to establish and maintain the highest scholarly standards for the content of the articles published. Four institutions have joint proprietorship of the journal and they are the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, the University of the West of England, Bristol and Bath Spa University College.
Editorial responsibility for Interpreting Ceramics lies with the ICRC committee, which currently consists of the members of the editorial team who are listed above. The editorial advisory board consists of thirty individuals, drawn from different disciplines, who together provide a wide range of expertise on ceramics in all its guises. A list of members of the board is provided on the web site.