Welcome to Issue 17 of Interpreting Ceramics, subtitled African Voices. The five articles published here are the result of a group of scholars who originally came together, under the direction of Dr Elizabeth Perrill and Wendy Gers, to consider African Ceramics on Display: Beyond Didactics and Demonstrations at the 16th Triennial Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) Symposium in 2014. Each article has been adapted from papers presented at the symposium and collectively represents a broad perspective of current challenges for displaying African ceramics and how they might be addressed. Perrill and Gers’ introductory discussion considers the nature of over-generalizations in the display and consumption of African ceramics, setting the scene for the subsequent articles from Moira Vincentelli, Esther Esymol, Oziamo Onuzulike and Kim Bagley. Elizabeth Perrill must be acknowledged as co-editor of Issue 17 having been pro-active in bringing these articles together and assisting in the peer reviewing. Issue 17 also includes two book reviews; Jeffrey Jones examines Carol E. Mayer’s A Discerning Eye: The Walter C. Koerner Collection of European Ceramics, a fascinating account of not just the collection and collector himself but also the context of histories and influences on European ceramics from 16th to 19th centuries. Stephen Knott critically engages with Jo Dahn’s New Directions in Ceramics: From Spectacle to Trace, in which, through her personal selection of contemporary ceramists, she discusses not just ‘new directions’ in their practice but also the discourses that surround them. Anthony Merino’s review of Idea and Execution, a comparative exhibition of modernist Danish ceramists Peter Brandes and Thorvald Bindesboll-born 100 years apart, is a lively discussion of their individual practice beautifully illustrated with images provided by the Keramikmuseum, Denmark. The reviews section concludes with a candid account from ceramist Jo Taylor, a first time demonstrator at the 2015 International Ceramics Festival, Aberystwyth and offers a great insight into the supportive nature of the international ceramics community at such an event.
Finally it is with feelings of sadness and of gratitude that we publish a tribute to Morgen Hall from Moira Vincentelli. Morgen died on 17 February 2016 at the age of fifty-five. All of us in the ceramics world in Britain and beyond are sorry to lose such a talented and well-loved potter. The editorial team at Interpreting Ceramics have a particular reason to be grateful to Morgen. In the weeks leading up to the publication of the first edition of the journal in September 2000 a sudden crisis ensued when our first web designer left suddenly. The editor, Jeffrey Jones, was a colleague of Morgen at the time and, in some desperation, asked her if she any knew of any good web designers. Morgen recommended her sister Glory, who stepped into the breach and within a very short period of time had designed our first issue. Glory has been with us ever since and is responsible for the wonderful 'look' of Interpreting Ceramics. Her design for the journal has been much admired and has made a major contribution to its success. So thank you Morgen, and thank you Glory
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 Cardiff Metropolitan University, Aberystwyth University, UWE Bristol and Bath Spa University.
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.