RCA talks

Peter Dormer Lecture 2017: Alun Graves

27 November 2017 | 6pm

Battersea, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

Free. By invitation only.

You Gotta Make it Happen! Curating Clay’s Expanded Field

Alun Graves is a Senior Curator at the V&A, with responsibility for the collections of twentieth- and twenty-first-century ceramics. He was a key member of the project team in the redevelopment of the V&A’s Ceramics Galleries, which opened in 2009/10, and an instigator and supporter of the museum’s ceramics residency programme. He is particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches, ephemeral practice, and the relationship between ceramics and sculpture, and has been a vigorous champion of artists working in the expanded field of ceramics. He has curated many V&A displays and events including Clay Rocks! (2006), Barnaby Barford: The Tower of Babel (2015) and Alison Britton: Content and Form (2016). With Sarah Griffin, he was co-curator of Material Language: New Work in Clay (2016) at the New Art Centre, Salisbury.

Reflecting on a series of works and projects with artists including Clare Twomey, Keith Harrison, Phoebe Cummings, Barnaby Barford and Neil Brownsword, his lecture will consider the complexities and opportunities associated with curating clay’s expanded field. In particular, he will explore how work that is activated or ‘live’ poses challenges to conventional curatorial practice while offering enhanced forms of access, engagement and participation. He will also reflect upon the role of museums in the development of ceramic practice.

The Peter Dormer Lecture is the UK’s major annual applied arts lecture, held in memory of Peter Dormer, the writer and critic who died in 1996. Organised by a committee of his friends and colleagues and hosted by the Royal College of Art, the lecture aims to continue the debate about applied art and society that was central to Dormer’s concerns.

Peter Dormer’s writings embraced art, architecture, design, technology and education; and his critical and curatorial work helped to promote the crafts into the freeflowing currents of postmodern visual culture. This connectivity is something these lectures celebrate and promote – previous speakers have embraced architecture, ceramics and modernism, the implications of digital technology, craft history and criticism, and design innovation. 

For more information, visit the Peter Dormer Lecture.