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Peter Dormer Lecture 2021: Deirdre Figueiredo MBE

Key details


  • 6:30pm – 8:30pm


  • Free


  • Lecture

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.

Following this difficult and extraordinary year, we are delighted to announce the first digital iteration of the Annual Peter Dormer Memorial Lecture will be taking place slightly later than usual, and on the Zoom video communications platform. We are excited to announce that this year's guest speaker will be the director of Craftspace, Deirdre Figueiredo MBE.

Watch the lecture by clicking on the image above, or download the transcript (PDF).

“A people’s art is the genesis of their freedom”

Civil rights activist Claudia Jones used this as the slogan for the first Notting Hill Carnival, which she organised in 1959, as an act of radical solidarity against racist violence. It harnessed the politics of community lived experience and focused it into a joyful celebration and expression of what it meant to be Black in 1950’s Britain.

The lecture will reflect on this slogan 60 years later in the midst of a global pandemic and racial injustice highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Taking this idea as a principle and truth that underpins the work of Craftspace, it will demonstrate that creativity through making, no matter how loud or quiet, how individual or collective, is a vital act of resistance and claiming identity.


Deirdre Figueiredo, MBE is Director of Craftspace, a leading craft development organisation and creative producer creating opportunities to see, make and be curious about exceptional contemporary craft. Craftspace positions makers to take an active role in civic society. It connects creative practice with diverse communities of interest and place through a range of activities and partnerships. These include touring exhibitions, cross art form productions and participatory projects. Building cultural, social and human capital is a key driver of its work.

Deirdre has worked as a curator and manager in the field of contemporary visual arts, craft and museums for 30 years. In a wider role she has contributed to diversity and cultural policy development, a range of advisory panels, boards and steering groups and has selected for numerous awards and open exhibitions including the Jerwood Makers Open 2017 and the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize 2017. She is the Co-founder and Secretariat of CraftNet, a national craft leadership network and also a Trustee of Punch, Create in Ireland, The Crafts Study Centre and the Clay Foundation.