Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.


Regionalism and Authenticity in a Globalised World

10 February 2020 | 2pm – 3.30pm

Kensington, Senior Common Room


The Case of English Ceramics

A V&A/RCA History of Design Research Seminar 

The V&A/RCA History of Design Research Seminar Series provides a forum for engaging with new thinking in the history of design and material culture, including cutting-edge research in related fields such as anthropology, economic history, the history of art and architecture, medical humanities and the history of science and technology. Seminars take place on throughout the academic year and are open to all with an interest in the field. All seminars are free and you are advised to arrive early, as space is strictly limited. External attendees are asked to contact [email protected] to reserve a seat.

Abstract: In the last chapter of Frances Hannah’s Ceramics: Twentieth Century Design of 1986, the possible future of English ceramics was briefly discussed. It was predicted how there would be a continued growth of multi-nationalism, the utilisation of world-wide cheap labour, and a declining tendency to manufacture surface-designs to suit national tastes and different markets. These observations have much in common with what is related to the characteristics of globalisation. In a context of a surge world-wide competition and factory closures, the focus of this seminar is how the English ceramic industry (centred around the Staffordshire Potteries) has responded to globalisation. The surprise, perhaps, is how there has not been a complete collapse, or disappearance of the ceramic industry. As evidenced by marketing strategy and design, a renewed interest in regionalism and issues of authenticity have also become some of the qualities of contemporary ceramics. In short, the actual consequences of globalisation remain complex and diverse.

Neil Ewins is a Senior Lecturer in Design and Contextual Studies at the University of Sunderland.