Ceramics and Lockdown – Performance

This online series of talks ‘Ceramics and Lockdown – Performance’ was held on the evening of Friday July 2nd 2021 and explored how ceramics performance adapted during the COVID 19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. Developed by Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) Subject Specialist Network at York Art Gallery in partnership with the International Ceramics Festival and supported by Arts Council England, it was part of a symposia series that commenced in 2019 to explore and discuss key issues facing the ceramics community.

Hosted by Dr Helen Walsh, the programme featured presentations by Andrew Livingstone, Claire McLaughlin, Angela Tait and Moira Vincentelli. This Eventbrite hosted evening welcomed 255 seperate viewers from an International community of ceramics enthusiasts from as far afield as India, the USA, Turkey and Denmark. The event was recorded and will be available in due course online though the CoCA website.

You can find the event programme below:

Performing Jeju Scoria: imagined realities and extended vocabularies – Andrew Livingstone

As a result of the Covid19 pandemic, alternative solutions for research and practice are being considered and implemented. This is the case with this international research project that was to take place in The Republic of Korea on the Island of Jeju in August 2020. In respect of travel limitations the project was executed within the UK in November 2020. 

This presentation will demonstrate practice-based research undertaken as part of the project, The Clay Reader: Scoria, Scoria Jeju Scoria. It explores the notion and actualities of remote investigation through imagined interpretation and responses to a material and its land of origin. 

Andrew Livingstone is Professor of Ceramics at the University of Sunderland where he leads CARCuos the Ceramic Arts Research Centre. Andrew has authored and contributed to numerous books including The Ceramics Reader, published by Bloomsbury Academic Press. His exhibitions include The Smithsonian Institute and the Garth Clark Gallery, New York. 


Song in a Teacup – Claire McLauglin

With the lockdowns we found ourselves back in our homes. Singing sessions were forced to move from regular meetings in the pub back to the kitchen, from whence they traditionally came. In the tessellated Zoom screen of the singing circle I am a part of, I have been observing with interest the singers in their domestic setting often surrounded by their china, regularly sipping from their favourite cup. This has been a rich source of inspiration.

Claire McLaughlin studied at the University of Ulster in Belfast and at the Royal College of Art in London where she received her MA in Ceramics & Glass in 1997. From 2000-2019, she lectured in Ceramics, Art and Design at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. Recently, she has been researching Song and Ceramics towards a PhD at the University of Sunderland.


 COVID Clay Diary – Angela Tait

The clay diary was started in March 2020 on the cusp of the nationwide lockdown in the UK. Every day for 90 days Angela made a cup which responded to her personal experience and some of the wider social, cultural or political events as they unfolded. What transpired was a document of a remarkable time through the medium of ceramics. 

Whilst this is an autobiographical account, many of the themes are experienced universally or trigger a familiar response in a viewer; the changing of routine, communicating differently and a new way of experiencing time. 

Angela Tait is a sculptor who works primarily in the medium of clay. Her research concerns rhythm, time and daily domestic experience which she explores through the universally understandable form of the vessel. She works at the University of Salford as Academic Fellow on the BA (Hons) Fine Art.


Performing Ceramics at the International Ceramics Festival, Aberystwyth – Moira Vincentelli Demonstrations of ceramics, especially wheel throwing, have been part of history for at least a century. They are always, in some aspects – a performance. The presentation will consider some of the memorable performance events and demonstrations that have taken place at the festival: including spectacular kiln firings, from the traditional to the experimental, baths of clay, potters who burst into song, or offer an Indonesian dance wearing a ceramic mask.

Moira Vincentelli is Emeritus Professor and Consulting Curator of Ceramics at Aberystwyth University. She is one of the directors of the International Ceramics Festival, an organisation with which she has worked since its beginnings. She is also a member of the CoCA steering committee.





Date: February 18, 2022