Ceramics and It's Dimensions - Ceramics between Change and Challenge. Belgrade Conference My 20th-21st, 2015

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend and present at the Ceramics and it's Dimensions Conference "Ceramics between Change and Challenge" at the Gallery of Frescos, Cara Urosa St, Belgrade.

Organisation: Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade.

Partners National Museum of Serbia, Belgrade

Staatliches Museum für Porzellan, Selb.

The symposium had a focus on the many facets of ceramics and it's use as a material in all 'social spheres observed in a variety of contexts, from Baroque to the present day'. 

The conference combined lectures from experts from across Europe who are specialised in the various fields of ceramics with open public discussions on: how ceramics is represented in contemporary European lifestyles, the heritage and rich history each country has with ceramics and new developments and contemporary research concerning technical material innovation and it's relevance in the future socio-cultures within Europe.

For me this conference was an eye opener, a conference that interested and grabbed my attention from start to finish. Having so many experts within the many fields of ceramics under one roof and with one intention - To further the future of Ceramics and it's integration and relationship within a contemporary society throughout Europe.

In the beginning we had the opening speeches from the organisers Lj. Meletić Ambramović, Wilhelm Siemen (Porzellanikon, Selb) and Biljaa Djordjević ( National Museum for Applied Arts Belgrade). 

In a few examples that have made a huge impact on me from the conference are:

Holger Raithel managing Partner of Kahla/Thüringen Porzellan GmbH. Raithel presented the Kahla designs and where design innovation meets tradition within this eco friendly, family run and one of the first manufacturers of porcelain in central Europe. 

From this lecture I got a glimpse into how a company might change to suit and see the needs of a consumer through innovative and smart design, not only thinking about create aesthetically pleasing and affordable wares but thinking about the experience of using the ware, the experience of eating and how using the wares designed by Kahla can enhance the experience you receive. 

For me, the perception of the users/the public is very important, not only within my work but in how they understand the material I use and that is used in many different ways, from high quality innovative designed wares from Kahla or to Technical Ceramics being used for the micro chips in our iPhones or in electrical cables used in Light bulbs or throughout out homes.


Additive Manufacturing of Porcelain - Prof Dr Jürgen G. Heinrich from the CIC Ceramic Institute of Clausthal GmbH. Heinrich came from a technical and engineering point of view when discussion the potential of the ceramic material and ceramic composite materials. He discussed the future in 3D printing (ceramic sintering processes mostly) in mass production and for use within the creation of technical ceramic components and why ceramics is such a viable material (for example: it can cope with HIGH HEAT, High pressure, is STRONG, is a good insulator etc etc etc). A lot of this innovation is explained in the Porzellanikon Industrial Ceramics Museum in Selb (Which I visited the following week! more on this later!)


The Architectural Ceramics in Europe - Dr Jaime Coll Conesa from the National Museum of Ceramics "Gonzáles Marti", Valencia explored the variey of ways in which ceramics is and has been used in architecture across Europe, his intention is to create a database combining Key Examples of Ceramics in Architecure. One example of his was displayed in Belgrade and is called the '"Green tiled house", built in 1907 designed by Andra Stevanović i Nikola Nestorović.


Prop Ceramic and its relevance in Film, Advertising Films and Photographs presented by Wilhelm Siemen from the Porzellanikon, Selb. This was a very interesting topic, how ceramics is integrated into movie sets as props, what does the ceramic ware used in a scene say about it’s users? Are all the ware mismatched? Do they look aged, or old? Heavily used? Are the wares used in the same time in which they were manufactured? How many wares are they using for the meal? Do they have a complete set?… My questions could go on.. But what the ceramic wares can explain about scene (time, location, socio-economic group, family history, the families place of origin etc) and how the ceramic wares complete the scene is very important. By seeing ceramics used in such an appropriate way it can illustrate its’ importance in our lives past and present even the ‘type’ ceramics used can tell so much about the users.


The Role of Staffordshire Archive in Documenting Ceramics History presented by Prof Dr Ray Jonson. This was a wonderful lecture outlining the rich history of ceramics in Stoke-on-trent and the important role that ‘Spode works’ played in the economy and pride of Stoke-on-Trent. Jonson explained how every family will have had a family member who will have worked in the ceramic factory and another in the coal mines. He explained how this huge industry of manufacture made Stoke-on-Trent an important place not only for industry but for ceramic manufacture innovation, the development of innovative and efficient printing methods for the “Spode’ wares. 

Cath Ralp from Staffordshire University and I presented on the Future Lights programme in Ceramics and it’s Dimensions (I will create a post about this later in this blog).

Overall and without a double this was a mesmerising conference to attend and have been a part of. If YOU can get the chance to attend of any of the Ceramics and it’s dimensions symposiums or conferences please do, if you are interested in industry, business, manufacture, material innovation, ceramic art, ceramic production, design, ceramic history, design history, architecture and so on, it will be worth your time.