Category Archives: Event

Unmaking Waste 2015 – call for abstracts

Unmaking Waste 2015.

Unmaking Waste 2015 is a conference in Adelaide that seeks to engage dialogue and share ideas, perspectives and possibilities for shaping a physically and socially sustainable planet. The main conference will take place over two and a half days and involve speakers from a broad range of academic and industrial disciplines who work across research and practice-led investigations into the physical and symbolic nature of material flows. For students interested in exploring more about social and cultural sustainability in design practice, we are presenting a set of pre-conference workshops plus a master-class on the day preceding the conference.

Abstracts for the conference are due 17 October 2014.

Craft concepts by Ruth Hadlow in Brisbane



If you can get to Brisbane in October, you have the opportunity to spend time with a particularly thoughtful and accomplished craftsperson.

Weekend workshop by Ruth Hadlow on Oct 18/19

at Gallery 159 Workshop space (159 Payne Road, The Gap Brisbane 4061)

EVOCATIVE OBJECTS: poetic relationships with things

All of us collect things, sometimes formally and very often informally. This workshop will explore poetic and creative relationships with the objects we collect or are intrigued by. This workshop will incorporate processes of notation, research, interpretation, installation, and investigation. We will look at examples of personal and institutional collections, conventions at work within museums as well as private collections, and ideas such as memory, subjectivity, and narrative in relation to objects. The workshop will focus on creative relationships between ideas, research material and arts practice, emphasising an open-ended rather than end-product approach to the development of ideas.


5-day Masterclass with Ruth Hadlow from Mon-Fri, Oct 20-24

at Gallery 159 Workshop space (159 Payne Road, The Gap Brisbane 4061)

IDEAS DEVELOPMENT: extending and developing individual projects.

This workshop will focus on participants’ own interests and current work, and consider possibilities and strategies for extending individual practice. It will be tailored to each participant, focused on developing ideas through research, discussion, sampling, writing, investigation and critique. The workshop aims to support participants who are interested in extending their own practice, creating challenges in the form of self-devised research projects, technical and material experimentation, as well as self-directed appraisal and critique of work and methods of practice.



COST and Hours of workshops

The weekend workshop costs $200 per person

The Masterclass costs $450 per person.

Workshop hours: 9:30am-4pm daily, with half an hour for lunch (tea & coffee provided, BYO lunch )



To BOOK for the Ruth Hadlow October workshops please contact:

To secure a place a deposit of $50 will be required. Deposit can be paid by cheque (payable to TAFTA and sent to PO Box 38, The Gap Q4061); by credit card (Visa or Mastercard, provide all 16 numbers and expiry date); or by EFT (The Aust Forum Text Arts; BSB 313-140; Account No. 250363. MECU).

Please advise by email if a deposit has been made into the TAFTA account at MECU and provide your name.

Ceramics in the Expanded Field – An International Conference July 2014

Ceramics in the Expanded Field – An International Conference
Date: 17-19 July 2014
University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5LS

The conference Ceramics in the Expanded Field will examine how ceramic practice has broadened over the last decade, initiating new forms of experimental practice and dialogues within the museum environment. This conference marks the culmination of the AHRC-funded project Ceramics in the Expanded Field: Behind the Scenes at the Museum and is organized by co-investigators Christie Brown, Professor of Ceramics, Research Fellows Dr Julian Stair and Clare Twomey, and Laura Breen, the AHRC-funded doctoral student.
As part of CitEF, Brown, Stair and Twomey have worked closely with the Freud Museum in London, York Museums Trust and Plymouth City Museum and Gallery to produce three practice based projects that animated the museums’ historical collections. In tandem with the conference, they will also present a three-person exhibition in the University of Westminster Marylebone site space Ambika P3 from 15th–19th July, which will explore the impact these projects have had on their respective practices.

Scholars and practitioners from any relevant disciplines are invited to submit proposals for papers that interrogate ideas of ceramic display and intervention, divergent forms of practice, curation and museology within ‘the expanded field’.
Four half-day sessions will explore the following themes.
Museum as Context
What opportunities does the museum context offer ceramics practitioners? How does the museum operate in dialogue with ceramic practice? Can contemporary ceramic practice animate historical collections? How can we contextualize the relationship between ceramic practice and the museum within wider art practice?
Audience Engagement
How can ceramics practitioners engage museum audiences? How do audiences construct/draw meaning from or complete ceramic works? Do tensions arise from the intersection of pedagogy and practice?
Curation and Authorship
What are appropriate models for ceramic practitioners to engage with curatorial practice? Where is the line between curatorial and artistic authorship? How can this relationship shape the discourse around ceramics?
Process and Material
How can an appreciation of process and material be fostered in the museum? Is this a significant concern? What challenges does this pose to practitioners, curators and audiences? Can we develop new understandings of ceramics by engaging with these issues?

Confirmed participants will include:

  • James Beighton, Senior Curator, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.
  • Laura Breen, PhD student, University of Westminster.
  • Christie Brown, Professor of Ceramics, University of Westminster.
  • Glen R. Brown, Professor of Art History, Kansas State University.
  • Phoebe Cummings, Artist
  • Dr Tanya Harrod, Freelance writer and art historian.
  • Martina Margetts, Senior Tutor, Critical and Historical Studies, R C A
  • Ezra Shales, Associate Professor, Massachussetts College of Art and Design.
  • Dr Julian Stair, Principal Research Fellow, University of Westminster.
  • Clare Twomey, Research Fellow, University of Westminster.

We welcome proposals for papers of a maximum of 25 minutes or 3000 words addressing any one of the above. Send abstracts of no more than 250 words. They must include the presenter’s name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the title of the paper and a 150-word biographical note on the presenter. Abstracts should be sent to Helen Cohen and arrive no later than Friday 14 March 2014.

This conference will take place from 4.00pm on Friday 17 July to Sunday 19 July 2014.
Full conference: Standard rate £200. One day rate £110
Full conference: Student rate £90.  One day rate £65.
This covers all conference documentation, refreshments, lunch, receptions and administration costs. Registration will open in April 2014.

Farewell to Marea

Ex-Director of Crafts Council of Australia, Jane Burns, gave this tribute to Marea Gazzard, along with Cristine France and David Malouf.


A remarkable and most distinguished Australian.

I had the privilege of working closely with her in the 1970s and 1980s when she was including national and international crafts organizational responsibilities among her huge bag of activities.

I’m really thankful to be asked to say a few things about her this evening and in Utopia Gallery which was so very important to her. I’d like to dwell briefly on her role as an organizational and visionary leader .It’s a sort of cliché I suppose but Marea had the rare ability to see the big picture and take big and risky steps and she enthused everyone on the way to achieve results.

Marea in the 1960s, – artist, wife, mother of Nicholas and Clea, activist in movements such as the Save Paddington Society and the Save The Queen Victoria Building – was among a select few studio artists in the mediums of ceramics, metal, textile, wood, glass in Australia who understood the need for there to be support systems which would enable them to undertake tertiary training within their discipline, exhibit their work in commercial and other galleries, and for their audience to learn about them and their work. Nowadays we take all those things somewhat for granted. But in the 1960s it was a vastly different story.

No arts white pages directories or internet existed. Without contact points other than personal friendships the select few (including Helge Larsen, Les Blakebrough, Heather Dorrough, Mary White, Joy Warren, Moira Kerr, Fay Bottrell, Peter Travis here in NSW and Milton Moon, Carl McConnel, Joan Campbell and others interstate) formed a Steering Committee in Sydney which set out the ways and means to establishment of a national crafts organization. Marea became the chief of this select group in 1970 when their efforts bore fruit and the Commonwealth Government issued a cheque for the princely sum of $12,000 for the Crafts Council of Australia to come into existence, with Marea as its first President. Sir John Gorton was then the PM and he personally directed Dr. Nugget Coombes and Dr Jean Battersby of the then Australian Council for the Performing Arts to administer this grant rather than the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board. That in itself was extraordinarily prescient because with the election of Mr. Whitlam as Prime Minister, the Australia Council was completely restructured. Marea was invited by Gough Whitlam to be Chair of The first Crafts Board and to develop policies and plans to place the contemporary crafts on an equal footing with art forms of the other seven Boards and within the spectrum of the visual arts. This meant that she had to resign from the fledgling Crafts Council of Australia Presidency, six months after she was elected, and the Vice President, Marcia del Thomas from South Australia replaced her there. In the space of a year Marea went from being Chair of a Steering Commiitee, to President of a new non governmental crafts organization (The Crafts Council of Australia) to Chair of the major governmental crafts organization (The Crafts Board of the Australia Council). Breathless activity by any standard.

When Gough Whitlam asked Marea, along with the other Board Chairs, to nominate a budget figure to cover possible needs she had took an educated guess and asked for 2 million dollars – an unheard of amount then and to put it in perspective, overnight the grant allocation to the Australia Council from the Federal Government went from $4,000,000 annually to $14,000,000. Wise heads and capable hands were needed to administer these funds. Marea surrounded herself with those she trusted to sit on her Board and those who would join the public service on the staff of the Australia Council in the Crafts Board. Moira Kerr and Felicity Abraham were among the latter. Wisdom personified.

It wasn’t a coincidence then of course that Marea was invited from Australia as one of the select group of people from North America, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa to take up the challenge of the American philanthropist Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb to form the World Crafts Council. Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb intended this to be a networking link for craftspeople world wide to provide the strength of numbers and opinion, to influence governments.

Marea had artist friends and colleagues as personal contacts in each of those regions, friendships which remained strong throughout her life, and like her these people recognized what a huge advantage the network of these connections could be. The World Crafts Council gradually included over 50 countries and Marea became World President in 1980. It was during her Presidency (again by judicious use of the right contacts and right approaches) that the organization achieved unheard of Category A Status as an NGO with UNESCO. This gave it an annual subvention to establish its own secretariat. And this made it possible for Marea to undertake travel to each of the five regions of the WCC and to play a part in the necessary high level discussions with individual governments which gave national organizations necessary support. She acted in the manner of a diplomat, meeting official people at the highest level and bringing great distinction to the WCC as well as to Australia because of this.

Here in Australia, the Asian Zone of the WCC was set up within the offices of the Crafts Council of Australia and Pat Thompson (writer, scholar and former co-warrior with Marea in the Paddington Society) became its Hon. Secretary.

Many of the legendary stories of these extraordinary times and Marea’s part in the contemporary crafts renaissance of forty or so years ago have been captured in Grace Cochrane’s marvellous history but I hope I’ve given you some inkling of just how pivotal she was in leading the change in the contemporary crafts landscape nationally and internationally.

And also maybe what an extraordinarly busy and interesting life she had.

And throughout all of this heady activity on the organizational front she was also trying at a very high level to pursue her own artistic career. The exhibition with Mona Hessing in 1973 Clay and Fibre at the National Gallery of Victoria which was such a hit with gallery audiences certainly gave the critics of the time something to think about. I remember the outrage when Donald Brook, art critic for the SMH, wrote, with outrage showing in each word, something to the effect that these were crafts people and Marea should get back to making ceramic mugs and Mona to making useful woven rugs. Marea and Mona were completely confident in their work but this was understandably annoying. However, in fact it illustrated so well why they wanted attitudes and awareness to alter.

As an aside here and one of those whose professional life has been in administration of the arts rather than in the practice of it I am always amazed at the generosity of artists who are prepared to give time and energy away from their professional career to ensure the fight for the arts as a government priority goes on.

I’d like to finish with an illustration of Marea’s practical skill and capacity always to see solutions rather than problems.

In 1973 The WCC Secretariat asked her to find a Polish fibre artist Ewa Pachucka who had defected to Australia and could possibly need support to find her feet in this new country. Marea drove a blue mini minor at the time and one morning she arrived at CCA and together we tooled off to Carramar where Ewa and her husband were living in a migrant hostel. How Marea tracked her down I’ve forgotten but such was her brilliance at this sort of tricky thing that I remember it didn’t faze me at all. Ewa and her husband Romek were surprised and overjoyed to see us and even more flummoxed when within weeks Marea had arranged rental accommodation for them in a cottage in Milsons Point and Rudi Komon, had offered Ewa a solo exhibition at his Paddington Gallery for six months time. He knew of her work from exhibitions she had had in London and Denmark. The exhibition at the Rudi Komon Gallery was a sensation and James Mollison acquired major works from it for the national collection. And Ewa began her life as an artist anew in this new country. The sort of fairy story ending in a way to this extraordinary train of events which Marea set in motion, is that both Marea and Ewa were among artists commissioned by Aldo Girgulo and Pamille Berg to undertake major works for Parliament House in Canberra when it opened in 1988, Marea’s bronze sculpture in the Executive Courtyard at the formal entrance to the Prime Minister’s office suite, and Ewa’s stone sculpture in the Lobby Courtyard Garden adjacent to the House of Representatives.

Marea’s place in Australian art history is well assured. It will always be recognized by those who see the Judy Cassab portrait of her at the National Portrait Gallery and through her work in public and private collections. For her friends and colleagues it will be in the knowledge of a myriad of little and big things which she managed so intuitively. She was absolutely a remarkable person and it was a privilege to have known her.

Jane Burns

November 25 2013

Bring a little global warming to Soweto

Belle Primary School had been selected as the site for the South Kids activity of the gathering in Soweto. It is situated just next to the Hector Petersen Museum and its staff seemed very keen to be part of the event. The passion of their involvement took most of us by surprise.



Emma Davies, Maree Clark, Sara Thorn and I were driven by Adelaide, one of the educators, to Belle Primary School for our grand welcome reception. We stood by the gates while two rows of children lined and started singing a song usual for greeting a wedding party:

Mme ma Sambo,
Our Principal
Ba vulele, ba ngene
Be so kind to open the gates, and allow our visitors in.
Bongena bangena
Thank you, if you allow, with your blessings then in they’ll come.

They sang this over and over with increasing intensity. Down through the centre came a group of young boys in gumboots, who performed an energetic dance for us. They then jogged back and soon came a party of little children in traditional dress waving South African flags. They opened the gates and took each of us by the hand into the school, as the corridor of learners continued their song. Eventually we made it to a verandah where we were formally greeted by the Principal. She explained to the students that they were honoured by these visitors from the other southern countries, including Australia. The learners replied in perfect chorus, ‘Good morning Principal, Educators and Visitors’. Each of the educators had come dressed in a traditional costume, including some beautiful Shweshwe prints and a gloriously beaded Zulu outfit.


Sara Thorn handing over the emu to the Principal Mrs Sambo

Sara Thorn handing over the emu to the Principal Mrs Sambo

Sara Thorn handing over the emu to the Principal Mrs Sambo

We were then led to the classroom where Sara Thorn explained to the children the idea of the art class. They then crowded around my laptop to watch a short film from ArtPlay, where Vicki Shokoroglou told then how the Melbourne children had prepared works for them to use. The children then returned to their desks and started drawing – whatever they felt like. Once they had each made their drawing, they then stood up and explained to the class their drawing and what they would then made with the materials. We then had representations from other classes that they wanted to participate, so we squeezed some more in. The children then raided the amazing stock of materials that had been gathered by the artists yesterday with Prince Massingham and Clifford Charles.


Educators and visitors to the Belle Primary School

Educators and visitors to the Belle Primary School