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Returns formed part of an on-going collaboration between Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). Established in 2012, it developed out of an International Research Project titled Topographies of the Obsolete, set up by Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway; and focused on the disused ceramics factory in Stoke-on-Trent, Spode Works.

The aim of the research was to deepen and develop our understanding of the post-industrial landscape with specific reference to the industrial ruin. Through a series of residencies and workshops, a cross-disciplinary group of artists and researchers from a range of international art institutions set out to explore the socio-economic histories, industrial architecture and production remains of the former Spode Works The results of the research were exhibited and published during the British Ceramics Biennial in September 2013 and Seconds, in the Lace Market Gallery in March 2014.

The exhibition at Bonington Gallery was the first showing of the newly generated outcomes, with a subsequent exhibition taking place at Sheffield Hallam SIA Gallery in Winter 2016. Each exhibition showed a new development from the work previously exhibited, demonstrating the progression of the research.

The exhibition brought together artistic research from NTU:
Andrew Brown, Joanne Lee, Danica Maier, Debra Swann, and Chloë Brown from SHU.

Recent fine art graduates who participated in the original Spode project were in residence during the exhibition, from NTU:
Ciaran Harrington, and Christine Stevens.

Discussion Workshops

Throughout the Returns exhibition, researchers from the project led a series of discussion workshops. Each session was intended for a small group of invited speakers and participants who considered a specific area emerging from the concerns uncovered in Returns’ research through practice.

The discussions took the form of presentations, group conversations and practical activities. Their aim was to bring together professionals and practitioners to reflect upon three particular points of focus:

Digging through Dirt: Archaeology past, present, precious and unwanted 
Wednesday 11 February,  1 pm – 2.15 pm

Artists will have your Ruin: Regeneration through the arts 
Wednesday 18 February,  1 pm – 2.15 pm

Ruins of Craft: Lost art of making 
Wednesday 25 February,  1 pm – 2.15 pm

Exhibition resources:

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