Dr. Nick Renshaw

Nick Renshaw's sculpture frequently invokes elements of the human figure as its subject matter. His works are an amalgamation of themes and inspirations drawn from the memory of his own background, from current discourse, and from a universally understood language of anthropological and historical visual symbols. His works play on contradiction and opposites as a central part of their understanding, calling of the audience to often weigh between seemingly humorous imagery and that of a more mysterious, portentous nature. Renshaw's PhD, completed in 2014 at the Ceramic Arts Research Centre University of Sunderland (CARCuos), focused on artist residence and work centres where clay is the unifying factor and was drawn from his many years of practice as visual artist working around the world, particularly in the Netherlands, USA and China. The European Ceramic Workcentre (EKWC) in the Netherlands had for many years been regarded as leader in its field though with little study of how and why this was the case. Renshaw's research undertook to determine the reasoning behind its success as an innovation promoting arts institution. His book, 'Demystified: The European Ceramic Workcentre as Centre of Excellence', published by Jap Sam Books in 2017, was based on this research.

Thesis Title: The European Ceramic Workcentre As Successful Model: Evaluating The Standing, Nature And Potential For Practice In Ceramic Art Residencies

This research study is concerned with the activity of ceramic residence centres. An area of art practice which exists both as a separate field as well as one within a burgeoning and wider sphere of international artist residence centres. This wider field is recognisable by its recent and rapid expansion providing new possibilities which have become a fundamental part of the working practice of visual artists of all denominations. The impact of leading ceramic residence centres such as the European Ceramic Workcentre (EKWC) in the Netherlands affects inherent working practices, work produced, cultural exchange, individual mobility, as well as innovation and the concept of how the ceramic medium can be used. This study provides a discussion of practice and its development at the EKWC as well as an understanding of comparable work carried out in the divergent cultural backdrops of the Northern Clay Center (USA), Yuegi Kiln Workcentre (P.R. China) and FLICAM (P.R China). Theoretical evidence concerning these ceramic centres is complemented by my own practice at each facility which has taken place both during and before commencement of this research. Imagery associated with this evidence provides a visual expression of practice, the resulting artefacts, and a contextual perspective of the individual ceramic centres. The balance of understanding in this research finds that within this developing, international and cross-cultural field the EKWC plays a significant role in advances technically and for the expanded possibilities and understandings of ceramic as a creative medium. This study describes how this has been achieved and provides an appreciation of the extended potentials of good practice for ceramics in the context of the residence and workcentre fields.

Awarded Date: 29/08/2014

Principal Supervisor: Professor Andrew Livingstone

Second Supervisor: Professor Kevin Petrie

Additional Supervisor: Professor Peter Davies