Setomonogatari Research Project and associated body of ceramic artworks

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The Setomonogatari Project comprises a range of outputs, including participation in an invited artist residency, the ongoing production of a body of ceramic artwork, and a series of associated exhibitions, conference papers and peer reviewed journal articles. The project aims to investigate the recent past of post-war novelty figurine production in Seto, Japan, a traditional centre of pottery production. This is a significant, yet threatened, heritage resource which has thus far been subject to little artistic or archaeological attention. The project is novel as it raises awareness of marginalised aspects of person-object interaction, including the loss of manufacturing skill, and demonstrates how creative ceramic practice may contribute to the wider fields of archaeology and heritage studies.
This research originated in McHugh’s invitation to participate as ceramic artist in residence in the Seto International Ceramic and Glass Art Exchange Programme (November-December 2015). The initial body of ceramic artwork made during this period (Setomonogatari 1-4) was acquired by the Seto City Art Museum in December 2015 and displayed in a group exhibition at the same venue in January 2016. Subsequent ceramic artworks (Setomonogatari 5-6), which were developed through grants from the Arts Council UK and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, were exhibited at the Museum of Kyoto, as part of McHugh’s contribution to ‘Breaking the Frame: Art and Archaeology in Practice’, a peer-reviewed session at the World Archaeology Congress 8, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, (September 2016). This presentation yielded peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology (January 2019) and the Independent Social Research Forum Bulletin (March 2018). The artworks were later exhibited in the exhibition 'Wordsworth and Basho: Walking Poets' at Kakimori Bunko Gallery, Itami, Japan, (September-November 2016). The research subsequently led to further papers at the Museum of London's symposium, 'Archaeology, place making and art in Japan and the UK' (Nov 2016) and at the Theoretical Archaeology Group Congress, University of Southhampton (Dec 2016). The findings of further research in Seto have been presented at the peer-reviewed 'Archaeologies of Now' session, Society of Post-Medieval Archaeology Congress, University of Glasgow, (March 2019), and a peer-reviewed article is in preparation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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