Building The Clay Commons

Friday 19th April 12:45 am

With mounting socio-economic issues, endemic racism and injustice throughout our society, this talk will look at the potential of clay studios to imagine emancipatory futures, grounded in practical organising and education. After witnessing a heavy decline in university and school-based clay education, a network of independent, community driven clay studios and engagement practices appeared across the UK. Many of these centre social justice, equitable and ethical business practices, and are places of community activism and support.

The ‘commons’ can be generally summarised as a set of ‘common’ resources that are self- governed by a community of users. The development of the ‘Clay Commons’ focuses on the site of the clay studio as a micro society, sharing resources but also creating a sense of belonging. The studio becomes a site where community and creativity can be a driving force, within the context of a globally fluid, ubiquitous but infinitely diverse material (clay). This talk will offer examples of organisations and practices already involved in this work, and present the Clay Commons as a framework that aims to provide a collective route to freedom for everyone in society.

Eva Masterman
Eva is an artist and educator working with clay for over 16 years, in both sculpture and collaborative participation. She was the Norma Lipman Fellow in Ceramics at Newcastle University 2018 – 2021, where her work explored intergenerational connections and relationships through embodied clay objects. The Clay Commons is the result of her current PhD that builds on this idea of clay as an agent in relationship building, by exploring clay studios as sites of emancipatory education and abolitionist commoning. She is the host and creator of the Clay Commons podcast that looks at the potential of non-institutionalised engagement in clay as a force for good in society.