Working With/In Japan

The last couple of months have been an extremely busy and fulfilling time, a period which also includes my previous news item concerning the conclusion of Transparent Boundaries. At the beginning of April we welcomed our Visiting Professor, Dr Chika Ohgi, from Nagoya University of the Arts who will be with us for a year.

10th April Working With/In Japan

We were delighted that Dr Ohgi spoke at the Working With/In Japan Seminar on 10th April. Her presentation was concerned with the connections between traditional and contemporary textile practice in Japan with particular reference to textiles. An interesting insight was that many traditional Japanese crafts people are more open to discussing their techniques with Western artists than Japanese, this being based on the assumption that Westerners are unlikely to set up in competition! The Seminar also contained presentations from the Senior Co-ordinator for Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in London, Simon Wright, also artists Jane Clowes, Beverly Ayling-Smith and Ashley Howard. Simon Wright's presentation guided us through some of the cultural nuances in the establishing of collaborative projects including the importance of 'nemawashi' in gaining consensus for projects to happen. Jane Clowes described her research in Japan into different paper making techniques and uses; Beverly Ayling-Smith talked about her experiences when exhibiting in Kyoto last autumn and her presentation to students at Kyoto University for the Arts; Ashley Howard brought us up to date on his on-going collaborative ceramics project with Japan.