Round table meeting in Fiskars, Finland

As part of the events related to the Ceramics and its Dimensions: Shaping the Future exhibition a Round Table meeting was organized in Laundry Cafe Bar in Fiskars, Finland in November 2016. The exhibition tours around Europe between 2016 and 2018, thus offering a possibility to discuss the value and future of ceramics in diverse local contexts.

Local ceramics designers Riikka Talonpoika (on the left) and Mika Sarasjoki, lecturer Nathalie Lautenbacher from Aalto University and professor Barbara Schmidt from Weissensee Kunsthochschule Berlin. (c) Minerva Juolahti

The first meeting brought together different stakeholders including local ceramists, designers, students, teachers and professors that all have connection to ceramics. The main agenda of the discussion was the conception of the future of ceramics in the perspective of the now as well as in the perspective of the time each of the discussion participants started their careers. From these starting points the discussion grew into larger dimensions.

Aalto University student Tuuli Saarelainen (on the left), Marimekko designer Sami Ruotsalainen and Ceramics and its Dimensions: Shaping the Future curator Riikka Latva-Somppi. (c) Minerva Juolahti

The main themes that arose from the discussion were materiality and change, that were reflected from the point of view of the future and of personal careers. Some of the outcomes of the discussion were around the topics of education and industry. During the discussion, it was pointed out that the relationship with the material has changed in the teaching of ceramics significantly during the last years, moving the responsibility of getting a deeper understanding of the material more to the students. The current changes in the industry, teaching and technical development were seen as a positive opportunity for a fresh start, but at the same time the notion that something might be lost, was in the air. In the end, there was a consensus that a basic human need for the making with hands remains also in the future.