Graduate Show 2019: Xanthe Maggs: 3D Design and Craft

Over the last year on 3D Design and Craft I have been organising participatory events and projects using clay, as well as making my own ceramic work.

I am particularly interested in the social potential of clay. My final year work has explored how bringing clay to groups of people can facilitate new collective experiences.

Clayground Collective is a cross-disciplinary company of creative practitioners that work in a broad range of public, educational and cultural contexts. Their projects with museums, schools and in a variety of public spaces have been particularly inspiring to me this year.

Monolith

Please tell us about your final year project

My final year project explores clay as medium through which to engage with notions of the commons. The commons are the resources that are collectively ours, distinct from individual ownership, such as air, water, green spaces but also public and cultural institutions. I have been meeting with groups of local people that come together around things held in common, Brighton and Hove archaeology society and Brighton museum; around common local history, the Save Whitehawk Hill campaign; around collectively cherished common land, and the Horse Hill protection group, an anti fracking campaign in Sussex; around the environmental safety of our common future.

People around table

Outcomes include work made both collaboratively with these groups and myself. Things I have made draw inspiration directly from my involvement. Using clay collected myself from river and stream banks in Sussex and Surrey has furthered my exploration of common spaces and resources.

By linking these groups and objects in a continuum the final curation of my show presents clay as a ‘common’ medium through which to reflect on our collective human story, to cherish what we hold jointly in the present and to express what we want to actively protect for the common good of the future. Included in the show are badges made in local clay for Brighton and Hove Archaeology Society, a land marker for Whitehawk Hill made from local Sussex clay and objects made at a participatory workshop, using from clay dug next to the drilling site at Horse Hill. (Photos attached)

How have you found your course/time at Brighton?

3D Design and Craft is a brilliant course. It has a close and supportive community including brilliant technicians and academic staff. The facilities and equipment available on the course are great and there is the potential to learn a lot. The course is focused on developing practical skills, as well as developing your own research methods. The broad range of work included in our upcoming graduate show is testament to the supportive and diverse learning environment on the course.  I’ve really loved my time at Brighton. Grand Parade is a great place to be with so many creative courses and exciting things happening.

What are your plans after Graduation?

I hope to continue with ideas explored through my final year work. I have another project planned around anti fracking protest, continuing my research into the potential of clay for creative activism. Following on from my project with Brighton Museum I am keen to gain more experience in creative public engagement within cultural institutions, utilising my own creative skills and understanding of the potential of collaborative making.

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