Caroline Broadhead, designer
Caroline Broadhead trained at the Central School of Art and Design, London, where she was later a professor, retiring in 2018. She was encouraged to experiment with making jewellery at school and these beginnings led her onto other objects that come into contact with the body, such as clothing and chairs and an exploration of the interface between a person and an object, the sense of touch, movement and change.
Public collections that hold examples of her work include the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She was the winner of the Jerwood Prize for Applied Arts: Textiles in 1997
On the occasion of the Brighton School of Art’s 150th anniversary in 2009, Caroline wrote about her experiences as a member of the teaching staff between 1978 and 1986.
“My work has evolved in a journey outwards from the body. Starting with the most intimate of design objects, jewellery, I made pieces to be worn next to the body, to be handled and changed by the handling. This led to using clothing forms, objects that followed or deviated from the human form, and which acted as metaphor for a person. At the same time, I started to work with choreographers, making garments and sets for dance. Some of these have been made by taking references from the historic buildings they were performed in. Later, the inclusion and control of shadows put the emphasis on a less substantial element. More recently, I have been constructing and manipulating spaces, exploring light and shade, and considering ways in which an audience moves through and experiences those spaces.
“My involvement with University of Brighton goes back thirty years. I have been a lecturer, visiting speaker, external examiner, advisor and exhibitor, as well as proud parent of one of Brighton’s graduates. In 1978, I started my first teaching job on the wood, metals, plastics and ceramics course for two days a week, having had no experience of teaching before. I had graduated from the Central School of Art five years previously and just come back from a trip to Africa, where I had been inspired to make bolder pieces.
“I had made the decision not to expect to make a living from my work, but to follow ideas in the most wholehearted way I could. A teaching job meant that I was able to support my own practice as well as offering support to less experienced makers. It was a crucial time for me to observe and discuss different approaches to teaching. I was based in the metals area with Des Clem Murphy, then later with Frank Hills in plastics; I taught alongside, amongst others, Fred Baier, Chris Rose, Ros Conway. I always enjoyed the range of materials and processes that were being explored at Brighton.”
Caroline Broadhead, 2009