‘Representations of tourism expressed through creative ceramic practice, with an emphasis on the printed photographic image’

University of Sunderland, M.Phil, 2010


Mass produced printed pictorial ceramic objects have been widely available since the 1860s. Along with the photograph, these can provide evidence or a nostalgic reminder of a holiday or event. Since its invention in 1839, photography has evolved a close relationship with tourism and has become an inseparable part of contemporary mass tourism. Within the field of contemporary ceramics the use of print has become an increasingly popular way to communicate ideas. The printed ceramic vessel is often used to purvey or convey meaning.

The overall aim of this research is to investigate representations of tourism (such as souvenirs and photography), developing a body of ceramics to interpret these. Through the creation of artworks, it was the intention to develop an appropriate visual language to communicate these aspects of tourism.  Overall, the methodological approach is centred around the creative practitioner. To ensure a broad perspective, methods were adapted from social science, such as participant observation, field studies and photography. The main focus of the research is on two field trips undertaken to Alberta, Canada and Philadelphia, USA. The objective of these was to engage directly in individual ‘touristic’ experiences, gathering visual and textual source material.

The outcome of the research was two bodies of artwork, informed by the trips undertaken. This consisted of printed ceramic vessels communicating aspects of the researcher’s travel experiences, and underpinned by the literature surveyed.  A dialogue between tourism and ceramics was created through the artworks.

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