Dr Chris McHugh

Dr Chris McHugh completed his PhD in June 2015

‘Community in Clay’

Towards a ‘Sunderland Ware for the 21st Century’: Using ceramics to monumentalise and materialise identity and narrative in the Digital Age

‘Community in Clay’ is an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award project which was jointly developed by the University of Sunderland and the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.  It reflects the University’s research strength in ceramics and print and the Museum’s curatorial expertise regarding its historic collection of transfer-printed Sunderland pottery. The research focuses on how an artist might use this collection to engage with the local community for mutual benefit.  The project will lead to the development of creative artwork, namely a “Sunderland Pottery for the 21st Century”, as well as the establishment of a transferable model of practice for artist-led museum collaboration.

Christopher McHugh, the researcher, has so far piloted several community projects, including a Sunderland Verse project in conjunction with the Foyle Street Writers, which, referring to the verses on the original Sunderland pottery, aims to develop new text relating to Sunderland today. He is also working on a project with Wearside-born members of The Third Battalion, The Rifles (3 Rifles) to commemorate their recent tour in Afghanistan.

Christopher has recently exhibited at The Gallery of Wonder, Great North Museum: Hancock (http://www.galleryofwonder.co.uk/), and his work can be seen at  Wallington until October as part of the ‘Unfinished Business’ exhibition curated by Chris Dorsett, Reader in Art School Practices, Northumbria University (http://unfinishedbusinessatwallington.weebly.com/christopher-mchugh.html).

Christopher studied fine art and archaeology at Durham, South Asian archaeology at Cambridge and was a Monbusho Scholar at Kyoto University, Japan, before returning to the North East on England to establish his artistic practice in printmaking and ceramics. He has exhibited widely in the UK and overseas.





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