Dr Natasha Mayo
Specialist Subject Areas
Ceramics: General Studio and Theory: Figurative Sculpture
Creative Strategies: Strategies in Idea Development/ Film as a Pedagogic Tool
Drawing: Role of Drawing in the Development of Ideas / Drawing as a Social Tool / Drama-Drawing
PhD: An Investigation into the Potential of Ceramics to Expressively Render Flesh and Skin on the Human Form
BA: Fine Art Painting
Dr Natasha Mayo is a practitioner and researcher in the discipline of ceramics, freelance writer and since 2004 Senior lecturer at the National Centre for Ceramics Studies in Wales, Cardiff School of Art & Design.
Mayo completed her PhD in 2004 entitled: An Investigation into the Potential of Ceramics to Expressively Render Flesh and Skin on the Human Form’. She was instrumental in establishing the peer reviewed Zelli Porcelain Prize receiving first prize in 2002. In 2003 she was the editor of Issue 56 of Ceramics in Society on the subject of contemporary figurative ceramics and is currently on the review panel of Interpreting Ceramics and Glass (on-line peer reviewed journal). She co-convened the Fragmented Figure conference and adjoining exhibition in 2005 and subsequently devised and created its associated scholarly website.
Mayo continues to examine the figure, exploring the surface of the body as a milieu, a place onto which we project identities, societal, gendered and cultural thoughts and feelings. She exhibited as part of ‘Parental Body’ a cultural exchange between France and Wales, exhibiting works by contemporary artists who explore parenting and the female body in direct contact with artifacts and works from the collection of the Museum of Art and Archaeology of Périgord (MAAP), Périgueux, the Museum of Wales, Museum of Welsh Life: St Fagans, Ceredigion Museum and Carmarthenshire County Museum. This interest with the positioning of ceramics and ceramic processes within the museum, continues as a significant part of her participatory engagement activities.
Internationally, she has work in collections including France, Belgium, Korea and has exhibited as part of the NCECA exhibition route, Seattle USA (2011). She received the Cardiff Arts Open prize (2013) and is part of the cooperative ‘Fireworks Clay Studios’ resulting in a number of collaborative group exhibitions including touring ‘Fireworks’ (2013/14). Most recently, Fireworks has negotiated collaboration between Fireworks and the ‘Made in Roath’ arts festival, comprising group exhibition and exploration of its relevance and connectivity to the local community. This collaboration builds upon research into the exhibition as a site of debate.
In 2008 Mayo received the ‘Innovations in Teaching’ award from the Higher education Academy and the JORUM prize for use of film as a pedagogical tool. The methodologies employed here were later extended through a number of collaborative initiatives including SIPS (Strategic Insight Project Scheme) to evidence creative strategies of international artists attending the international residency ‘Porcelain Another Way’ Poland, and the study of ethnography in the practice of artists involved in ‘Placement: Ceramics Connections’ exhibition resulting in ‘in conversation’ with curators Dawn Youll and Lowri Davies and attending as chair its associated conference.
In 2010 she jointly received Gwella funding along with Ingrid Murphy to house and develop these expanding resources in an interactive VLE and co-developed additional resources for each of the key bodies of knowledge taught onto the ceramics programme at CSAD. She has presented findings arising from this both nationally and internationally including SCAD (Savanna College of Art) and E-Learning (Canada). She was awarded HEA Fellowship status in 2012.
The most significant recognition of this body of research has been through adoption of both resources ‘Creative Strategies’ and ‘Eight Propositions: Visual Studies: Drawing’ into the structure and delivery of the new Contemporary Craft Masters Course, Hereford College of Art.
The paper ‘Drawing into Practice’ identifying correlations between creative thinking, drawing and the mechanisms of virtual learning environments, was published by Intellect Books (2012). Images of Mayo’s drawing practice and ceramics is also featured in ‘Drawing and Making’ Bloomsbury (2012).
Awarded HEA funding to co-convene the seminar and associated exhibition ‘Drawing In between: Interdisciplinary Learning Through Drawing’ began a field study into the potential of drawing as a fundamental tool in visualizing knowledge (2013). The method of ‘Drawing in Conversation’ employed at this event was further extended through collaborative workshops with colleague Chris Glynn at the V&A. The potential of drawing as a conversational and problem-solving tool was further examined during a further SIPS placement entitled the: Social Potentials of Creative Thinking’ a collaboration between Mayo and Valley and Vale Community Arts.
Recent investigations have explored boundaries and commonalities between drawing and the facility of drama to enable specific scenarios/context to be examined using drawing as prop and method by which meaning can evolve.
New Areas of Pedagogic Research: Materiality within an Expanded Field of Participatory Arts
This research in collaboration with Melania Warwick (PRIA) aims to position participatory arts within an expanded field in order that we can more clearly identify opportunities for teaching/training students in participatory practices in dynamic ways relevant to a contemporary art curriculum at HE level (project funded by Artworks Cymru).
The expanded field will constitute existing models of participatory practices under the umbrella of Artworks Cymru, set in relation to the new wave of ‘emergent new community cultures’ developing across the UK .The significance of applying the current zeitgiest of ‘transdisciplinary hubs’ to the field of participatory art lies in their proximity to existing models; they embody a similar ethos, yet at the same time run outside of pre-existing community structures, enabling them greater flexibility in the generation of innovative and explorative ways of raising civic awareness of shared issues and concerns through creativity. The case studies will include : The GAP / Civic Foundry / G39 / Made in Roath
Independent Arts Practice / Research: Parenting as a Research Methodology
The potential role of parenting or family as a research methodology has become of increasing interest as a perspective from which to share common histories, personal, cultural and social narratives. This includes:
‘Parental Conversations’ is an international project engaging artist/parents in collaboration and conversation with their child through the activity of drawing. This project aims to re-identify the significance of ‘living research’ the sharing and passing down of knowledge’s through ‘conversation’ within the contemporary family dynamic. Artists from Wales, Puerto Rico, Russia to Finland have submitted proposals for how they intend to create the space and dynamic movement necessary to encourage the sharing of personal, cultural and social narratives with their children through drawing.
The Parental Conversations exhibition will be co-curated by Mayo and Zoe Gingell on behalf of the Mother Suckers company. It will coincide with a major Big Draw event staging a large scale installation to which parent and child organisations in the local will be invited to contribute raising awareness of opportunities and initiatives for parents and children / families.
‘Sensorial Anthropology’ extends the idea of ‘home’ as a site of creativity. In collaboration with Photographer Toril Brancher, Musician Bethan Frieze, artist/animator Caroline Rudge it explores relationships between sensorial value and creativity.
Principal publications and/or exhibitions
(2013) Making the Creative Process Visible, British Ceramics Biennale, Stoke on Trent
(2013) Cardiff Open, Cardiff Collective, Cardiff
(2013) Fireworks: Now, Touring Exhibition, Craft in the Bay (2013) Parental Body, a cultural exchange between France and Wales
(2012) Beyond Borders, ArtXchange Gallery, Seattle, USA
Publications featuring work:
(2015) The Sensorial Object: A Students Perspective, Wales Art Review
(2015) ‘Drawing Partnerships: Bentos Sketchbook’ published by TANT
(2015) Devised and Contributed ‘Sensorial Anthropology’ to ‘The Sensorial Object Catalogue’
(2012) Drawing and Making, by Kyra Cane, A&C Black
(2012) Drawing into Practice, Journal of Visual Art Practice, Volume 11 Issue 1
(2010) Mayo, N. 2010. Making the Creative Process Visible, Savannah College of Arts and Design E-Learning resources
Workshops and Events:
(2014) ‘Bentos Sketchbook’ presented as part of the ‘Thinking Through Berger’ Conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University
(2014) Workshops devised to run alongside the conference employing ‘Bentos Sketchbook’ as methodology – exploring the correlation between drawing and thought. This led to the establishing of ‘Drawing Partnerships’ a collaboration between Mayo and Glynn aims to broker and support collaborative drawing projects across disciplines and bring people together from different walks of life.
(2013) Five day Drawing workshops ‘Social Potentials of Drawing’ a collaboration with Valley and Vale Community Arts at Betws Primary School, Bridgend
(2013) Drawing workshops “Drawing Conversations’ together with Chris Glynn, V & A, London as part of HEA seminar ‘Teaching and Practice’
(2013) Co-convened, Chaired and Presented work at ‘Drawing In-Between: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Drawing’ Seminar and Associated Exhibition, Cardiff Metropolitan University
(2012) Chaired Symposium ‘Placement: Ceramics Connections’ collaboration between Oriel Davies Gallery and Fife Contemporary Art & Craft
(2010) Round Table Workshop: ‘Teaching Material Arts Through Post-‐Material Means’ STLHE ‘Creative Teaching and Learning: Exploring, Shaping, Knowing’ Toronto, Canada
(2014) SIPS funding to collaborate with Artworks Cymru exploring ‘The Potential of Materiality in Participatory Settings’
(2013) SIPS funding to collaborate with Valley and Vale Community Arts exploring ‘Social Potentials of Drawing’
(2013) Seed Funding to employ ‘Cognition Training’ to film the ‘Social Potentials of Drawing’ Workshops and Edit Resultant Footage
(2012) Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
(2011) Arts International funding to secure a collaborative exhibition in Seattle, USA as part of NCECA Exhibition Circuit
(2011) Impact Exploitation Fund, Cardiff Metropolitan University, to promote National Centre for Ceramics VLE in Seattle USA as part of the NCECA Exhibition Circuit
(2010) SIPS funding to attend, write the catalogue and record further evidence of creative thinking at the symposium ‘Porcelain Another Way’ Poland
(2010) Gallia award to devise Virtual Learning Environment for National Centre for Ceramics Wales
(2009) HEA Innovations in Teaching Award for ‘Making the Creative Process Visible’
(2009) Jorum Prize For Open Access Resources Jorum Educational Resources
(2005) Arts Council Grant to support ‘Fragmented Figure’ Conference and Adjoining Exhibition Part of Cardiff Ceramics Research Group
(2000) AHRC Creative Arts grant for Doctoral Qualification
(2002) Zelli Porcelain Prize, Marlebone, London
(1999) AHRC Creative Arts grant for Masters Qualification
External Examiner: Hereford College of Art: Contemporary Craft Masters
PhD External examiner: Aberystwyth University 2014: Imagining the face an investigation into hyperrealist depictions of the human facial surface
PhD Internal examiner: Cardiff Metropolitan University 2013: Does state of being and Dynamic Movement Have a Relationship with Creativity, Gina Deininger