An artist from the University of Sunderland has won a prestigious residency to show off his innovative work in the Netherlands.

Theo Harper has been successful in his application to the EKWC European Ceramic Work Centre, an international workplace where artists, designers and architects explore the technical and artistic possibilities of ceramics.

The PhD student will follow in the footsteps of internationally renowned ceramics artists who have also been awarded residencies, which have gone on to be career-changing.

The time spent in the Netherlands will allow Theo to undertake cutting edge research and assist in the consolidation of his PhD.

Through his work, the artist explores and asks important questions of traditional and contemporary materials, processes and landscapes. He aims to seek understanding of the varied environments we live within.

Theo studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and the Royal College of Art, London. He has been awarded an AHRC PhD studentship based at the University of Sunderland’s National Glass Centre, where he continues his practice based research.

Theo said: “This residency is essential for my research and will enable me to regain the practical making lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Crucially, it will also highlight the University of Sunderland as ambitious and forward thinking, affirming a connection with a world-renowned ceramics residency.”

The placement at The European Ceramic Work Centre in Oisterwijk will play an integral part in the final case study planned for Theo’s research project. The case study will bring together successful aspects from past practical investigations into a hybrid form of clay sculpture, movement, and digital technology.

Theo added: “Sculpture today is increasingly dependent on a knowledge of Computer Aided Design (CAD) which inherently lacks a physical connection to material.

“This motivation allows for a space to find new ways of interacting with these new technologies; to discover new sculptural interaction solutions and philosophical perspectives based on long standing sculptural questions surrounding the inside and out-side.”

Theo also has a screening of a film in an online exhibition with Star and Shadow cinema titled ‘EYES WIDE SHUT’ on Friday 28 August, 6pm. 

The screenings will be accessible through the Star and Shadow website, and after the programme we will be hosting a live discussion via Zoom with the filmmakers, audiences, and invited industry professionals.