International Glass Community visits Sunderland

Over 100 delegates from the international glass making community will visit Sunderland this weekend as The Contemporary Glass Society launch their sell-out conference at National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland.

The Contemporary Glass Society (CGS) is widely regarded as the foremost organisation in the UK for promoting and encouraging cutting edge glass and glass-makers within the wider art world.The CGS Conference is a prestigious annual event which brings together leading glass-makers and artists to discuss developments in the industry.

Julia Stephenson, Head of Arts for National Glass Centre said “The fact that the Contemporary Glass Society has chosen our venue to hold this important event in the glass making calendar shows how established National Glass Centre has become as a hub for glass art and glass making.  The conference reinforces Sunderland’s reputation as a city with international influence on the history and continued legacy of glass making. It is particularly exciting that we will be able to welcome the delegates to our newly re-developed Centre.”

This year, the theme for the conference is Glass skills: exploring the fusion of art and technique which explores the challenges and opportunities that glass art currently faces and will be held on 12 and 13 October.

“The debate couldn’t be more timely” says Victoria Scholes, the Chair of CGS. “Times may be hard, and there’s no doubt that traditional skills-based industries are in decline. But at the same time, creativity is a resource in which we are rich, and creative skills increasingly valued.  We believe our contemporary glass-making skills are a cultural asset to be nourished and where better to explore what they mean to us than at National Glass Centre, with its strong connections to glass - past and present”.

The CGS conference will bring together leading artists and glass specialists to give their own perspectives to the question of art and technique.

Finnish artist and designer Markku Salo is, for example, always looking for new ways to express the artistic quality of glass as a material, but sees technique as only a tool rather than something that outranks the content. Dr Jack Dawson, an expert on Scandinavian glass, is interested in the creative dynamic in the working relationship between artists and the glass industry.

Luke Jerram brings together and collaborates with specialist teams of engineers, craftsmen and technicians to help him realise his works – from composers to glassblowers, medieval musicologists to hot air balloonists. In this way, he says, he is “only limited by my imagination in what can be produced. Anything is possible”.

Diane Peacock studied fine art at Sheffield and the Slade, and is now working on a PhD looking at creativity in the context of UK education policy. She’s especially interested in the negative impact of successive policies on students and teachers and in possibilities for averting further damage.

Other speakers include Keke Cribb, Wendy Fairclough and Geoff Mann and, in the exciting Glass Pechakucha, 20 glass artists will present and talk about their work in quick-fire succession. There will also be seminars on architectural glass and presenting work to galleries, plus demonstrations of printing on glass, flameworking, hot glass and water jet cutting.

Glass skills: exploring the fusion of art and technique is part of the CGS Glass Skills 2013 programme – a whole year of exhibitions, events and workshops that highlight the part glassmakers play in keeping ancient skills alive, and in adapting them to create innovative and original art for today.

For more details about the conference and Glass Skills, including how conference participants can opt to take part in the Pechakucha, visit

Press Contacts

For information about The Contemporary Glass Society and for high resolution images contact Victoria Scholes at

For information about National Glass Centre contact Sara Jo Harrison at

Image captions: Markku Salo, Koira; Keke Cribbs, Bateau Rustique; Wendy Fairclough, Aquiescence

Notes to the editor

The Contemporary Glass Society (CGS) is widely regarded as the foremost organisation in the UK for promoting and encouraging cutting edge glass and glass-makers within the wider art world.

600450 International Glass Community visits Sunderland
Date: 14 October 2013

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