Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Letter from the CPA council circulated to CPA members about the future of the organisation as a whole and of Ceramic Review in particular.

The letter above, in two separate images, is the one circulated to CPA members. It seems clear and innocuous enough but is startling in its deceit. The reality is much simpler. The independent editor has been removed and has not been given the choice to return. The new 'guest' editor is a CPA member and, I believe, former chair of the CPA council. The editorial, far from being 'no longer in-house' is about as 'in-house' as it could get. The notion of a 'guest' here is meaningless since there is no editor, as such, to invite the guest. Moreover, and, arguably, even more worrying, there is no mention whatsoever of the writing, editorial, or publishing experience of any of these people comprising this new, collective, editorship. The appointment of Jack Doherty as the new 'guest' editor has now been announced on the Ceramic Review Facebook page. The first comment it attracted sums it all up nicely: 'The maffia (sic) strikes again.'  The first comment to arrive on my share of the document above was, 'What worries me is that the same (one or two) people are now in charge of who gets into the CPA, who gets into Ceramic Art London AND what is published in Ceramic Review.' Quite. I wouldn't argue with a single word of either of those two comments. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

We Are Ceramic Review! An open letter to the CPA regarding the future of CR

This is a post I thought I would never have to write and now do so with considerable regret and concern.

You may have heard - either from Bonnie herself or from other sources - that Dr Bonnie Kemske's contract as Editor of Ceramic Review was recently terminated by the Craft Potters Association. No new editor has been appointed. There are no adverts so far posted seeking a new editor. There appear to be no plans, as yet, to appoint a new editor, and, as things stand at the moment, there is nothing on the CPA website concerning these upheavals at Ceramic Review. Moreover, most CPA members know nothing of these changes. The only member of the CPA council that I have spoken to 'didn't know enough about it' to discuss the issue with me.

** Latest update **  CPA have now informed their members that the Jack Doherty will be the first guest editor but there is still no news on the long term plan for an editor as far as I understand.

In addition to this, we know that promotion of Ceramic Review abroad has been terminated and the focus of the magazine is now to be national only. 

A small group of us have written the following open letter to the CPA calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting so that we can put our concerns to them directly. You may have many more questions you would like to ask. 

Please take a look at the letter here below, which we plan to send to the CPA council with a list of signatories, and, if you agree and would like to add your name, please send an email to weareceramicreview@gmail.com with a YES as your subject line and your name as the message - with any comments you may wish to make, by midnight Friday 20th September. Please also email or share this post via twitter or facebook to anyone you think might also like to add their name. 116 people have so far added their name via email and many more via facebook. Don't forget to send the email or let me know via fb by Friday 20th! 

Many thanks from The C Word

Dear Craft Potters Association Board Members,

We write to express our deep disappointment at the recent removal of Dr Bonnie Kemske as editor of Ceramic Review.

We feel strongly that, under her editorship, the magazine has taken on a new lease of life. Over the last three years we have welcomed the publication’s broader perspective, particularly enjoying the international dimension, and the inclusion of a wide variety of ceramic production. The range of articles about industry, studio pottery, installation work, sculpture, and public and community art projects, have provided an excellent overview of the breadth of production and the scale of ambition that defines our field. 

It is this mix, combined with the international coverage, that gives Ceramic Review its considerable, and currently unparalleled, national and international status.

Our shared concern is that the broad-based appeal of Ceramic Review, its inclusive, democratic, and international content, and tone of open debate, is set to become increasingly conservative and narrow. This would be a great shame. At best, these are very challenging times for magazines. Narrowing the Ceramic Review remit will, almost certainly, reduce its readership and threaten its survival.

Many of us are CPA members, Ceramic Review subscribers and contributors as well as readers. We are all stakeholders in the Ceramic Review enterprise. The welfare and future success of this magazine affects us all. We urge you to retain a progressive and inclusive agenda for Ceramic Review, under an independent editorship.

We would welcome an opportunity to discuss these issues further and call for you to hold an extraordinary general meeting for that purpose.