Dena Bagi

  • Clay-and-Print-Exploration-2014.jpg Clay and Print Exploration, 2014. Dena led a workshop inspired by the Constellations exhibition at Tate Liverpool.
  • Community-Feast-2015.jpg Community Feast, 2015. Dena led on the community side of engagement at the British Ceramics Biennial.
  • LINK-Collection-2015.jpg LINK Collection, 2015. Dena led a group of adults, who are at risk of isolation in Manchester, inspired by the collection at Gallery of Costume.
  • Scribble-Slate-Tile-2013.jpg Scribble Slate Tile - 2013. Dena led a programme of family events at the British Ceramics Biennial.

What inspires me

Blown glass pieces, with print inclusions was the last body of work I made. With my father being from Libya and my mother the UK, how was I viewed by other people? How I viewed the current conflict between the East/West became a focal theme for understanding my perceived identity. This was translated through a series of glass pieces that reflected and disrupted images of translated news articles.

I no longer make with glass. After Made in the Middle, I studied for an MA in Contemporary Curating at Manchester Metropolitan University. During my Masters, I concentrated on the categorization of craft in contemporary art collections.

I'm now Community and Education Programme Manager at the British Ceramics Biennial .

Making in the Midlands

Working back in Stoke-on-Trent at the British Ceramics Biennial, after 6 years in Manchester, is important. I feel connected to this place and very concerned about the people the festival engages with.

Categorisation is still a concern of mine in my professional career. My thoughts about the categorisation of craft and the practices of craftspeople, compared to fine artists, plays a part in how I approach learning at the British Ceramics Biennial.

What has changed most about the crafts in the last thirty years

Hopefully, the engagement with process and material is increasing. The appreciation of the thought and time it takes to make work has a bigger presence. Hopefully, the maker is becoming more of a focus of attention and therefore craft is being better appreciated.