LECTURES: Keynote Lectures

Photo: Vansh Sharma


Keynote Lectures


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Alberto Cavalli

Lecture Title: “The Necessity of Beauty”

“I am convinced that it is an urgent task for us to focus our attention on these two mysteries of the living universe: on the one hand evil, on the other beauty “. Thus writes philosopher François Cheng: beauty on the one hand, evil on the other. Examining the “necessity” of beauty means asking ourselves what role we assign to it, in our lives: do we still know not only how to “see it”, but also understand it, remember it, transmit it? Can art, music, the pursuit of wonder through craft still be a vehicle for putting beauty back at the centre of our world?

Alberto Cavalli biography


Vincent Defourny

Lecture Title: “Is it possible to shape a common future?”

UNESCO, of which the IAC has been a partner for 50 years, has contributed to the structuring of international civil society by helping to create umbrella NGOs, thus enabling educators, artists and activists of various causes to make their voices heard in international forums. These relationships between NGOs and the various UN bodies are sources of potential lessons, current challenges and future opportunities. The great ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals is built around strong global cooperation and partnerships. The question arises: what conditions need to be in place to shape sustainable development? What principles and values should be placed at the centre to make it a local, national, regional and global reality?

Vincent Defourny biography



Mareile Flitsch & Anette Mertens

Lecture Title: “Celadon in Focus. A Skill-Perspective on the Longquan Masters in The People’s Republic of China”

Ever since at least the 9th century, the Chinese province of Zhejiang has been known for its fine celadon porcelain, with its wonderful “qing” shimmering surfaces, magnificent shades of green. Following the golden age of Chinese celadon, this craftsmanship then declined for several centuries. The 1990s brought a new era for porcelain artisans, who reoriented their work and became recognized as Living State treasures and masters due to their unparalleled celadon glazes. In their lecture Dr Mareile Flitsch and Anette Mertens will present their findings about the evolution of the craft in its transition from dragon kiln wood firing to liquid gas firing, comparing it to a set of celadon masterpieces from the masters of Longquan in Zhejiang province.

Mareile Flitsch & Anette Mertens biography

Matteo Gianni

Lecture Title: “The Melting Pot: a Useful Allegory for Thinking about Contemporary Societies?”

The notion of melting pot was widely used in the 20th century to describe how societies marked by immigration could become homogeneous, in particular by merging their individual subjectivities to produce a common, shared culture and values. From the melting pot we have moved to a vision of a society of diversity and multiculturalism, characterised by the preservation of the authenticity of cultures and the rights of individuals to their particular identities. Can we have a society without a minimum fusion of our freedoms and identities in the name of a collective project? If it is the pot that fuses, how can we think of societies that respect the subjectivities of all, outside the hegemonic law of the most powerful?

Matteo Gianni biography


Jean Girel

Lecture Title: “My Melting Pot”

Jean Girel did not learn ceramics at school. He considers it a blessing to have been self-taught in glazing, fusion and firing. By gleaning ideas here and there in fields foreign to ceramics (the states of sugar, the cooling of magmas, the behaviour of water drops on a lotus leaf), he quickly understood that the tools he needed were scattered – often concealed – throughout the universe, but that it was enough for him, after having unearthed them, to melt them together to achieve his ends, and that fusion becomes effusion.

Jean Girel biography


Anne Dressen

Lecture Title: “Transversality, ecology and “sloppiness”: a look back at the exhibition Les Flammes (MAM Paris, 2021)”

In this talk, Anne Dressen proposes to look back at the concrete experience of a transhistorical exhibition where inclusiveness and transversality were central. What were the principles of its development, the questions raised during its implementation, and the lessons learned since its opening to the public and its reception by critics? In view of the breadth of the spectrum selected, it raises the question of whether the very idea of fusion was possible or even desirable; or whether confrontation and dialogue between different milieus is not rather an ideal to be pursued: a risk to be taken, against the advocates of good taste and the detractors of the “sloppy”? The aim will be to examine certain museographic approaches and specific projects that seek to think differently about the ceramic medium, but also, and above all, to question the limits of commonly accepted boundaries, without annihilating them.

Anne Dressen biography


Stéphanie Le Follic-Hadida

Lecture Title: “The International Academy of Ceramics, its Creation and History”

This year, the International Academy of Ceramics is celebrating its 50th Congress and its 70 years of existence. Dr Stéphanie Le Follic-Hadida invites you, its faithful members, to reconnect with this history which is yours, to discover certain aspects of its construction and the ideals which underlie it, in order to prepare together to better define the future we wish for our IAC.

Stéphanie Le Follic-Hadida biography


Ludovic Recchia

Lecture Title: “Appropriation and Alter Modernity”

Like borrowing, referencing and quoting, appropriation is a mechanism of postmodern art. At the dawn of the 21st century, the practice of ceramics takes place in a hyper-connected globalized cultural space where time and history seem to have frozen, where the modern and postmodern legacies of artistic practice feed off and complexify each other. Is ceramics today not in a state of alter modernity? Ludovic Recchia explores the question of the new place of ceramics in a contemporary art market that is opportunistic and unconcerned with ethical values.

Ludovic Recchia biography


Youri Volokhine

Lecture Title: “The Potter God and Creator in Pharaonic Egypt”

The creation of the world is the subject of different discourses in Pharaonic Egypt and it mobilises various images. One of these images is the potter’s wheel. In his presentation, Dr Yuri Volokhin explores and addresses the implications of this system of representation.

Youri Volokhine biography


Pierre Willequet

Lecture Title: “Chaos as Method: or Some Conditions for the Emergence of the Creative Act

When it comes to the mixing of genres, wherever we are, the possibility of a contradiction between chaos on the one hand and the potentiality of a totality on the other immediately arises. The dialectic between chaos and totality is particularly interesting from a psychic point of view and in relation to creativity. It is on this relationship, often painful, that Dr Pierre Willequet, during this presentation, will consider, trying to articulate certain aspects but also, its effects on the individual soul of the creator.

Pierre Willequet biography



The 50th IAC Congress will feature over 10 invited speakers, 8 member lectures, and more than 20 Breakout Sessions.

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LECTURES: IAC Member Lectures

Eight IAC members are part of the Congress conference programme.

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Lectures: Breakout sessions

The Congress includes 22 Breakout sessions by IAC members.

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The Geneva 2022 Congress will address notions related to the "melting pot".

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The 2022 Congress features various exhibitions alongside the conferences in partnership with local and national institutions.

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