The Turner Prize-winning artist visited Lancaster University to speak at an exclusive event entitled ‘Making Meaning in the Arts’, marking the launch of Insight, LICA’s new creative research centre.
In a discussion with Charlie Gere, Professor of Media Theory and History at the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA), Grayson Perry covered issues including the role of art in society, the future of the arts in the 21st century and what makes ‘good’ art.
The lecture hall was packed with students, staff and guests, who were invited to ask questions of the artist as part of the discussion.
Grayson Perry is known for his ceramic works, tapestry, print-making and his alter ego, Claire. He won the Turner Prize in 2003 for his ceramics: classically shaped vases adorned with colourful figures and patterns, which at first disguise the message they depict.
Speaking about his aims as an artist and how we judge quality he said: “If you’re an artist who’s really working for yourself, in a way you are the ultimate judge of whether it’s good or bad. It’s ‘good’ if you can convince enough people it’s good – and the right people.
“I’m in a lovely position where I can try to do something intelligent, while at the same time use my position as a popular artist to talk about what I think are the right things to do and the way to behave.
“The biggest influence on my work over the last 17 years has been psychotherapy – I would say that an increasing understanding of what it means to be human and the way our emotions operate has informed my work more than anything else.”
Danielle Ash, a final-year student studying Fine Art, said: “Volunteering at the Grayson Perry event gave me an insight into what it is truly like to be a practising artist in the ‘real world’. I feel this opportunity has prepared me for the future as I hope to work as a curator with other influential artists.”
Professor Charlie Gere said: “It was a great pleasure to talk to Grayson Perry on stage for the launch of Insight. Given Insight’s focus is on ‘making meaning in the arts’ it seemed very appropriate to be discussing some of the questions our research addresses, and Grayson was incredibly insightful about art and art education.”
As a research centre, Insight’s disciplinary bases are Fine Art, Theatre, Film, Dance and Sound, and the research engages with arts audiences of all kinds through practice-based and theoretical work. Insight’s strong programme of forthcoming events including performances, exhibitions, screenings and discussions will provide a platform for these areas of research to be further developed. Centre members take critical and cross-disciplinary approaches to creative research questions, exploring the ways in which the arts take on significance and value in society.