Conference Visits

Thursday, September 5, 10 am start

Please note that the conference visits have limited capacity and will be allocated on first come first served basis. You can sign up for a visit during online registration. Please sign up for only 1 visit as they occur simultaneously.

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

A guided tour led by Sarah Bouttell, Producer (Documentation, Library & Archive) and Associate and supervised by Catherine Glover, Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University.

South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA

Situated on the Gateshead side of the Quayside, development for the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art began in 1991 with the idea of creating a ‘major new capital facilities for the Contemporary Visual Arts’. Construction began in 1998 under the architectural design of Dominic Williams. The BALTIC opened doors in July 2002 and attracted over 35,000 visitors in the first week. This development was part of a larger cultural regeneration plan along the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside; this section of the Tyne is now dominated by not only the BALTIC but the Millennium Bridge and the SAGE music centre. In keeping with other key institutions in the North East, the BALTIC remains a free space to enter and has endeavored to have community outreach and inclusivity at the heart of its ethos.

This visit offers an architectural tour of the BALTIC focusing on the design decisions made in regenerating the building, viewing of selected archival material as well as consideration of the surrounding Quayside from above, allowing for a wider contextualization of this culture-led regeneration project, that was not without controversy, which transformed a former flour mill into a contemporary art gallery. 

Those registered for the Baltic visit are to meet Catherine Glover at the entrance to Baltic at 9.50 am. Sarah Bouttell will greet the group and begin the visit at 10 am.

Newcastle Civic Centre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8QH

A guided tour led by Dr Michael Johnson, Senior Lecturer in Design History at Northumbria University.

Newcastle Civic Centre is an important example of post-war British architecture. Replacing Newcastle’s Victorian Town Hall, the building was designed by City Architect George Kenyon, who was also responsible for the principal buildings of Northumbria University.  Completed in 1968 at a cost of nearly £5 million, the centre is finished to an exceptionally high specification, incorporating expensive materials such as Italian marble, African woods and Norwegian slate.  Its superb 1960s interiors include a space-age Council Chamber and neo-medieval Banqueting Hall.

Despite its lavish execution, the centre was conceived as a democratic building, symbolising the ideals of post-war Britain.  Controversial Council Leader T. Dan Smith installed much contemporary art to form a ‘people’s gallery’.  Notable works include glass murals by Victor Pasmore, an abstract tapestry by John Piper, expressionist metalwork by Charles Sansbury and glass engravings by John Hutton, recalling his work at Coventry Cathedral. 

Departing from modernist universalism, the building adopts a contextual approach in order to express Newcastle’s cultural identity.  Allusions to the city’s Roman and medieval past combine with Scandinavian design elements to define Newcastle as a northern capital.

Those registered for the Civic Centre Tour should meet Dr Michael Johnson in the Civic Centre car park for a 10 am start.

Copyright Liz Rothschild / Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

The Henry Rothschild Collection at the Shipley Art Gallery

Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4JB

A guided tour led by Dr Janine Barker, Co-Convener of DHS2019: The Cost of Design.

Situated in Gateshead, the Shipley Art Gallery is home to an extensive craft and design collection of both local and national significance. This visit provides the opportunity to explore the ceramics collection donated to the Gallery by Henry Rothschild (1913 – 2009). Through his craft shop Primavera, situated in both London and Cambridge, Rothschild sought to raise the status of the crafts in Britain, both as a practice and as a product. He ran Primavera Contracts Ltd, beginning around 1960, which was best known for providing furnishing to the new halls of residences at universities such as York and Newcastle. Alongside the business of Primavera, Rothschild arranged major craft exhibitions at galleries across the UK and Europe and enjoyed long running associations with the major art schools such as the Central School of Art, Goldsmiths College and Camberwell College of Arts. Rothschild was also involved with the Crafts Council, the Design Council (formerly the Council of Industrial Design), and the Rural Industries Bureau and he acted as advisor to a number of Local Education Authorities as part of their initiative to build up public collections in schools.

It was Rothschild’s wish that the majority of his personal collection would be on public display within a singular institution and he felt a strong pull towards the Northern based gallery. The Study Centre, which opened in 2010, contains a range of studio ceramics including examples of work from Bernard Leach, Michael Cardew, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Gordon Baldwin, Gillian Lowndes and Helen Pincombe. Along with the collection Rothschild also deposited a small archive largely comprising of documentation regarding the retail and exhibition of craft at Primavera and other galleries both at home and abroad.