Catherine Roche


Catherine Roche has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Reading University and an MA in Art History (distinction) from Aberystwyth University. She has worked as an artist and lecturer in Fine Art for over twenty years, and more recently as a freelance writer with a particular interest in contemporary ceramic practice. Catherine contributes essays, reviews and interviews to various publications including Ceramic Review, Ceramics: Art and Perception, CCQ Magazine, New Ceramics, Sync Tank and a-n news, as well as writing exhibition catalogue texts, chairing artist discussion panels and participating in gallery ‘in conversation’ events with ceramic practitioners. She has also developed various curatorial projects. Catherine was course director of the BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting programme at Carmarthen School of Art 1999-2011, then worked as a part time lecturer delivering both practice and theory across a range of BA (Hons) art and design programmes before embarking on a full time PhD at Westminster University in 2016.


During her MA in Art History, Catherine focused on contemporary ceramic practice and object-oriented theory, developing a strong interest in philosophical approaches to art criticism, in particular the field of phenomenology. Her MA thesis took the form of an in-depth case study of To This I Put My Name, a body of work by figurative ceramicist Claire Curneen that was inspired by decorative museum artefacts. Addressing museum display, subject-object dynamics, materiality and sensory perception, Catherine undertook a detailed examination of the reciprocal relationships occurring between bodies, objects and artworks found in Curneen's work: this led to her to her current PhD research.  

Catherine’s doctoral research project examines the relationship between contemporary sculptural ceramic practice and embodied perception, with particular emphasis placed on the context of audience experience. The qualities of clay and ceramic materiality, with their deep-seated phenomenological and anthropological relationship to human experience, are key to Catherine’s enquiry; notions of skill, making, craft and tacit knowledge are also significant research threads. These themes are supported by an investigation into phenomenology, spatial theory and sensory perception, in particular the reciprocal relationship between vision and touch and its relevance to the viewing of artworks. Case studies of selected contemporary ceramic artists are integral to her research. Each artist’s work is analysed within a focused theoretical framework in order to establish a connection between clay sculpture and embodied perception. The research will also include a curated exhibition, enabling theoretical ideas to be practically tested.

Published Writing

  • 2017 ‘Purposeful Uncertainty’, Ceramic Review, July/August 2017, p.18-22.
  • 2016 ‘Unstill Paint: Materiality and Still Life’. Exhibition catalogue essay in Woodley, F. (ed). Still Life Models and Materialities: Confabulation and the Contemporary Still Life. Aberystwyth University School of Art Publication. pp.40-47.
  • 2016 ‘Anna Noël: In the Telling of Tales’. Exhibition catalogue essay in Anna Noël: The Language of Clay pp.10-15, ISBN 978-1905865-77-2
  • 2015 ‘Fragile?’ CCQ Magazine, Issue 7, pp. 70-77.
  • 2016 ‘Visual Poetry’, CCQ Magazine, Issue 9, 2016, .72-75.
  • 2014 ‘An In-Between Space’, CCQ Magazine, Issue 3, pp. 46-53.
  • 2014 ‘Shifting States: Liminal Narratives in the Work of Claire Curneen’, New Ceramics: Issue 5, pp.22-25.
  • 2014 ‘Existence Doubtful’, catalogue essay for the exhibition Tjibbe Hooghiemstra: Sandy Island, Oriel Q, Narberth.
  • 2013 ‘Ingrid Murphy: Augmented Reality and the Sensory Resonance of Ceramic Objects’, Ceramics: Art & Perception: issue 94, pp.80-83.
  • 2013 ‘International Ceramics Festival: There is a Revolution Happening’, a-n News:
  • 2013 ‘Artists’ Self-publishing: Where the Digital and Handmade Coexist’, a-n News:
  • 2013 ‘Watershed Craft + Technology Residencies: from ideas to tangible prototypes’,a-n News:
  • 2013 ‘When I Woke’, exhibition review, Ceramic Review, Jan/Feb 2013, p.26

Conference Papers / Seminars / Presentations

  • 2017 ‘Crafted identities: embracing shared perspectives through phenomenological interpretation of ceramic practice.’ European Sociological Association Conference, Athens
  • 2017 'In Conversation: Anne Gibbs and Catherine Roche', Mission Gallery, Swansea.
  • 2015 ‘Fragile Relationships: Objects, Bodies, Spaces’, Fragile? Conference, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.
  • 2014 ‘The Observing Subject: museum narratives of the in-between’, Ceramics in the Expanded Field Conference, University of Westminster, London.
  • 2014 'In Conversation: Claire Curneen and Catherine Roche', Ruthin Craft Centre, Ruthin
  • 2014 Chair of ‘The Ceramics Seminar’, Mission Gallery, Swansea
  • 2010 ‘Gathering Narratives’, National Centre for Ceramic Studies Wales Study Day, Aberystwyth Arts Centre.