Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationDelaware, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9247
Approve DateApril 8, 2016
Project TitleReedy, Dr. Chandra L., U. of Delaware, Newark, DE - To aid research on 'Factors Supporting Experimentation at Highly Innovative Ethnographic Pottery Production Sites'
CHANDRA L. REEDY, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, received a grant in April 2016 to aid research on ‘Factors Supporting Experimentation at Highly Innovative Ethnographic Pottery Production Sites.’ In Sichuan Province, China, potters use a unique material (a coal-clay composite) and fire with a kiln design not seen anywhere else in the world. This study examined 16 workshops to investigate how and why positive acceptance of experimentation and innovation becomes established strategy for a community of practice. Understanding how this happens is a key to understanding long-term technological change. Three social networks are involved: resource procurement, production, and consumption. An expectation was that positive acceptance of experimentation and innovation occurs when these three networks engage in problem-solving interactions. In a town that promotes and supports coal-clay pottery production as an intangible cultural heritage resource, 15 workshops fall into five types based on product specializations and market niches. Interactions between producers and consumers result in many workshops being able to thrive as each focuses on differing product variations and markets. An isolated workshop located away from the area of heritage support has also been able to survive through a special product line and consumer niche. Laboratory analysis of raw materials available in each resource network and of the finished ceramic products has clarified the functional characteristics of the pottery of each workshop, highlighting qualities that consumers likely appreciate.