New artwork for Keele School of Medicine

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Posted on 04 April 2013

A new, specially commissioned piece of artwork by local professional artist, Philip Hardaker, is to be unveiled in the atrium at the School of Medicine, Keele University, on Monday 15 April at 6pm.

With the title "What Medicine Means To Me" for inspiration, medical students and staff from Keele University, UHNS, Mid Staffordshire and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals were invited to design and decorate a ceramic tile which would be included in the finished piece of artwork.

Everyone who took part in the project was handed a blank piece of clay and encouraged by Mr Hardaker to press out their own design.  Once fired the would-be-ceramicists returned to paint their creation, before each tile was glazed, fired again and incorporated into a collage, which is as unique and individual as everyone who enters the School of Medicine.

The artist, not only used all the tiles created but was also able to incorporate a selection of Minton wall tiles into his design which were salvaged from the walls of the former North Staffs Royal Infirmary.

He has also incorporated a variety of original medical instruments and artefacts from the hospital, helping to preserve the local heritage and displaying it in a place where we hold such hope for our future.

Funded by donations from local families and the School of Medicine, this artwork not only gives an insight into what medicine means to Keele staff and students, it also provides an important record of our local and social history.

Head of School, Professor Val Wass, said: “I am extremely grateful to Dr Carol Gray for co-ordinating this project and to Philip Hardaker whose talents have helped inspire us all;  he has created a humorous and thought provoking piece of work we should all be proud of.”


More about the artist:

Philip Hardaker was born in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. He attended Harrogate College of Art, then went on to North Staffordshire Polytechnic to gain a first class honours degree in Fine Art Sculpture.  He moved to London and attended the Royal College of Art, gaining an M.A. in Fine Art Ceramics.  Since 1985 he has lived in a seventeenth century packhorse inn on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent, working as a sculptor mainly in the public sector and undertaking many educational projects and private commissions.

Mr Hardaker is an accumulator, a shifter of detritus collecting the flotsam and jetsom of our wasteful consumer society and transforming these materials into art.  For thirty years he has been digging up ancient and modern ceramic shards from Staffordshire and around the world.  He employs these fragments of past ages along with his own modelled and cast ceramic elements to create ceramic collages of considerable intricacy and beauty.  Mr Hardaker's work has political and ecological objectives and concerns in communicating comment on historical events.  The work is also intrinsically linked with being English and celebrating the past production of Staffordshire ceramics and creativity.