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Trends and Traditions: Canadian Society of Decorative Arts 37th Annual Symposium

September 26, 2019 - September 29, 2019


Trends and Traditions: Kingston Celebrates the Decorative Arts
The Limestone City to Host Four-Day Symposium Sept. 26-29

Dear Museum and Arts Professional

Museum and arts professionals and lovers of the decorative arts like you will gather at Kingston’s Agnes Etherington Art Centre and other venues for the 37th Annual Canadian Society of Decorative Arts (CSDA) Symposium this September 26-29. Delegates will hear lectures by top museum curators, scholars, collectors and artists to deepen their knowledge across a diverse range of decorative arts study and practice. Activities will also include behind-the-scenes museum and studio tours, guided historic walks and visits to private collections.

Indeed, the critical mass of scholars and experts featured in the four-day program make this a rewarding professional development and social networking opportunity for those actively engaged in the field.

“We are delighted to hold our symposium in Kingston this year,” says CSDA Board Chair and Kingston native, Henry Wiercinski. “Our mandate is to promote an awareness and appreciation of the decorative arts in Canada and provide an educational forum through our programming and publication, Ornamentum,” he adds. “The Limestone City has a rich and impressive historical trove. Equally, the region is a vibrant cultural hub of contemporary ‘makers’ working in a variety of disciplines. That duality is reflected in this year’s theme, Trends and Traditions, which will appeal to professional and general audiences alike.”

Trends and Traditions will kick off with the inaugural Marian Bradshaw Memorial Lecture, named after the formidable CSDA founder who passed away in 2018. The highly topical lecture, titled Weaving Stories Together: Curating Indigenous-Settler Interaction will be delivered by Canadian Museum of History Curator Tim Foran.
Tim will explore contemporary collaborations between Indigenous communities, museums and historic sites. The sensitive subject of repatriation of artefacts and ceremonial objects to their Indigenous communities of origin in the spirit of Reconciliation, will also be touched upon.

Other lectures will focus on historic subjects delivered by leading local scholars and collectors: Fine architectural interior woodwork of the Kingston area (Jennifer McKendry); 18th-century Ontario utilitarian pottery (Moe Johnson); and early-Ontario hand loom weaving (Dennis Mills). Each talk will impart a valuable understanding of the aesthetic merits of the respective craft and its social significance.

Contemporary decorative arts will be represented in talks by leading practitioners Brad Copping (glass), Marney McDiarmid (ceramics) and Vincent Perez (letterpress printer) who is a leading advocate for the multi-disciplinary coalition, Kingston Makers.
The symposium will also take on an international dimension with visiting ceramics scholars and researchers Ross and Gael Ramsay from New Zealand, who will challenge some conventional thinking on Meissen ceramics and the earliest appearance of porcelain in Europe. Sparks may fly!

For the full speaker and activity lineup, please visit

All are invited. Trends and Traditions is drawing interest and attendance from museum professionals as well as current and new CSDA members from BC to Newfoundland.
The CSDA is also inviting members of the general public to attend by purchasing affordable tickets through Eventbrite to the Moe Johnson and Dennis Mills lectures on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Memorial Hall in historic Kingston City Hall.

A generous discounted rate is being offered to a limited number of students and emerging museum arts professionals. Please see details at the CSDA website.
Altogether, Trends and Traditions will be an intellectually stimulating and socially enjoyable event for museum professionals and anyone with a love and appreciation of the decorative arts. We hope you will join us in Kingston.

The Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs was founded in 1981 by the late Marian Bradshaw with the generous support of friends and philanthropists like the late Liliane and David Stewart (Macdonald-Stewart Foundation) who were instrumental in establishing the extraordinary Decorative Arts and Design Collection at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts, and other cultural institutions. Two years later, Marian launched Ornamentum magazine, which has been published twice yearly since then.

This year is the Canadian Society of Decorative Arts 37th Annual Symposium and General Meeting. Each year it has taken place in a different Canadian city to showcase decorative arts in those places.

“The decorative arts are not only pleasing to look at, but tell us much about the people who made, owned and used them, helping us to understand the development of style and taste, and provide important insights into social and economic history,” says CSDA member and ceramic artist Alexandra McCurdy. “Quality in the decorative arts offers a fluid grace to our lives, in the ease with which good design can be used and in the joy of its contemplation,” adds CSDA member Paul Russell.



Nestor Golets
Symposium Program Director
Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs
[email protected]

Gilles Latour
Treasurer & Chair Membership Committee
Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs
[email protected]

Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs
P.O. Box 235, Station Q, Toronto, ON M4T 2M1


September 26, 2019
September 29, 2019


Agnes Etherington Art Centre
36 University Avenue
Kingston, Ontario K7L 2Z3 Canada
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