Missions, Commitments, Acknowledgements
Shared Missions and Commitments
The Ceramic Arts Studies Program and the Center for Contemporary Ceramics share space within the Ceramics Area at CSULB and share distinct but intertwined missions and commitments.
Our first, most essential, most powerful shared mission is focused upon, and driven by, our students, who provide the reason, the energy, the inspiration, the beautiful diversity of backgrounds and voices, the ever-flowing stream of creative wonder, and the irresistible force of aspiration and generosity that perpetuate our learning and making community, reward those who are part of it, and draw people from afar to share in it.
The Ceramic Arts Studies Program, an instructional component within the School of Art, is dedicated to the mission of fostering advanced production and dialogue, an expansive understanding of ceramic arts and contemporary art, and an inclusive, equitable, accessible, diversity-embracing community of learning, teaching, making, and exchanging ideas. We are committed to assisting, challenging, and propelling students toward fully realizing their individual voices and visions via working in clay as well as other media, and toward achieving full agency in critical/analytical discourse. The program is intent and equipped to get students making, thinking, discussing, and writing in ways that are: more ambitious, more intentional, and more informed; more specific in both conceptualization and crafting; more considered with regard to matters of form, material, genre, style, presentation, and contextual engagement; and more conscious and deliberate regarding the artists’ participation, propositions, and positions within the fields and discourses of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary art in general. The program strives to serve the needs of all of its student participants, including a highly diverse population of undergraduate BFA Ceramics majors, Studio Art majors, and Ceramics Minors; graduate MFA students; and students from across our campus and community taking ceramics courses. Our first and guiding commitment is to our students.
The CCC, designated as a CSULB Academic Center or Institute (“ACI”), is committed to the mission of fostering exchange, inquiry, creative production, and learning beyond the curriculum among CSULB Ceramic Arts faculty and a highly diverse group of students, visiting artists and scholars, and Guest Artists who work on-site as volunteer participants in our learning/making community, with a goal of inspiring and empowering all participants to expand the limits of their own practice and work to the benefit of both the participants in our community and the broader community and field of contemporary ceramics.
All those who work in the Ceramics Area—students, staff, faculty, and volunteer participants—are expected to operate in accordance with and in support of these intertwined missions and commitments.
Anti-racism, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access
In our CSULB Ceramics Area learning and making community, we uphold principles of anti-racism, equity, diversity, inclusion, and access as mission-critical and mission-integral. We are committed to fostering a community that values difference and diversity, rejects inequity, works to advance social justice, removes and prevents barriers to access, and amplifies the positive voices of all participants. We regard these principles and commitments as matters of opportunity, aspiration, integrity, and responsibility.
Clay and ceramics, variously employed in the service of the functional, practical, ritual, sensual, intellectual, personal, and cultural have been integral to essential aspects of living in nearly all societies and cultures since human prehistory, and have been integral as well to the expressions of, and exchanges between, diverse individuals and groups. This connection to diversity is a legacy to be valued, explored, enjoyed, celebrated, and sustained.
The CSULB Ceramic Arts Studies Program and Center for Contemporary Ceramics, like our university, serve a highly diverse community of students, staff, faculty, and guests at a campus situated on land sacred to the Gabrieleño/Tongva and Acjachamen/Juaneño Nations. The campus is situated on the boundary of two counties; down the road from the two largest ports in the US; in a city of broad racial, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic diversity; amidst a large LGBTQ community; in a region among the most diverse and immigrant-dense in the US; and within the one of the largest cultural production centers and largest regional economies in the world. Our campus is located next door to a Veterans Affairs Medical Center and serves veteran and reservist students. We work with many community college transfer students, first-generation college students, and financially challenged students.
The CSULB Ceramic Arts Studies Program and Center for Contemporary Ceramics define, interpret, and embrace diversity broadly, including but not limited to diversities of race and ethnicity, gender identities and expressions, sexualities and sexual orientations, bodies and appearances, socio-economic backgrounds and circumstances, religious and spiritual beliefs, philosophies and belief systems, politics and affiliations, nationalities and immigration statuses, life experiences and educations, lifestyles, and life circumstances, family structures and family educational histories, cultural heritages, languages, ages, abilities, and statuses of civilian, veteran, and/or active-duty, as well as other matters of origin, identity, expression, affiliation, orientation, and status.
As a creative community of learning, teaching, making, and exchanging ideas, we embrace additional diversities of talents and skills, prior training and exposure, inspirations and influences, aspirations and trajectories, areas of scholarly inquiry, aesthetic sensibilities, creative endeavors and agendas, ways of experiencing and interacting with the world around us, ways of learning and thinking, ways of making and expressing, and both individual and shared voices and visions.
We strive to practice and promote anti-racism, equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. We draw upon the diversities of our university and the fields of ceramics and art as sources of strength, wealth, depth, and breadth. We recognize that respect, openness, and inclusiveness are essential to creating a productive and constructive place for our students, staff, faculty, and guests to teach, learn, study, create, and expand their practices and their fields.
Territorial Acknowledgement - Knowing Where We Stand
As we gather to work, learn, create, and share, we recognize and acknowledge that California State University Long Beach is located in a place, where the land meets the sea, which is part of the traditional homelands of the Gabrieleño/Tongva (pronounced: GABRIEL-EN-YO/TONG – VAH) people, the Toongvetam (Pronounced: TOONG – VEH-TAM), and is integral to the origins of cultural knowledge and sacred teachings of the Acjachamen/Juaneño (pronounced: AH-HACH-AH-MEN/JUAN-EN-YO) and many other Southern California Indian people.
We acknowledge the Gabrieleño/Tongva and Acjachamen/Juaneño who have lived and continue to live here as the first stewards and traditional caretakers of this region, including the Los Angeles basin and Southern Channel Islands, along with the Chumash (pronounced: CHOO-MOSH) to the north and west, and the Tataviam (pronounced: TAH-TAH-VEE-YUM) and Cahuilla (pronounced: KAH-WEE-YAH) Nations to the east. We thank them for their strength, perseverance, and resistance, and we respect and value the many ways the Tongva/Acjachemen (pronounced: TONG-VAH/AH-HACH-AH-MEN) cultural heritage and beliefs continue to have significance to the living people and remind us about the sacred and spiritual relationship that has always existed here.
We support the ongoing care for and protection of the remaining undeveloped land base known as Puvungna (pronounced: POOH- VOONG-NAH), “the gathering place,” and recognize it as an active Tongva/Acjachemen ceremonial site, a sacred space, a reburial site, birthplace of spiritual philosophy, and place of emergence in origin narratives.
We support the CSULB Land and Territorial Acknowledgement document developed by the CSULB American Indian Studies Faculty in 2020, and we acknowledge that the Tongva/Gabrieleño/Acjachemen people are the First Peoples of the region and that their lands are unceded, having never been ceded by treaty with Spain, Mexico or the US.
We celebrate the first stewards of this land who established a special legacy connected to ceramics. Analysis of material including 642 sherds from the CA-LAN-2630 archaeological site, encountered during the construction of a parking structure in 1994, indicates the presence between AD 1200 and 1700 of a Gabrieleño pottery production site on the banks of a naturally incised water channel (now familiar to those in the area as an engineered, concrete-lined drainage ditch known as Bouton Creek) that cuts through the center of the land now occupied by CSULB. This and other archaeological sites in the region have established that the Los Angeles County area, once thought devoid of precolonial ceramic creation, in fact, extends the narrative of coastal Southern California Indian ceramics. Centuries before the arrival of the CSULB campus—and with it the Ceramics Area, Ceramic Arts Studies Program, and Center for Contemporary Ceramics—the people of this land had grasped the potential of the clay within their reach. They were the first researchers, teachers, students, designers, and makers of ceramics on this land.
- Faculty, American Indian Studies, “CSULB Land and Territorial Acknowledgement,” CSULB (Summer 2020) - click here to access for PDF source.
- Matthew A. Boxt and Brian Dervin Dillon, “Prehistoric Pottery of Coastal Los Angeles,” Pacific Coast Archaeological Society Quarterly Volume 47, Numbers 3 and 4 (2011, printed 2013): 45-87 - click here to access for PDF source.