Talks & Events

Yugen, a new ballet by Wayne McGregor

Royal Opera House, London
15 March–9 April 2018

Ed W And Wayne Mc Gregor Roh Photo By Tom Jamieson

For the Royal Ballet's 2017/18 Season, de Waal designed the set for a new piece by their resident choreographer, Wayne McGregor. Set to Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms (1965), Yugen was commissioned to celebrate the centenary of Bernstein's birth. For these 'heart breaking songs of exile', the artist created 'places of refuge and pause', and costumes in a spectrum of reds with designer, Shirin Guild. Click below to read de Waal's text on the collaboration for The Daily Telegraph and here to watch a video of McGregor rehearsing with The Royal Ballet dancers.


Wellcome Book Prize

Winner announced

Wellcome Book Prize 2018 Judging Panel L R Hannah Critchlow Sumit Paul Choudhury Edmund De Waal Chair Sophie Ratcliffe Bryony Gordon High Res

Irish author Mark O’Connell been awarded the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize for his extraordinary debut To Be a Machine: Adventures among cyborgs, utopians, hackers and the futurists solving the modest problem of death. The prize judging panel of five people was this year chaired by Edmund de Waal, and includes neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow, journalists Bryony Gordon and Sumit Paul-Choudhury, and writer Sophie Ratcliffe. De Waal described the book as "a passionate, entertaining and cogent examination of those who would choose to live forever".


Martin Roth Lecture

Albertinum, Dresden
16 January 2018


In honour of the late Martin Roth, de Waal was invited to give the inaugural lecture set up in his friend's memory. De Waal's talk, I walk the line: Art on the border, was delivered in January at the Albertinum in Dresden. Click below to listen to a recording of the lecture.

Past News

Hay Literary Festival

The Wellcome Book Prize Lecture
4.00pm, Wednesday 30 May 2018

This year's chair of the Wellcome Book Prize judging panel, de Waal gave their annual lecture at the Hay Literary Festival, speaking about mortality and how it is reflected across different genres and art-forms. Titled Memory and Memorial: Writing About the End of Life, de Waal discussed the poetry of Anne Carson and Max Porter, the memoirs of Paul Kalanithi and Marion Coutts, and the writings of Atul Gawande and Julia Samuel. He also spoke about his own works and collaborations exploring themes and ideas of memorial.  

Frick Diptychs

The Frick Collection

New publication

Edmund de Waal, James Ivory and Hilary Mantel are among the first participants in Frick Diptychs, a new series of small books to be published by the museum that pair masterworks from the Frick Collection with critical and literary essays. De Waal's essay will be on the subject of a pair of porcelain and bronze candlesticks by the 18th-century French metalworker Pierre Gouthière.

Art and Exile

Leo Baeck Institute, Queen Mary University

23 March 2017, 6.30pm

In his first talk for the Leo Baeck Institute, entitled 'On the eve of departure: Art and Exile', Edmund de Waal will talk about the telling of family stories through words and sculpture, touching on his writing of The Hare with Amber Eyes and works by Paul Celan and Walter Benjamin. 


Bright Earth, Fired Earth: Travels with Porcelain

Yorkshire Museum
5.00pm, 8 May 2017

For this annual lecture for the Centre of Ceramic Art as part of York University and York Art Gallery, Edmund de Waal will explore a history of obsession with porcelain and will discuss his recent projects in Vienna, Stockholm and Los Angeles.

For this annual lecture for the Centre of Ceramic Art as part of York University and York Art Gallery, Edmund de Waal will explore a history of obsession with porcelain and will discuss his recent projects in Vienna, Stockholm and Los Angeles.

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Metamorphosen: Edmund de Waal and Aurora Orchestra

Royal Festival Hall, London

4.00pm, 4 February 2017

Following on from a major collaboration in 2015, Edmund de Waal joins forces with Aurora Orchestra again, this time to explore the backdrop to Richard Strauss' work Metamorphosen. De Waal will take the audience on a tour around the ruins of German cities at the end of World War II before a live performance with guest conductor Andrew Marwood. 

During the Night: Open all night

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 

From 3.00pm, 26 November 2016

To celebrate the opening of Edmund de Waal's exhibition, During the Night, the Kunsthistorisches Museum will be opening their doors for an all night programme of tours, talks, live music and readings. Join de Waal at 2.00am in the galleries to hear some of the stories and secrets behind particular objects in the exhibition. 

Pilkington Lecture

Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

6.30pm, 10 November 2016

Edmund de Waal has been invited to give the annual Pilkington Lecture for the Friends of Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. His talk, entitled Give it shadow enough: Art and memory, will explore the intersections between the visual arts, poetry and memory making and draw on his own practice as a maker and that of other 20th century artists. The talk will be followed by supper in the galleries. 

Life through Art: Edmund de Waal and AS Byatt in conversation

Paradiso, Amsterdam

11.00am, 13 November 2016

Edmund de Waal joins this year's Erasmus Prize winner, AS Byatt, to talk about her life and writing. 

Memory Work: Art, Restitution and Storytelling

Israel Museum, Jerusalem

6.30pm, 15 November 2016

This November Edmund de Waal has been invited to give the keynote lecture for the Israel Museum's annual International Symposium on Collecting and Provenance. He will talk about the writing of The Hare with Amber Eyes, restitution and the history of lost collections. 

Chatsworth Festival

4.30pm, 24 September 2016

Edmund de Waal will be talking at The Chatsworth Festival, Art Out Loud, a festival of talks by artists, curators and writers.

Kelmscott Lecture for the William Morris Society

7.00pm, 13 September 2016

‘I do not want art for a few’: Crafting Democracy

At the heart of the arts and crafts movement is democracy, a crossing of boundaries between work and life. This talk will reflect on how craft is interdisciplinary and how William Morris continues to influence making, writing and talking about craft today.

Literaturhaus, Graz

7.00pm, 19 September 2016

Edmund de Waal will be delivering a lecture at the Literatur Haus, Graz, celebrating the launch of the German edition of The White Road.

In Conversation with Dr. Martin Roth

Akademie der Künste, Berlin
6.00pm, 1 July 2016

Walter Benjamin, Memory and Berlin

Edmund de Waal will be in conversation with Dr. Martin Roth, director of the V&A, at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

Ledbury Poetry Festival

Ledbury Poetry Festival
1.30pm, 8 July 2016

Edmund de Waal will be talking with Mark Fisher at the Ledbury Poetry Festival about his Desert Island Poems: the poems that have mattered to him throughout his life.

JW3 Speakers Series

The Alan Howard Foundation 
7 June 2016

For his lecture On Homelessness Edmund de Waal talked about place and displacement in poetry and the visual arts, from the German emigre poet Paul Celan to his own work as an artist and writer.

Windham Campbell Prize

September 2015

Edmund de Waal has been awarded the prestigious Windham Campbell prize for non-fiction for his memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes.

On White

Musical conversations between Aurora Orchestra and Edmund de Waal

To mark the launch of white at the Royal Academy and the publication of The White Road, Edmund de Waal has collaborated with Aurora Orchestra to create a programme of events across London this Autumn, exploring the colour white through music, poetry and the visual arts.

The British Art Lecture

Tate Britain, London
2 December 2015

Edmund de Waal delivered the 2015 British Art Lecture at Tate Britain, London.


Phaidon monograph book launch

Victoria & Albert Museum, London
20 May 2014

Phaidon has now published a monograph about Edmund de Waal's work and practice. The book is the most comprehensive survey of his career to date and features texts by Emma Crichton-Miller, AS Byatt, Colm Toibin and Peter Carey. To celebrate its publication, de Waal gave a talk at the Victoria and Albert Museum about how and why he started making ceramics, the influences of other makers on his work, and future projects he is working towards. 


Make Pots or Die

BBC Imagine documentary
5 November 2013

Following a year of filming with Alan Yentob, the Imagine documentary on Edmund de Waal's studio life and practice was broadcast on BBC One on 5th November. The film covers a remarkable year; from moving studios, travelling across Europe to research his next book, to sitting at his wheel and making thousands of vessels for his first major exhibition in the USA with Gagosian, New York. 


Edmund de Waal on Tact

The School of Life
14 October 2012

Edmund de Waal delivered a secular sermon on the art of tact, at Conway Hall as part of The School of Life's Sunday Sermons series.