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British Ceramics Biennial returns to Stoke-on-Trent

  • Date: 27 July 2011
  • Area: Midlands
A teacup

The New English, Award Exhibition, British Ceramics Biennial 2009 . Credit: Joel Chester Fildes

The international British Ceramics Biennial returns to Stoke-on-Trent running from 30 September to 13 November 2011.

It builds on the success of the inaugural festival in 2009 and will present the best in contemporary ceramics.

Six weeks of celebrations will include exhibitions, site-specific installations, artist residencies and creative responses to the region's industrial and architectural heritage.

The historic site of the former Spode Pottery factory will form the creative hub of this year's festival, with exhibitions, events and installations. Other events and exhibitions will take place at venues in the city centre, with a special programme of talks, seminars, films, and workshops.

Co-Directors of the Biennial Barney Hare Duke and Jeremy Theophilus comment: "We are delighted to be given the opportunity to present the second Biennial for Stoke-on-Trent, which we are confident will continue to fascinate and excite new audiences for ceramics as well as revealing the potential of the city itself as a centre for innovation and an international profile as a world ceramic city."

Jackie Lee, Relationship Manager (Visual Arts) with Arts Council England in the West Midlands, comments: "We are delighted to be supporting the Biennial again through a National Lottery grant.  This is an important and strategic event for Stoke attracting large numbers of visitors and celebrating the great history which the city has as a centre for ceramics."

At the heart of the British Ceramics Biennial is Award at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.  It is a major exhibition of work by artists, potters and designers working at the creative leading edge of contemporary ceramics practice in the UK. From the 28 finalists exhibited, one winner will be awarded a £10,000 prize at an event to celebrate the Biennial on 21 October.

On the former Spode factory site Fresh will showcase the work of 40 recent UK graduates, together with a spotlight on six ground-breaking post-graduate research programmes, representing the vitality of current emerging ceramic artists in an exhibition that makes use of the redundant furniture and equipment from the factory buildings as an integral part of the display.

One of the largest shop floors on the former Spode site will be the home of A Great Wall. This large-scale installation will feature a mass of selected products pieces from across products from the breadth of the UK ceramic industry from tableware to technical ceramics, highlighting its diversity, innovation and creativity.

A new body of work by acclaimed Stoke-on-Trent-based ceramic artist Phil Eglin, Mould Store will see the artist reuse and reclaim the discarded ceramic moulds from the nine remaining stores at Spode. Eglin joins five other artists who will create specific responses to the factory buildings to allow visitors to explore the ten-acre site.

The work of ten international artists produced during residencies at the European Ceramics Work Centre, will be brought to Stoke-on-Trent for Sunday Morning @EKWC. The exhibition looks at the results of artistic experimentation and potential benefit to Stoke of a similar centre of excellence.

An associated programme Open will see the area's museums, galleries and ceramic industries complement the Biennial with their own ceramics-inspired programme across three weekends during the festival.

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