Can Ceramics make a difference? (5-6 October 2017) is the culmination of Ceramics and its Dimensions, an initiative involving 19 European partners. The Congress, led by Ulster University, aims to add to the debate about the value and role of ceramics in society and will present the full range of in-depth findings of the project’s 10 module teams since 2015.

It will examine the relationship between historic centres of manufacture and contemporary centres of learning, production and consumption. Representatives from all of the Ceramics and its Dimensions partners will be present and contribute to Congress proceedings. The Congress will take place on the occasion of the 5th British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent and sessions will be held at both the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and the BCB’s former Spode site. The Congress is free and open to all. We look forward to welcoming you to Stoke on Trent. You can choose to register for the whole Congress or select particular days.

Call for papers

Ulster University module team invited papers and proposals for lecture and event based presentations under the following headings to be delivered during the Congress across a number of venues. It was intended that the Congress presentations should respond to one of the general themes:

Skills: In an age of rapid developments in technologies, what role and significance have skills and tradition?

Value: What do we deem to be important now in Ceramics? What contribution can ceramics really make to the broader society?

Place: As our traditional centres of ceramics across Europe evolve, what significance has place in ceramics today? Can ceramics make a difference to the idea of place?

Format for a reaction to these themes could be a lecture, a performance or an exhibition. The Ceramics and its Dimensions Module 10 Congress is timed to occur during the programmed events of the British Ceramics Biennial in October 2017 to create an invigorating and challenging visual experience for all those involved or curious about ceramics.

The Congress submissions have been reviewed by the following partners:

  • Aalto University, Finland
  • British Ceramics Biennial, UK
  • Porzellanikon – Staatliches Museum für Porzellan, Germany
  • Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, UK
  • Staffordshire University, UK
  • Ulster University, UK


The Congress will be held between 5-6 October 2017 at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and the British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke on Trent, UK.

Directions to each site can be found on the following links:

Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

British Ceramics Biennial


Register for Ceramic Values via Get Invited



Confirmed sessions focus on the following topics: Ceramics and Education; Place, Embodiment and Material Engagement; Analogue and Digital craft; Professionalism: Building a Career in Ceramics; Ceramics, Tradition and Heritage; Ceramics, Wellbeing and Museum Engagement; and Ceramics and Museum Collections. Sessions at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery will be complemented by a parallel programme of gallery talks, exhibits and workshops at the BCB’s Spode site.

Keynote speakers include Claudia Casali, Director of the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, ceramic artists Neil Brownsword and Keith Harrison, Franz Chen, founder and CEO of Franz Porcelain and Jay Thakkar, Head of the Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre (DICRC), CEPT University,  Ahmedabad.

Venue information

Capacity: Lecture Theatre - 300, Learning Suite - 50, Board Room - 40

PMAG – Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

BCB – British Ceramics Biennial Spode Factory site

Thursday 5 October

9am PMAG Congress registration opens at Potteries Museum and Art Gallery
9.30am Lecture Theatre Welcome to Congress
Mr Wilhelm Siemen and representatives from PMAG/BCB/Ulster/Stoke City Council
10am - 12pm Lecture Theatre

Keynote 1 – Can ceramics make a difference? Chair: TBC

Claudia Casali, International Museum of Ceramics, FaenzaWhen ceramics make a difference

Neil Brownsword, Bucks New University and University of BergenNeil Brownsword Factory


Désirée Neeb, Porzellanikon – Staatliches Museum für Porzellan

Prop Ceramics and their Relevance in movies and commercials

This interactive touchscreen will be available throughout the Congress

12pm - 1pm PMAG Lunch
1pm - 3pm Lecture Theatre

Session 1: Ceramics and its Dimensions Module

Round Table Discussion

Chair: Wilhelm Siemen, Porzellanikon - Staatliches Museum für Porzellan

Each CAID Module will report back on their activities.

3pm - 3.30pm PMAG Tea/coffee
3.30pm - 5.30pm Lecture Theatre

Session 2 – Ceramics and education

Chair: Maarit Mäkelä, Aalto University

Barbara Schmidt, Art Academy Berlin Weißensee

Detours to Ceramic Futures - Experimental approaches to ceramic materials from a product design view

Ayşe Güler, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University

Şirin Koçak Özeskici, Usak University

Educational Values in the Ceramic Arts and Literacy for Life

David Sanderson, Staffordshire University

Teaching principles and methodologies

Emma Lacey, Central Saint Martins

What Can Ceramics Do?

3.30pm - 5.30pm Learning Suite

Session 3 – Ceramics, tradition and heritage

Chair: Martin Brown, Staffordshire University

Biljana Djordjević, National Museum in Belgrade

Pottery Technology – The Value of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Valentin Petjko, Daugavpils Clay Art Centre

Significance of Place in Ceramics: Latvian experience

Mateja Kos and Rudolf Saša, National Museum of Slovenia

Ceramics and Tradition

Anna Francis, Staffordshire University

Community Maker and the Portland Inn Project

3.30pm - 5.30pm Board Room

Session 4 – Analogue and digital craft

Chair: Dan Lewis, Staffordshire University

Tavs Jorgensen, University of West England

Jugstrusions: Technological (in) determinism and the value of material knowledge

Babette Wiezorek, Art Academy Berlin Weißensee

Technology, Material and the Emergence of Form

Yihui Wang, National Taipei University of Technology

The Development of Contemporary Taiwanese Ceramic Ware: Craft, Design and Industry

6pm - 8pm BCB AWARD Exhibition Event at BCB Spode site

Friday 6 October

9am - 9.30am PMAG Congress registration opens at Potteries Museum and Art Gallery
9.30am - 10.50am Lecture Theatre

Keynote 2 – Can Ceramics make a difference?

Chair: TBC

Keith Harrison, Bath Spa University

Interactive & performative ceramics in the public realm

Franz Chen, Franz Collection Inc

Modern China: building a career in ceramics

10.50am   Short break
11am - 12pm Lecture Theatre

Keynote 3 – Can ceramics make a difference?

Chair: TBC

Jay Thakkar, CEPT University

A synergistic creative approach in warli craft practices through the Heart:Beat project

Laura Breen, Independent researcher

Re-locating ceramics

12pm - 1pm PAMG Lunch
1pm - 3pm Lecture Theatre

Session 5 – Ceramics, place and materiality

Chair: Barbara Schmidt, Art Academy Berlin Weißensee

Maarit Mäkelä, Aalto University

In dialogue with the earth: creativity, materiality and place

Natasha Mayo, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Civic Ceramics

Tuuli Saarelainen, Saija Halko and Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä, Aalto University

Spirit of the place

Mandy Parslow, Limerick School of Art and Design

A sense of place: the expressive vessel in contemporary ceramic practice

1pm - 3pm Learning Suite

Session 6 – Ceramics, wellbeing and museum engagement

Chair: Laura Breen, Independent researcher

Fiona Green, York Museums Trust

How public ceramic collections can be used for the education, enjoyment and wellbeing of the 21st century visitor and why using ceramics in this way contributes to a happier, healthier society

Ann Van Hoey, Independent artist

Changing social dynamics with ceramics

Rachel Conroy, Leeds Museums and Galleries

Emotional responses to ceramics in a museum environment: 'Fragile?' and 'Quietus'

Bret Shah, Independent artist

Accessible Aesthetics

1pm - 3pm Board Room

Session 7 – Ceramic collections and object biographies

Chair: TBC

Biljana Crvenković, Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade

Porcelain as Heritage: The Belgrade Buffon service

Ian Jackson, Staffordshire University

A tale of the old pioneer: evidence of Josiah Wedgwood’s Entrepreneurial Spirit and Commercial Exploitation from the Wedgwood Collection

Ulrika Schaeder and Marika Bogren, Nationalmuseum, Sweden

Anchoring a Ceramic Treasure

Sue Blatherwick, Independent researcher

The materiality and narratives within a bread crock

3pm - 3.30pm PMAG Tea/coffee
3.30pm - 4.30pm Lecture Theatre

Session 8 – Professionalism: Building a career in Ceramics

Chair: Franz Chen

Sabrina Vasulka, Rhiannon Ewing-James, Wendy Ward, Karolina Bednorz, Monika Müller and Maria Juchnowska, former FUTURE LIGHTS contestants

4.30pm - 5.30pm Lecture Theatre

Session 9 – Plenary

Chair: Wilhelm Siemen

Thursday 5 October BCB Parallel Sessions - shuttle bus from PMAG

3.30pm - 5.30pm  BCB

BCB Session 1 – Exploring place through clay

Chair: BCB

Ian McIntyre, Independent artist

Brown Betty: The archetypal teapot (gallery talk, 20 mins)

Peter Jones, Independent artist

Contained Process (gallery talk, 20 mins)

Dena Bagi, BCB

Priska Falin, Aalto University

Material Place: how do the qualities of clay help (individuals/groups) explore (their) place?

(workshop, 60 mins)

Jo Ayre, BCB

Can Ceramics make a difference to the idea of Place?

(workshop, 60 mins)

Cj O’Neill,Manchester Metropolitan University

The Reader (interactive artwork)

Friday 6 October BCB Parallel Sessions - shuttle bus from and to PMAG

2pm - 4pm BCB

BCC Session 2 – Shaping the Future

Chair: BCB

Nathalie Lautenbacher, Aalto University

Thoughts on The Tabletop – Food Related Design (gallery talk, 20 mins)

Anna van der Lei and Kristos Mavrostomos, CHIL-DISH / Studio Hän

CHIL-DISH project (gallery talk, 20 mins)

Alison Howell, Burgess and Leigh Ltd

(Burleigh x CFPR) + KTP: How an academic-industry partnership can work to both innovate and preserve traditional ceramic processes (gallery talk, 20 mins)

4pm PMAG Return to PMAG for Plenary

Travel and Accommodation

By Rail

Stoke-on-Trent is a major intercity rail route, directly linked to Manchester (35 minutes), Birmingham (45 minutes) and London (90 minutes). Virgin Trains and Cross Country operate high-speed trains.  Northern Rail and London Midland provide local and regional services.  For information on tickets and timetables visit National Rail. Stoke-on-Trent station is a 5-minute walk from the original Spode site in Stoke-on-Trent Town Centre and a 30-minute walk from The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in the City Centre (Hanley).

By Car

The M6 motorway connects into the city through major dual carriageways. Visit AA Route Planner, to find how to get to the Congress from where you are.

For The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery follow signs for City Centre or Cultural Quarter from the A500.

The original Spode Works Visitor Centre is signposted from the A500. These signs will take you to the Elenora Street side of the site. The main entrance for BCB is via Kingsway, which has a large public car park. The satnav postcode for this car park is ST4 1JB.

By Bus

First bus services 23/ 23a /3 are ideal to travel to and from the original Spode site, The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and AirSpace Gallery.

The route is: Stoke, Glebe Street – Stoke, Rail Station– City Centre Bus Station (Hanley).  The service operates every 10 minutes and takes 10 minutes from Stoke to the City Centre (Hanley).

By Air

Over 100 airlines fly into regional airports within a one-hour transfer. For more information about flights and transfer rail links to Stoke-on-Trent, visit Manchester International AirportLiverpool John Lennon Airport, Birmingham Airport and East Midlands Airport.


The closest car park for the original Spode site is on Kingsway. This pay and display car park is just across the road from the BCB entrance to the original Spode site. The postcode for Kingsway is ST4 1JB.

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery has limited disabled parking onsite, however there are several car parks within a short walking distance of the museum and parking meters on Bethesda Street, Warner Street and at the nearby Tesco Extra, which is free for 2-hours. Please see parking locations and charges for the City Centre.


More information about Stoke and Trent, including accommodation, can be found on the Visit Stoke website here.