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News Staffordshire’s rising stars shine in international ceramics competition

Ceramic artists from Staffordshire University have been awarded international scholarships to nurture their talent.

Caitlin Darby's winning design 'Reactive Tableware'
Image: Caitlin Darby's winning design 'Reactive Tableware'

We pride ourselves in nurturing the next generation of successful designer makers and this is a huge accolade, especially given that we were one of just four UK institutions that won anything.

Tim Forrester, Course Leader

The FRANZ Rising Star Project supports global students who are passionate about ceramic design and offers $1,000 scholarships for the best 100 artworks.

Eight scholarships were awarded across the BA (Hons) 3D Designer Maker and MA Ceramic Design programmes at Staffordshire University.

Course Leader Tim Forrester said: “We pride ourselves in nurturing the next generation of successful designer makers and this is a huge accolade, especially given that we were one of just four UK institutions that won anything.

“It follows another highly successful year for our students and demonstrates the standard of talent coming through our award-winning BA & MA programmes.”

Both courses have strong links with Stoke-on-Trent’s pottery industry and students have received prizes from companies including Potclay’s, Valentine Clays’  and Duchess China.  At the University’s annual degree show, Great Pottery Throwdown judge Keith Brymer-Jones handed out several of his own ‘promising young designer’ awards.

Several students recently featured in the British Ceramics Biennial’s Fresh exhibition which presents the best of the new cohort of talented graduates from UK Higher Education ceramic courses and related programmes.

This included MA Ceramic Design Caitlin Darby, who was also among those to receive a FRANZ scholarship for her ‘Reactive Tableware’.

She said: “The Rising Star Project is a really good opportunity to present work to an amazing panel of judges. It's such a privilege to have been awarded one of the scholarships. I was able to exhibit work at the BCB after being selected last year, so I am looking forward to seeing what the next year brings.”

Caitlin is currently freelancing and is working on a live project with Wedgwood, as well as creating a plaque for the BCB Clay School which will be unveiled next month.

The full list of FRANZ Rising Star Scholarship winners from Staffordshire University are:

  • Nicole Waefler, Modern Rituals
  • Nicole Waefler, Project Play
  • Laura Plant, Blue and White
  • Laura Plant, Waterflora
  • Emma Rose, Escape Collection of Geometric Forms
  • Caitlin Darby, Reactive Tableware
  • Jessica May Roberts, Tactility
  • Loh Lik Kian, Project "if" Insulation Fins + Interlocking Function. Project "Ai" Ambience Interactive lighting

This year’s competition received around 600 entries from applicants across 34 countries and 15 distinguished judges from the UK, Germany, France, Italy, South Korea, Mainland China and Taiwan selected the winners.

Discover more about studying at Staffordshire University at an Open Day – find more information and book a place here.

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