The festival returns to the Potteries from 11 September to 17 October 2021 and includes an ambitious programme of exhibitions, installations, events and hands-on activities.
A showcase of work by recent Staffordshire University MA Ceramics and BA (Hons) 3D Designer Maker graduates takes place in the main festival hub at The Goods Yard. The six featured artists had limited access to studio facilities during the pandemic so found innovative new ways of creating and experimenting.
Tim Forrester, BA (Hons) 3D Designer Maker Course Leader, said: “BCB is an important platform for championing emerging talent as well as established artists and we’re extremely proud to see Staffs graduates featured alongside some of the best ceramicists in the world.
“This exhibition celebrates the resilience of our students over the past 18 months. Despite the challenges, they have produced some outstanding work which explores the contemporary relationship with material and its relevance within our lives.”
Outside of The Goods Yard, activities will take place across the city. The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery sees the launch of an exciting new exhibition by Staffordshire University Professor of Ceramics Neil Brownsword which examines the innovations and ingenuity of North Staffordshire’s early ceramic industrialisation.
In Alchemy and Metamorphosis, which runs from 18 September to 30 January 2022, internationally acclaimed artist Neil has curated a timeline of objects and archaeology from the Potteries Museum and other world-class collections. A programme of performances will also engage the visiting public with live research in collaboration with digital experts from Staffordshire University and ex-ceramic industry artisans.
Neil has also initiated a symposium in partnership with the Heritage Crafts Association which invites a range of international speakers alongside current and former ceramic industry specialists to explore the value of industrial craft skills in a digital age. Speakers include:
- Dr Ezra Shales, Professor of Art History, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
- Professor Xiaoping Yu, Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute
- Dr Geoffrey Gowlland, University of Geneva
- Dr Laura Breen, Manchester Metropolitan University
- Vicki McGarvey, research student, Staffordshire University
Anna Francis, Associate Professor of Fine Art and Social Practice, has contributed to several projects including developing a brand-new product, The Fern Brick, as part of social enterprise the Portland Inn Project (PIP). The Portland Inn Project also launch The Pigeon Shop, as part of the Festival, where the projects second batch of Pigeon’s will be sold. The Portland Pigeon features in this month’s World of Interiors magazine, and the first flock to go on sale in October 2020 sold out in 2 hours online.
For The Living Garden project, at the Spode Rose Garden, Anna has curated a programme of activity, public workshops and commissions, with two brand new public artworks being unveiled in time for the biennial.
Anna has curated the first public exhibition at AirSpace Gallery since the pandemic took hold in 2020. An essay to accompany the exhibition can be accessed here, providing insight into the timely themes of the show.
Anna added: "It is fantastic to see the British Ceramics Biennial exhibitions taking place this Autumn. As always, this important biennial activates the streets and buildings of our city, providing an opportunity to discuss the heritage and future of our relationships with ceramics."
For the first time, BCB will also curate an online programme of films, tours and events for those unable to visit in person.
The British Ceramics Biennial 2021 takes place from 11 September to 17 October. See the full programme of events and plan your visit – https://www.britishceramicsbiennial.com/