National Ceramics Centre and Advanced Ceramics Campus

NEA was appointed by Staffordshire University and Arts Council England to carry out a Feasibility Study and Viability Assessment for the proposed National Ceramics Centre in Stoke-on-Trent. The city is known worldwide as The Potteries and was one of the engines of the Industrial Revolution – and the birthplace of iconic brands such as Wedgwood and Spode. Now, Stoke-on-Trent is bouncing back after a period of industrial decline: an energetic and ambitious university sector; exciting plans for cultural regeneration (including a bid to be UK City of Culture 2021); innovative rapidly growing high-tech companies; popular designer-makers and a burgeoning creative scene (including the British Ceramics Biennial) are all combining to reinvent the city as a great place to live, work and study. The proposed National Ceramics Centre joins up a range of existing and planned projects, celebrating and reflecting on Stoke’s rich heritage and acting as a springboard to a more prosperous future where creative making and learning are at the centre of people’s lives.

As we went through our stakeholder consultative process, we worked increasingly closely with a partnership group comprising the British Ceramic Confederation, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and Lucideon – world-leading pioneers in advanced ceramics technology. We were then tasked with producing a report for the Business Secretary highlighting the opportunities the exist within the Stoke-on-Trent ceramics cluster. This has now been incorporated as a case study in the new UK Industrial Strategy, which states (p. 224):

This partnership has developed an ambitious proposal for an Advanced Ceramics Campus that combines technical innovation, creativity and commercialisation with the skills needed for the next generation of engineers in the Midlands Engine and beyond. This demonstrates the potential to reimagine and reinvent local industries.”

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