Ambitious plans have been unveiled to make Stoke-on-Trent, the spiritual home of British ceramics, a ‘World Craft City’.
Already known as a global capital of ceramics, Stoke-on-Trent has been shaped by its pottery production for centuries, and today is still home to world famous ceramic brands as well as award-winning attractions, tours, and factory shops.
Now the city has officially launched its bid to be recognised as a leading centre of crafts, artistry, innovation and industry by joining a global network of over 50 craft cities from Trinidad in Cuba to Jaipur in India.
Run by the World Craft Councils, the programme recognises cities of craft excellence, promoting cultural, economic, and social contributions around the world.
Shining a spotlight on Stoke-on-Trent as a creative city aiming to develop, and promote, its rich cultural heritage, the bid was launched by partnership organisation Stoke Creates at a special event held at the Victoria and Albert in London in December.
If successful, the city’s ceramics heritage would be given an even higher global profile, putting The Potteries firmly on the world craft map and helping to deliver an “exciting new era in The Potteries’ cultural life”.
More good news for the area has also come from Arts Council England, which has announced a commitment of £100,000 as part of its investment in priority places to increase support and opportunities for creative engagement.
And investment has also been secured to launch Cascade, an ambitious 10-year programme to develop Cultural Action Zones across the city.
For anyone who loves ceramics, Stoke-on-Trent offers the chance to visit world class museums and attractions – and even have a go at the potter’s wheel themselves.
As well as home to famous brands Emma Bridgwater, Wedgwood and Royal Stafford, the city is where popular TV show The Great Pottery Throw Down is filmed. The striking bottle kilns of Gladstone Pottery Museum, the country’s only complete Victorian pottery factory, have become a familiar sight for Channel 4 TV viewers during the annual search to find Britain’s best amateur ceramicist.
Among other top attractions are Middleport Pottery, home of world-famous Burleigh, where pottery has been created since 1889, and World of Wedgwood, the ultimate destination to experience this iconic brand bringing together shopping, hands-on experiences, plus the historic V&A Wedgwood Collection.
More ‘have a go’ sessions include painting your own pottery at Emma Bridgewater and Royal Stafford and designing your own dinner service at the World of Wedgwood.
Stoke Creates is an organisation of cultural, educational, local authority and business partners working in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, sharing a mission to harness the power of art, culture and creativity to improve life for residents, communities and visitors. For details, visit www.stokecreates.com
And for more information on Stoke-on-Trent as a destination, see www.visitstoke.co.uk