About Us

Barney Hare Duke
Artistic Director

Barney Hare Duke, along with his business partner Jeremy Theophilus, founded and directed the first British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) in Stoke-on-Trent in 2009. With four Biennials delivered Barney continues as the Artistic Director of BCB leading the team in the development of the 2017-21 programme.

Barney has nearly 40 years of experience working in the arts with a specialism in contemporary craft. Working initially as a studio potter, which he combined with teaching and lecturing, Barney then moved into arts management and development.For 13 years Barney was Arts Council England’s Visual Arts Officer: Crafts in the North West, leaving in 2004 to set up A Fine Line: Cultural Practice with his colleague Jeremy. Working as creative producers, A Fine Line has been responsible for initiating and managing its own programme of projects and events and in providing consultancy and curatorial expertise to the visual arts sector.Over a ten-year period, A Fine Line developed a specialism in international artists’ exchange programmes, working most regularly with partners in the Indian sub continent. Since the death of his colleague in 2015 Barney continues both the international work with India as the Director of A Fine Line and as Artistic Director of the British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent.

Iain Cartwright

Executive Director

Iain trained as a Design Historian during which time he studied the history of both Spode and Wedgwood as well as taking a practical wood, metal and ceramics module. Thereafter he embarked on a career in arts and heritage management, working across a range of organisations from national museums to small, independent arts organisations; for local authorities and large charities; in both the private and public sectors, in the UK, Northern Ireland, Holland and France.  Iain worked for both local authorities in a variety of arts development capacities (latterly as Head of Arts at Warwickshire County Council) and for arts organisations including Same Sky in Brighton, for the V&A and in Higher Education (London Institute). Iain has long experience of managing arts charities and a breadth of expertise having also worked as Fundraising Team manager for Help the Aged, with particular expertise around statutory funding having secured significant funding from local and central government, from trusts and foundations and from Europe. Prior to working for BCB Iain worked as a Senior Consultant for DCA, Birmingham, a private sector arts and regeneration consultancy, specialising in producing feasibility studies and business plans for cultural organisations and in particular development capital projects for clients across the UK. Iain also has an MSc in Sustainable Architecture.  



Dena Bagi
Community and Education Programme Manager 

Dena Bagi is an engagement manager who passionately believes in the holistic benefits of clay within wellbeing and community settings. During a 10-year career in the creative engagement sector, Dena has managed, developed and delivered engagement programmes which thoughtfully explore how individuals can affect positive life changes via the use of craft-materials. Prior to working with BCB, Dena held learning management positions at Manchester Craft and Design Centre and Manchester Museum, among others. She has been with BCB for 4 years and also works as a freelance lecturer and artist. Dena has a BA in Glass, Architectural Glass and Ceramics from the University of Sunderland and a Masters in Contemporary Curating form Manchester Metropolitan University. She is embarking on her PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University in early 2018, which will explore the holistic benefits of clay heath settings. 



Nikki Patel 
Marketing & Communications Manager


Joanne Ayre
Studio Manager
Jo is a maker, educator and writer, introduced to ceramics at school and through a weekend job at the Wedgwood Visitor Centre; she pursued her education in the field, first specialising in ceramics at Newcastle-under-Lyme college, then completing a BA (Hons) Ceramics in Cardiff. Returning home during the holidays, Jo enjoyed working as part of the team at Gladstone Pottery Museum, which became a more regular role before heading to London to begin an MA at the Royal College of Art. She graduated from the Ceramics and Glass department there in 2008. Following completion of a PGCE in secondary education in 2011, Jo has been teaching art, craft and design to 7 – 18 year olds. Being appointed as Studio Assistant for the BCB 2015 is a fantastic opportunity for her to share her passion for ceramics and education, facilitating making with clay, from a one-off encounter to a lifetime pursuit.  


Rhiannon Ewing-James 

Creative Producer 

Rhiannon is a maker, freelance designer and a writer graduated with a degree in Contemporary Applied Arts from Ulster University, Belfast. Ceramics has been, is and will always be a part of her life, with interests in ceramics that ranges from pottery and production working as an Intern at the Leach Pottery Studio, St. Ives, working with artists, curating and creating programmes as the Studio Coordinator at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre, Denmark and as the Project Officer at Craft Northern Ireland. As the Creative Producer Rhiannon will be the main point of contact for artists that work with the BCB through exhibitions, projects and commissions helping to put ideas into action and she supports the Creative Director Barney Hare Duke in the curation of the British Ceramics Biennial Festival. rhiannon@britishceramicsbiennial.com


Natalie Armitage
Clay School Programme manager  

Natalie completed her PhD in American Studies at the university of manchester in 2016, she is also a multi-media artist, writer and has a background in teaching a range of creative pursuits to all ages. Natalie discovered her loved of ceramics while teaching children's classes at a local gallery for five years 2005-2010, and say the benefits the medium had for the young people nvolved. since then, in addition to her academic work, Natalie gained experience engaging different age groups with the arts through coommunity based projects, and write an arts blog. natalie@britishceramicsbiennial.com





Images Top to Bottom:
Barney Hare Duke, Iain Cartwright, Dena Bagi, Jo Ayre, Rhiannon Ewing-James, Natalie