Spode -China Hall

Address: China Hall, Old Spode Works, Kingsway, Stoke-On-Trent, ST4 1JH 

Phone: 01782 294634

Web: www.britishceramicsbiennial.com

Opening Times: Monday - Closed

                           Tuesday - Saturday - 10am -5pm

                           Sunday: 12-4pm  


The Little School of Improbable Cooking at Bread In Common

Book now for a cookery school with a difference. Each afternoon your mini chefs can take over and run the Bread In Common café (including serving customers and washing up) while also being immersed in and creating stories. This special storytelling and cookery project is produced by Stoke arts organisation B Arts.

Suitable for children aged 5 upwards, book your places at http://littleschoolbcb.bpt.me/

Tuesday 24 –Saturday 28 October, 2-4pm. FREE, but booking essential. 

Cord, Cotton and Clay

Enjoy playing in Spode’s squelchy Clay Pit with the addition of oodles of textiles including cord, cotton, rope and lace. Have fun making marvellous creations and seeing how the materials mix.  This event is part of the Big Draw Festival 2017.

Thursday 26th, Friday 27th, Saturday 28th October. 

11am - 4pm 

FREE, Drop-in 

Clay Book Making

Budding potters aged 8 and over can make one of 800 clay books and help create the awe-inspiring art installation Knowledge Is power 

Keith Brymer Jones

Keith will be delivering a mix of throwing demonstrations, teaching at the pottery wheel and talking about his exciting plans for setting up a new business at Spode. 

Saturday 23 September 11am, 1pm and 3pm

Sunday 24 September 12:30pm & 2:30pm

Sunday 5 November 12:30pm & 2:30pm 


Forest Of Dreams

Come and join B arts to make an extraordinary evening where dinner and theatre combine in a fabulous feast of live plating, live music, projections and puppetry in the Forest of Dreams.

Super Saturdays


11am - 4pm 

Join us each Saturday with your family for clay activities and lots of opportunities to play! We’re welcoming lots of artists into The Clay Pit each Saturday, who will help you and your family play with clay. Expect clay brick making, throwing and mark making. 

Our onsite cafe will also be offering family discounts, so why not make a day of it!? 


FREE, all ages welcome and very family friendly 


Clay Book Making

We need you’re help to create 800 clay books for the Knowledge is Power the 6 Towns installation.

Join us with Katie Leonard and Rhiannon Ewing Jones at the British Ceramics Biennial ceramics studio, other volunteers and members of the public in making clay books that represent books from the 6 Towns Collection in libraries throughout Stoke-on-Trent.

The Clay Pit

The Clay Pit:

Open access space for all ages to explore clay.

An interactive workshop space will be constructed, within China Halls, where community and education groups, BCB visitors and visiting artists can explore clay.

Via a series of large clay pits, copious amounts of ceramic material, oversize clay tools, and creative props, The Clay Pit will encourage communal hands-on play, exploration and construction.

Graft Studio

Graft Studio Stoke on Trent is a city full of skilled craftspeople, and we are keen to preserve, promote and nurture these ceramic skills for the future. Focusing on the tradition of bone china flower making, we are working with local artisans to develop a social enterprise, allowing existing makers to reach new audiences for their work and for other makers to connect with flower makers and learn these heritage skills.

Adult Clay Courses

For those keen to learn new skills in making, we offer ceramics courses through Stoke-on-Trent City Council Adult and Community Learning. The beginners course explores the whole process of making from soft clay through to glaxed ceramic, encountering different making techniques throughout; whilst the intermediate course takes a look at different clays and plaster techniques, even a bit of Raku firing. The courses last for ten weeks and enrol regularly through the year.

Clay Together

Clay Together 

Our "Clay Together" events are aimed at bringing people togther through making with clay. 


Made in Korea

As part of The Ceramic House 2017 programme “Made in Korea”, artists-in-residence Kyung Won Baek, Jin Kim and Ceramic House founder Kay Aplin have created installation works for presentation within BCB 2017 Accompanied by a four channel sound installation created by sound artist Joseph Young, the combined works contribute to an exploration, a dialogue, between the making cultures of the UK and South Korea.

Ceramic City - Alusid

ALUSID started life as a research project funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council. ALUSID produces SilicaStone a safe, non-flammable architectural surface suitable for a range of applications.

Ceramic City - Wades Ceramics

Nestled deep in the home of ceramics in Staffordshire, Wade Ceramics have been honing their craft since their establishment in 1810 to produce decadent ranges such as spirits, fragrance, homeware and food, with prestigious articles including their infamous Gluggle Jugs.

Ceramic City - Furlong Mills LTD

FURLONG MILLS LTD was established in 1842 and is owned by Dudson Churchill and Portmeirion . Continuous investment by the shareholder companies has seen ambitious plans for expansion. In 2016 a fully computer controlled sliphouse was constructed and is now used to create bespoke ceramic bodies for the industry.    

Ceramic City - Mempro

MEMPRO develops and manufactures products utilising microscopic ceramic nanofibres.

These will initially be used in the ‘NoxFox’ catalytic filter - a unit fitted to the small petrol engines used in lawn-mowers, outboard motors and chainsaws. The NoxFox filter makes these engines significantly more environmentally friendly by filtering exhaust gases, so reducing harmful pollutants. 

Ceramic City - Therser (UK)

THERSER (UK) Ltd was formed in 2009. The company provides THERmal SERvices and products, hence THERSER. Based in Burslem Therser designs bespoke equipment for technical ceramics in not only the ceramics industry but also for use in the aerospace, auto and metal industries. It has provided tunnel, shuttle, high-temperature kilns; furnaces and ovens to most countries of the world. In addition its repair, refurbishment and specialised equipment relocation division can relocate not only for kilns and furnaces but complete factories.

Ceramic City - Armitage Shanks

ARMITAGE SHANKS has a long and enduring association with Staffordshire. 2017 sees the company celebrating its 200th anniversary. Armitage Shanks was the first company to produce wares specifically for hospitals (1911).

Evanescent Landscape: Falcon Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent

Juree Kim’s residency in Stoke-on-Trent has extended her explorations into architectural heritage and issues surrounding urban regeneration. Kim has engaged with numerous regional sites of historic ceramic production that remain ‘invisible’ due to disuse and decay. Painstaking scale reproductions of these buildings in raw clay, will be ‘activated’ in a performance on the opening evening of the Biennial. These destructive gestures return hours of meticulous craft back into a pulp of raw material, questioning issues surrounding the value of built heritage and preservation. 

Embodied Matter

In collaboration with Valentine Clays and Onggi trained potter Oh Hyangjong, Neil Brownsword arrests a range of intermediary forms that derive from mechanical and manual methods of processing raw clay. These culturally diverse rhythms of labour - from foot wedging to filter press cake, retain within their fabric nonchalant actions and bodily repetitions that occupy territory between raw geology and the crafted object.

Refugee Tales

Refugee Tales is a continuation of Stephen Dixon’s on-going World War 1 research project, exploring commemoration through clay and working with refugee and community groups in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. The participants, members of the Jubilee Club, are examining their own perceptions of identity, displacement and migration, and comparing these to the experiences of the Belgian refugees who came to the UK during World War 1. 

Artists: Stephen Dixon, Jo Ayre, Barry Taylor, Johnny Magee and members of the Jubilee Club

Shaping The Future

The exhibition “Shaping the Future” is part of the European funded Ceramics and its Dimensions project, with the intention of discussing the future of ceramics by exploring new techniques, technologies and rethinking materials.


Neil Brownsword examines inter-relationships between the past and present, through ‘reclaiming’ the former Spode Factory as a site of ceramic production. In his performative installation FACTORY, recently exhibited at the Korea Ceramics Foundation, Brownsword ‘re-orchestrates’ the specialist knowledge of former ceramic industry artisans, to highlight marginalised practices now in danger of being lost. South Korea’s safeguarding of intangible heritage, associated with its own ceramic history has ensured that associated skills are maintained for future generations.

Ceramic City

BCB aims to reflect the current surge in interest in ceramics and with it the resurgence of the city’s ceramics industry, it will illustrate a positive message about the city, how it wishes to present itself, with confidence as the UK’s Ceramics City, leading the ‘march of the makers’.

Awarded - Hannah Tounsend

Hannah was winner of the 2015 Fresh prize, a 1-month residency at the Guldagergaard International Ceramics Research Centre, Denmark. For her exhibition at BCB 2017 Hannah has created a set of three large vessels responding to the geology and patina of the Spode site. 

Awarded -Sam Bakewell

After his piece Imagination Dead Imagine won Award in 2015, Sam has been invited to make a new presentation for this years Biennial. Between ambiguity and representation, the real deal and fakes, and the legitimacy of the raw and fired, Sam will continue a process of haphazard, arbitrary making rooted in utilising leftovers and scraps. With the expression of 'making something out of nothing' in mind, he intends to present a series of objects to question his own hangups with a 'gallery-ready' practice.

Photo; Imagaination Dead Imagine: Photo by Joel Fildes

Knowledge is Power: 6 Towns

Keith Harrison has been commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries and Archives in association with BCB to create a major new work, Knowledge is Power.  Inspired by the special Six Towns Collection of local history books, Harrison will work with local industry, and over 200 school children and community groups from the area to make a complete set of replica clay books which will be heated daily to unpredictable effect using specifically manufactured electrical elements embedded in each volume and triggered by an interactive switching mechanism.

The Brown Betty - The Archetypal Teapot

A re-imagining of the archetypal teapot – the Brown Betty - by Ian McIntyre will be launched with an exhibition of an exclusive limited edition, available for sale through BCB.  This iconic object was designed and refined through a process of making which spans 300 years. Once made in its millions, it is still produced in Stoke from the original Etruria Marl red clay - the bed rock of the city - and glazed with the instantly recognisable Rockingham dark treacle glaze.

Division of Labour

Peter Jones, BCB associate artist, will present work from his PhD project in a specially constructed research laboratory space set up within the China Hall.  A creative journey through the Spode site, mapping factory functions and investigating manufacturing processes will be represented in a set of objects assembled in the lab space

Place and Practices

Throughout history, ceramics have played an important role in the phenomenon of cultural transfer. For centuries China, Japan and Korea have influenced each other’s aesthetics, practices and technologies. Subsequent trade with the West, and the imitation and hybridization of Oriental styles in the late 18th centuries greatly influence the development of new ceramic traditions in Europe.


The FRESH exhibition presents the best of the new cohort of talented graduates from UK higher education ceramic courses and programmes. FRESH both celebrates and gives platform to new talent at the start of professional careers. The FRESH selection panel, will choose a maximum of 25 artists’ work to be included in the final exhibition. Selected artists will represent the range of work from across the ceramic spectrum - from studio pottery tableware and industrial design to figurative and abstract sculpture and installation.