Talent Development Programme – Week 4

Additional information

This is a free event.

About the Talent Development Programme – Week 4

Join us for the final week of our BCB festival Talent Development talks in partnership with the creative business development programme Factory. This event will take you through a broad spectrum of clay practice, illuminating how others work and progress their practice within the field of contemporary ceramics. Leading week 4’s programme are: artist and potter Helen Beard, artist and educator Matt Smith, artist and researcher Sam Lucas and lecturer, together with practice-based researcher and learning designer Dena Bagi. 


This session will cover: 

Helen Beard will provide a unique insight into her process, her experience of working with others and sustaining creativity. Helen’s bone china collection has developed gradually over the last ten years. From porcelain to bone china, from studio production to manufacture at Duchess China 1888. Over time the production process has been modified and improved, resulting in a range of her illustrated vessels which are functional and fun and designed for everyday use.

An informal conversation between Matt Smith and Creative Producer Rhiannon Ewing-James will invite questions and discussion around the working relationships and friendships between artists, makers and galleries. To set the scene, Matt will take us through some of the successful relationships which have contributed to his practice over time, and also a couple of the ‘doomed’ ones. In reflecting on experiences with curators, galleries, the public and fellow artists, this talk acknowledges the need for us all to work together in the best way we can.

Sam Lucas and Dena Bagi will explore how clay enables us to understand or represent ourselves as humans by delving into practice and research. This exploration will take shape through discussion and demonstration.



This event is for:

  • Anyone starting out in their practice or who are early or progressing in their career in ceramics. 
  • Anyone interested in connecting with peers and fellow artists, makers and potters who are also setting out in their practice. 
  • Anyone who wants to hear and learn from the experience of established makers, potters and artists working in the field of ceramics. 
  • Anyone who is interested in having a line of work produced in manufacture and wants to learn how someone else has done it. 
  • Anyone curious and wanting to learn more about the different relationships we might have with other professionals in the field of ceramics. 
  • Anyone who wants to learn more about the potential and research behind the use of clay as a tool in exploring the self.  


Delivered By

Helen Beard 

Helen Beard is a potter and illustrator and a people watcher at heart. She works from her London studio where she makes, draws, designs and sometimes teaches. The local area and people inspire much of her work. There are all sorts of characters who crop up again and again in her sketchbooks and on her pots – from swimmers in the parks to traders at the local markets. After her BA at Edinburgh College of Art, Helen began an eighteen-month apprenticeship with artist and writer Edmund de Waal. It was here, that she learnt to throw and was able to develop her drawing technique onto porcelain. She later introduced apprenticeships to her studio through the charitable trust Adopt a Potter.
Helen Beard website link.


Sam Lucas 

Sam’s creative practice revolves around the relationship of the self and the world through the lens of the body by creating ambiguous, figurative forms. She encourages the viewer to be curious and question their relationship to their body and how others may be different from them, or the same.
Sam Lucas website link.


Dena Bagi

Dena is a lecturer and a practice-based researcher in the arts sector. Her research practice involves working closely with community members and artists to curate clay workshops, projects and learning/play spaces. She believes passionately that working with clay has a profound effect on ‘healing’ and health in general.
Dena Bagi website link.


Matt Smith 

Matt Smith’s practice slips between craft and fine art. He often works in response to museum collections, with solo shows at the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Pitt Rivers. In 2018 he was awarded Object of the Show at Collect and in 2020 the Brookfield Prize by the Craft Council. He is a Professor of Ceramics at Konstfack University Stockholm.
Matt Smith website link.



This event will be recorded for future use. Though we aim to ensure only the speaker is visible in the recording we ask that if you’d prefer to not be visible during the recording, please turn your camera off. 

If you have any access requirements or needs, please get in touch with us via access@britishceramicsbiennial.com.


Access Fund

As part of the Fresh Talent Development programme we are offering bursaries to support people early in their clay or contemporary ceramics career and who face barriers in attending exhibitions and training as part of their professional development. The BCB Access Support can be used to cover travel costs of the applicant and any other reasonable costs incurred in visiting or attending the festival or festival events. Find out more about BCB’s Access Fund.


Supported By

This event is supported by ACAVA Studios, ERDF, Factory, the Fresh Talent Programme crowdfunding, Schroder Charity and Staffordshire University.

What's the running order of the event?

This will be released in the next week.

Is this a ticketed event?

Yes. Tickets can be booked on this webpage and a link will be sent out to registered attendees ahead of the event.