Stoke Makes Plates

Stoke Makes Plates connects local communities with the heritage of Stoke-on-Trent’s high street.


What is the project?

Stoke Makes Plates is a heritage mapping project of Stoke’s high street. Over 150 residents of Stoke-on-Trent take part in plate-making workshops that explore Stoke’s past, present and future. Participants use their plate designs to share their experiences from the last two years. Creating a conversation through clay across the city and beyond. 

Participants use materials associated with Stoke’s high street to form connections with its heritage. Their plate designs commemorate this connection with heritage and will be turned into an online pattern book. The pattern book will also hold further details of each individual and the inspiration behind their design. 


View the Stoke Makes Plates pattern book.


The project culminates in a Stoke Makes Plates exhibition at British Ceramics Biennial 2021 in September. Curated to give participants experiences, memories, stories and hopes a connection with Stoke-on-Trent. The exhibition includes over 250 plates including work from community members, commissioned artists and local ceramics manufacturers.  



Due to the national restrictions, all workshops take place online. Participants receive the materials and equipment they need to design and make their plate at home. The plates are fired at BCB’s studio at Spode and decorated with digital transfers using the participant’s design.  


Who takes part?


Community Groups in Stoke-on-Trent:

Example workshops:

  • Families at the Hub, Fenton, imagine their dream shop. They think about what would attract them to the high street of the future.  
  • Members of the LGBT group explore the heritage of Spode ceramics. They look at how surface pattern can tell a story and respond to their own experiences on the high street.  
  • Women attending the Mother group explore the idea that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. How can the high street help to create and support this?



Stoke Makes Plates aims to empower diverse communities to reclaim, redefine and revalue public space. It does this through:

  • Increasing community wellbeing and cohesion through participation in the heritage workshops. 
  • Strengthening the sense of local identity and promote civic pride. 
  • Helping communities invest in their high street as places to live, learn, work and visit.



Learn more about the High Street Heritage Action Zone:

Read Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones announcement.  

Read Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Stoke High Street Heritage Action Zone announcement. 


Stoke Makes Plates is part of the Stoke High Street Heritage Action Zone programme delivered by Historic England. Their aim is to unlock the potential of high streets across England, fuel economic, social and cultural recovery and breathe new life into it for future generations. The project is part funded by Historic England and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.