Cast of Thousands

In 2018, the Cast of Thousands project was launched through the CLAY School Programme. The project was a legacy of the Stoke-on-Trent City of Culture 2021 bid, with an ambition to create 270,000 figures to represent the population of the city. Through CLAY School the project has been taken on with the aim to have 40,000 figures created by children in the city to represent all of the school children in the city.

Cast of Thousands is a major new project by British Ceramics Biennial: bringing every schoolchild in Stoke-on-Trent together with leading ceramic artists to create and participate in a large-scale public art event that will feature a mass of ceramic figures, representatives of the population of Stoke-on-Trent, the Clay People of the Ceramic City.

The Cast of Thousands will be mobilised over the duration of the project to fill public spaces, swarm over public monuments, spill into the streets, take up residence in civic buildings, schools and private homes and venture out into the world as ambassadors of the Potteries, champions of Stoke’s confident ceramic resurgence.

For BCB2019, we have worked with Schools within the CLAY School Partnership with the aim to create 40,000 figures – one to represent every schoolchild within the city. The first phase of the project, led by artist, Peter Jones, worked with students and teachers from The Willows Primary School to develop the form of the figures. The Willows students produced the majority of the First Thousand figures that appeared at World of Wedgwood in a 3-month installation last October. Fifteen other schools in the CLAY School Partnership were given Cast of Thousands toolkits so that they could produce their own figures to add to a large scale installation across the four sites of BCB2019.


Cast of Thousands is generously supported by Potclays Ltd, a leading award-winning provider of ceramic supplies and training to the studio ceramics and paint-your-own- pottery markets.

Enquire about joining the Clay School

For more information about the CLAY School Partnership and how your school can get involved, please contact us.