Past festivals

The idea of creating an ambitious festival to celebrate contemporary ceramics in Stoke-on-Trent was announced on a cold evening in a pink flood lit, old pottery factory building in Longton, in the south of the city. It was a bold statement of intent that was eventually realised nine months later with the inaugural British Ceramics Biennial festival in autumn 2009. A programme of exhibitions and activities took place in a series of established visual arts venues and non-traditional spaces across the city.

Greeted as a critical success and a welcome addition to the cultural landscape of Stoke-on-Trent the BCB initiative attracted support from Arts Council England to match Stoke City Council funding and so the second festival was made possible. 2011 saw BCB present the main festival programme in the vast space of the China Hall, part of the former Spode factory site in Stoke Town.

From its home in the China Hall the BCB developed over subsequent festivals 2013, 2015 and 2017 growing both in scale and significance impacting positively on the cultural profile and life of Stoke–on-Trent. The following sections give a glimpse of the extraordinary range of ceramic works that have been presented over the last five biennials by a broad range of artists who have made the festival the success that it is.