Judges to decide on Stoke-on-Trent's World Craft City bid

Gladstone Pottery Museum -Credit:SEPhotos
Gladstone Pottery Museum -Credit:SEPhotos

A panel of international judges will arrive in Stoke-on-Trent today to assess the city's bid for World Craft City status. Arriving on Staffordshire Day, the panel will be welcomed with a civic reception where they’ll be presented with a commemorative plated specially crafted by Duchess China.

They will then embark on a three-day programme of site visits and conversations across the city. Around 60 cities around the world currently have World Craft City status, with Farnham in Surrey currently the only one in England.

Organisers of Stoke-on-Trent's bid say the city's long history as a centre for ceramics makes it a worth candidate. They believe that achieving World Craft City status could boost tourism, foster knowledge exchange and partnerships both locally and around the world, and encourage governmental and institutional support.

Paul Williams, board member at Stoke Creates cultural compact and tourism expert spearheading the city’s application, said: “It’s widely acknowledged that Stoke-on-Trent’s geography, history and identity have been indelibly shaped by craftsmanship and making linked to ceramics over the past three centuries. As we continue to capitalise on the city’s newfound confidence and our future as a globally significant centre of art, crafts and contemporary culture, the attribution of World Craft City will not only celebrate the contribution made by the Potteries nationally, but help to boost our reputation as a creative destination globally.”

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Cllr Jane Ashworth, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “Our city is a unique and wonderful place, built on layers of enterprise and our proud craft heritage. We’re the world capital of ceramics and you can find our produce in museums across the globe.

“Craft and ceramics aren’t just our heritage, they’re our present. We’re still a centre for ceramics production and creative works. Where else could be better placed to become a World Craft City than the key centre of a region known to this day for the product for which it’s best known – The Potteries?”

The judges' assessment will be forwarded to the World Crafts Council’s next general meeting in a few months' time for a final decision.

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