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Future Lights: International ceramics competition finalists in Stoke-on-Trent

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Future Lights: International ceramics competition finalists in Stoke-on-Trent

Recent graduates from all over Europe working as designers, artists, and curators partook in the final round of the Future Lights Competition which forms part of the British Ceramics Biennial.

The annual competition was held at Staffordshire University on 21th October 2015. It forms part of Ceramics and its Dimensions, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The public was encouraged to drop in to the event to view examples of the finalists’ work and listen to their presentations.
As Wilhelm Siemen, Director of Porzellanikon, said “The theme of this year’s Future Lights competition is International Cultural Influences in Ceramics. Building on the history of cultural exchange in ceramics, the competition is designed to build new bridges and provide a platform for young professionals to further their careers”.
Yuka Kikumoto, a current student from the University’s MA Ceramic Design course and the recently graduated Francesca Romei were among the finalists whose artwork was judged by a jury of representatives from leading European institutions including Aalto University, the British Ceramics Biennial, Kunsthochschule Berlin, Porzellanikon, Staffordshire University, and the University of Ulster.
All eight finalists were presenting their ideas and views to this year’s theme International cultural influences in ceramics, and astonished panel and audience. Their speeches were brilliant, their ideas inspiring and innovative. Francesca Romei from Italy, Atis Šnevelis from Latvia, Kristian Rutar and Zora Žbontar from Slovenia, Kate Haywood, Beth Lewis-Williams, Emily Stapleton-Jeffries, and Yuka Kikumoto from the UK had all very different and unique approaches to meet the topic of the competition.
That’s why the decision the panel had to make afterwards was not that difficult – all eight were invited to the next step – a project they have to work on together including a workshop at Staffordshire University next year. They will take part in a series of workshops, collaborating on a design for new ceramic work that will feature in future exhibitions and events across Europe.