Interest in ceramics education is dwindling. In 2010 the Crafts Council developed a national clay programme that would ‘refire’ dormant school kilns and inspire both teachers and students.
The core aims of the Firing Up programme were;
• To raise awareness of the importance of clay in our everyday lives and in world cultures;
• To support schools in using this medium creatively and confidently, and in optimising its educational value for students and creating sustainable local links;
• To showcase and exhibit the work of young people; and
• To demonstrate the links between clay-work and the wider creative industry sector showing that working in ceramics is a viable career choice.
The programme used a ‘cluster’ format constructed around the ceramics departments within partner Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Each regional cluster consisted of one HEI who supplied a ceramics ‘ambassador’, a technician and up to ten students, and five secondary schools.
Firing Up included the following core elements:
• Kiln Rehab – the rejuvenation of clay facilities in participant schools, supported by the expertise of ceramic-specialist staff from partner HEIs.
• Clay Skills Training – twilight Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for cluster teachers to build confidence and expertise using clay in the classroom.
• Project Clay – an innovative creative workshop programme designed by Clayground Collective and delivered by local practitioners to enthuse and inspire the school community through a collaborative project.
Firing Up was made possible by generous support from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Paul Hamlyn Foundation over three years and commitment from a steering committee that included representatives from National Arts Learning Network (NALN), the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD), University of the Arts, Clayground Collective and Ofsted.
Firing Up Clusters 2010 – 2013
Regional clusters were selected and composed according to our project criteria:
• Geography – underpinning an effort to ensure a good national spread;
• Presence – of a positive ambassador in each H.E. institution to drive the success of each cluster and provide expertise;
• Facilities/ Resources – including the presence of a kiln, departmental capacity for hosting teaching peers, and the economic situation of the school and its community (i.e. identification of ‘need’).
Year 1: 2010-11
• Greater London
• South West: Plymouth
• North West: Liverpool
Year 2: 2011-12
• West Midlands & Staffordshire; Stoke-on-Trent
• South West; Bath
• North West: Manchester
• North East: Sunderland
Year 3: 2012-13
• North West: Preston
• East Midlands: Leicester
• East: Colchester
• South East: Brighton
The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is one of the leading independent grant-making foundations in the UK, and aims to improve the quality of life throughout the UK.Find out more
We do this by funding the charitable activities of organisations that have the ideas and ability to achieve change for the better. We take pride in supporting work that might otherwise be considered difficult to fund.
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation is one of the larger independent grant-making foundations in the UK. We make grants to organisations which aim to maximise opportunities for individuals to experience a full quality of life, both now and in the future. In particular we are concerned with children and young people, and others who are disadvantaged.Find out more
We would also like to extend our gratitude to the official suppliers of Firing Up; Technology Supplies Ltd, Potclays ltd. and Pottery Crafts Ltd., whom we are pleased to recommend as suppliers of high quality ceramic resources to educational institutions.
Firing Up HEI Schools listFiring Up HEI Schools list (30KB Pdf File)