International Prize 2020

Convivial Clay

The 2020 Whitegold International Ceramic prize theme for this year is ‘Convivial Clay’. Our Quartz and Feldspar prizes will be awarded to the best projects that enable convivial community interactions through their engagement with food and clay.

The prize is open to artists and artist collectives from across the world including collaborations between artists, cooks, brewers and food producers.

Artists, partnerships or collectives are invited to submit two recent projects that demonstrate their work with the inter-relationships of people, clay, soil and food. The Whitegold 2020 jury will then select a maximum of five artists or groups to develop a proposal for a community project in St Austell that brings clay, food and people together in a convivial way. We are looking for art, craft and design using clay that combines environmental sustainability with creativity and welcome work that relates to cooking, eating, drinking, for creating a festive and sociable environment, ceramics for growing and even works that consider clay as a part of the soil and our life cycle. We are interested in environmentally friendly farming practices, in foraging, in locally and collectively grown produce as well as culinary delights that consider food miles, fairtrade and co-operative production.

Artists, partnerships or collectives selected for the second stage will be invited to propose a new project that involves working with a given community group in St Austell. Projects should have convivial social interactions at their heart and be clear about the ways in which they will bring people together to share skills, food and stories. Projects that have the potential to be sustained and developed by community groups after the festival are especially welcome.


We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Whitegold International Ceramics Prize 2020, we would like to extend our thanks to all those who entered.

For this year’s theme of ‘Convivial clay’ we are looking for art, craft or design combining clay and food. We welcome work relating to cooking, eating, drinking, for creating a festive and sociable environment, ceramics for growing and even works that considered clay as a part of the soil and our life cycle. We are interested in environmentally friendly farming practices, in foraging, in locally and collectively grown produce as well as culinary delights that consider food miles as well as fairtrade and co-operative production.

The prize is open to artists and artist collectives from across the world and this year we received submissions from as far afield as South America. There were over 40 high quality submissions for this specialist area of practice through which the material and human connections between clay and food are explored and the following four were selected by the Whitegold jurors for the shortlist:


Clayground Collective

Clayground Collective is a charity limited by guarantee run by 3 creative practitioners Duncan Hooson, Claire West and Julia Rowntree, who collaborate across artforms to engage the public, educators and researchers through clay.  They work collectively across disciplines with diverse practices, introducing experts to new locations and clay-based activities, creating unexpected responses and unfamiliar knowledge exchange. They seek institutional and educational partnerships to make things happen in both formal and informal learning settings. Their work is made possible through specialist freelancers, advisers, volunteers, and teams of students.

Clayground Collective connect with people nationally and internationally; produce large-scale nationwide projects, venue-based installations, symposia and talks, archaeological walks, ceramic research laboratories, commissions and bursaries. We often work with tonnes of clay in the public realm on large-scale participatory installations which enable people to get their hands dirty and create a sense of local community. We enquire together why we need clay and hand skills now.

Established in 2007, Clayground were awarded the national Craft Skills Award for “Commitment towards excellence in craft skills, success, ambition and exemplary and imaginative approaches to passing on clay skills” in 2013. In 2018 we were nominated for the h100 Awards, Art, Design and Craft Category, among the top 10 acknowledged creative influencers in London.

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this Prize as it merges with our own philosophy of responding to place and space, producing ambitious, creative, ceramic-based activities in the public realm with an element of performance and collective making, contributing to shared cultural memory.

Francesca Anfossi

Francesca Anfossi’s interdisciplinary practice takes the tradition of crafts as a starting point to make and collaborate, using ceramic as a core material. Inspired by the very nature of clay — a versatile, inclusive and non-hierarchal material — her various projects are conceived in direct collaboration with communities and evolve according to their needs. Her work most often takes the form of workshops, cooking classes or communal events, and offers participants opportunities to learn new skills and form new social bonds.

Anfossi is the co-founder and director of Rochester Square, a dynamic space in north London dedicated to socially engaging projects and artistic collaborations, where she recently completed the installation of temporary ceramic facilities for recreational use by artists, children and local residents alike.

By putting other people’s creations and interests forward, Anfossi aims to remove the barriers between art and craft, professional and amateur, work and leisure. Rather than appropriating the objects produced by other people, she wishes to celebrate their achievement and share it with their families, friends and the broader community. Within the context of the Whitegold Prize, Anfossi intends to create a space for experimentation and exchange, based on some of our most basic activities: cooking, playing and sharing.

Over the past five years, Anfossi has worked on commissions, exhibitions and projects with Whitechapel Gallery, London (2019-20), Salone del Mobile, Milan (2019), Centre for Audio Visual Experimentation, Leeds (2018), Frieze Art Fair (2018), the AIR Sefrou Residency, Morocco (2017) and the Camden Arts Centre, London (2015).

“I don’t work alone. My work is about other people’s hands. It is made with them and for them.”

The Portland Inn Project

The Portland Inn Project is a creative arts project that has been working with the community around Portland Street in the ceramic city of Stoke-on-Trent since 2015. It aims to achieve community cohesion, economic, social and cultural change through engaging the community in the development of a pioneering community space, cultural hub and social enterprise based in the disused Portland Inn. The project delivers a programme of events and activities developed in collaboration with and for local residents and these are often centred around sharing food and making with clay. The project advocates for people led change and the programme aims to create a counter narrative for a neighbourhood that. This community initiative is led by artists Anna Francis and Rebecca Davies with creative input from a wide range of other practitioners. It is supported by Creative Civic Change, AirSpace Gallery, Appetite, My Community Matters, Arts Council England and Stoke City Council.

The project questions the power and role of the artist as a neighbour and explores the role of artists in raising the aspirations of a neighbourhood, in challenging and reshaping the way an area is portrayed in the wider context of the city.

Portland Inn’s interest in the Whitegold Prize stems from a desire to bring their experience of working in community in Stoke-on-Trent to working in community in and around St Austell, exploring the importance of CLAY as a material that means so much to both places.

“The Portland Inn Project is thrilled to have made the shortlist for the Whitegold Prize. We can’t wait to make some connections with the project and Communities in Cornwall, and share the learning journey we have made over the past 5 years. This opportunity represents a new direction for our community and project, where we can celebrate the role that ceramics making processes and food sharing has had for us in a new context. Now more than ever we need to find creative ways to be together, even in sometimes challenging contexts.”


Grizedale Arts

Grizedale Arts is a unusual organisation based on a remote small-holding high above Coniston Water in the Lake District of England. It takes a pluralist approach functioning on many levels; as a local resource driving forward projects and strategies centred around the idea that art is a useful tool in everyday life. As an illustration of a way of working and thinking for artists, centred on being useful in a civic context. And as an international arts organisation leading projects across the globe in both art and non art contexts. All of this activity is drawn from existing, available resources, making the best of what we have, from raw materials to cultural heritage.

“Whitegold’s Convivial Clay is a fascinating and innovative programme that will draw on all elements of Grizedale’s activity, from farming and food, to community cohesion and development and all underpinned by making the best use of the people, the history and the raw materials of the area. Recycling and rethinking, drawing from existing culture to create hybrids that better service contemporary issues and needs. We look forward doing something that makes a difference to people’s lives, their ambitions and achievements.”

The shortlist artists are working with community groups local to St Austell including St Blazey Community Café and Edible St Austell.

In January 2020 the Whitegold Project released the names of the artists shortlisted for the Whitegold Prize and the process to research and propose projects with St Austell communities around the theme ‘Convivial Clay’ began. Little did we know that we’d soon be entering a period of lockdown in response to global pandemic and our artists, expert in managing projects that engage groups of people in communal creative activities, would have to find alternative ways of working in physically distant yet socially connected ways.

For ‘Window into Whitegold’ Curator Katie Bunnell and Festival Producer Cat Radford co-host a round table discussion with Clayground Collective, The Portland Inn Project and Grizedale Arts inviting the artists to share their plans for the Whitegold Prize 2020 and how they expect them to unfold.  We will also use the time we have with the artists to reflect on the strategies they have used elsewhere to keep their work with people active during lockdown and the how the pandemic has brought into relief what is important to them about working in, and with, communities. 

View the interview in the film below.

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