Whitegold International Prize

2019 International Prize Jurors

We were very pleased to have the support of an excellent team of jurors for the first year of our Prize in 2019, combining expert knowledge of contemporary ceramic art with expert knowledge of the china clay extraction industry along with local knowledge of St Austell community and place. Jurors were invited to rate submissions using criteria relative to the socially engaged prize theme and to create the shortlist of ten artists who were invited to come to St Austell to go on a field trip and present their work as part of Whitegold Festival 2019.


Dr Wendy Gers – Independent Curator, Director of Ceramics Residency & Research Associate, University of Johannesburg

Award-winning curator, consultant & scholar, Wendy is specialised in modern and contemporary ceramic art and design. She has curated major exhibitions on 3 continents including Biennales in China and Taiwan. Her curatorial leadership was celebrated by the City Press’s inclusion of Gers in its list of 100 ‘World-Class South Africans’ (2014).

In 2019 she founded Ceramics Residency, an international retreat that offers artists professional coaching and artistic mentoring, to advance their practices. Gers has authored numerous catalogues, book chapters and scholarly articles, including the acclaimed monograph on Southern African Potteries, Scorched Earth (Jacana Media, 2016). She has delivered over 60 public lectures in 20 countries, taught internationally, and was Academic Director of the post-graduate research laboratory, La Céramique Comme Experience (CCE) at ENSA Limoges (2015-2018).

Wendy is a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa), a member of the Board of Directors of The Studio Potter (USA) and the International Academy of Ceramics (Switzerland).


Stephen Dixon – Professor of Contemporary Crafts at Manchester School of Art investigating contemporary narratives in ceramics

Stephen’s specific research interests include the British satirical tradition (in both printmaking and ceramics), commemorative wares and ‘pop’ culture, and the development of socio-political narratives in contemporary ceramics. His work features in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Arts & Design, New York, the British Council, the Crafts Council, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Museum of Scotland, and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.

Stephen studied Fine Art at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Ceramics at the Royal College of Art, graduating in 1986. Early exhibitions in London with Contemporary Applied Arts and the Crafts Council established a reputation for ceramics with a biting political and social satire. 


Ashley Shopland

Ashley is the Cornish born and bred General Manager of Imerys’ local china clay business, based in St Austell.  The origins of china clay in Cornwall date back almost 275 years to its discovery on Tregonning Hill near Helston.  That search was stimulated by the use of china clay in Ceramic products, something that continues strongly to the modern day.  Imerys supplies over 350,000t per year of Cornish china clay into the global Ceramic market, for sanitaryware, tableware and tiles in the main.  Ashley’s keen interest arises from this and how artists can further interpret the world of Ceramics for this prize.


Jenny Beavan – International Ceramic Artist

Jenny’s work is an exploration into material and place observing in particular processes of interdependence between water and geological change. The intention is to capture a moment in a process of change and to reflect upon the physical and metaphorical aspects of a place as a vessel with containment. From her studio on Bodmin Moor, Jenny has worked closely with the china clay industrial landscape for more than 16 years and has undertaken three residencies with IMERYS Minerals as well as numerous residencies at centres of ceramic excellence worldwide. Jenny exhibits nationally and internationally and has work in collections in Japan, Germany, Greece, Korea, Finland and the USA.


John Hodkin – Eco-Bos

Ecobos are leading the development of West Carclaze Garden Village, a visionary project that will positively transform more than 500 acres of former china clay land in mid-Cornwall to create a vibrant and sustainable new eco-community with beautiful homes, excellent community and leisure facilities and an extensive country park. Ecobos are committed to participating fully in local St Austell and the China Clay area community.  “I have been with the company since its inception in 2010 and am a local boy who grew up in the St Austell area and look forward to playing a role in the Whitegold International Prize as it moves forward”


Dr Katie Bunnell – Co Curator Whitegold

Designer, maker and trained researcher, Katie is a creative practitioner who combines digital and physical processes in the production of ceramic art and design. Katie completed an MA in Ceramics & Glass at the Royal College of Art, London in 1993, where she was a Darwin Scholar, and she was awarded a doctorate in 1998 for her practice based research thesis, The Integration of New Technologies in to Ceramic Designer-Maker Practice. Until 2015 she was Associate Professor of Design at Falmouth University where she created Autonomatic, an award winning design research collective exploring the relationships between craft making and digital technologies.


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