Whitegold Prize 2019


The first Whitegold International Ceramic Prize is a celebration of clay in relationship with people, culture and place. The winners of the prize will be invited to make a new piece of work drawing on the history and culture of St Austell’s industrial and post-industrial landscape and its global china clay connections.

Artists, collectives and CIC’s from around the world are invited to submit works that use clay to inspire new perspectives and insights into place – the specific character of a location that makes it unique. All work of exceptional quality that connects people and place through creativity with clay will be considered. Submitted artwork should ideally be culturally and environmentally aware and socially engaged. 

The Whitegold Ceramic Prize is an award in two parts. Winners will receive a cash prize, along with a paid commission for the development of a new work for St Austell.

Quartz Award: £10,000 with an additional £5,000 to develop a new local artwork between Jan-Mar 2020

Feldspar Award: £5,000 and an additional £2,500 to develop a new local artwork between Jan-Mar 2020


Submission Guidelines

Established and emerging artists from all parts of the world are invited to submit 2 completed projects undertaken between 2014 and 2019. Each project submission must include as minimum an excellent visual record of work and a 500 word overview of each of project including a summary of how it connects with the theme of the award.

A maximum of 8 shortlisted artists will be invited to St Austell for a tour of the region’s clay country before submitting a statement of intent for a new project that draws on the culture of the St Austell area and its connections through clay to people in Cornwall, the UK and the rest of the world. The jury will select two artists from the shortlist as final winners to develop their proposal for completion in time for the 2020 Whitegold Festival.

  • End May 2019:  Announcement of 2019 Whitegold Prize and call out for applications
  • End July 2019: First submission deadline
  • Beg Sept: Shortlist announced
  • Sept 20/21st: Shortlisted artists’ field trip to St Austell clay country and Whitegold Festival
  • End Sept: Deadline for statement of intent for new work
  • End Oct: Winners announced
  • Jan – Mar 2020: Artworks developed in discussion with curator
  • May 2020: Artworks ready to be installed
  • Festival 2020: Prize ceremony

Submissions must be made through CuratorSpace using the link below. Please note to make a submission all artists must register with CuratorSpace before uploading details. CuratorSpace will guide you through this process.


For the purposes of the prize

  • An Artist Collective is understood as a group of artists working together towards a common objective.
  • Socially engaged practice, also referred to as social practice or socially engaged art, can include any artform which involves people and communities in practice, debate, collaboration or social interaction.


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.


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. 


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).


John Hodkin – Managing Director of 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”


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.


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.