First, a big “Thank you” to all who completed this survey. It is much appreciated, and we apologise to those who tried, but for some reason the survey wouldn’t let them complete it!
The survey response was remarkable with 15.9% response on a total emailed of 1259. (Our marketing friends tell us that 8% is viewed as very good!)
The results were also very consistent:
with 77% concerned that Ceramics was not being adequately supported
97% feeling there was a need for a National Ceramic Art Centre of some kind.
95% were in favour of a trust being set up
75% being prepared to give some monetary support in principle.
A small minority felt that the survey did not give the opportunity for negative comment and was biased. This was not the intention and we had thought there was plenty of opportunity to say ‘No’ in the different questions for those that wished.
The location of any physical centre was dominated, not surprisingly, by support for the Midlands – with 58% (38% East, 20% West Midlands), with London (10%) and Yorkshire (11%) following well behind.
Of the facilities that should be offered, many wanted most of those suggested, but the most popular (looking at most important, ‘5’ and next most important ‘4’ selections) were:
Exhibitions (real and virtual)
A public voice
All of which were chosen by more than two thirds of participants.
However, the real message is that all the categories suggested
Were given more than average response, the least popular (with an average of 3.02 out of 5) being Travel and Tours.
It is clear that there is, from this sample alone, a great deal of concern that more needs to be done to help Ceramic Craft/Art in Britain. There seems to be a feeling that while existing organisations are all helping a lot, somehow, between everyone, the ‘whole, bigger picture’ of what is happening is being missed. We have had contact with most CPA Council members and CPA has offered to help in any way that it can. We will also seek views and discussion with the Crafts Council and other key Arts/Crafts/Design bodies.
Many people cited examples of courses closing, both in schools and further education. A reduction in galleries specialising in Ceramics was also widely noted, although there was a reminder by some that as galleries close – others open! The turning of ceramics courses into more general arts courses was highlighted. The loss of funding and firing facilities were also mentioned more than once.
Interesting comments on other areas where a central focus could be brought to bear included:
Liaison with other connected parties such as industrial ceramics, chefs and restaurants
Arranging TV coverage, emerging talent contests etc.
Communication at government level re education policy
An archive facility, library, database
Stronger links with potters/artists from other countries
Apprenticeship support and mentors
An annual international market
So, where do we go from here? Well it seems clear – even from this, quite limited, survey that there is – amongst those approached (mostly the ‘Save Rufford’ petitioners and members (Makers and galleries) of http://www.studiopottery.co.uk ) – a real concern about the direction and future of Contemporary Ceramic Craft/Art in this country. It could be argued (and we have heard this criticism) that this group “would say that wouldn’t they” but with respect – the people completing this survey are in many cases very close to what is happening – and they are concerned by what they see!
Our view from what we are hearing is that ‘clay craft/art in this country is being remorselessly diminished in many locations, quietly and relentlessly – without anyone drawing together the larger picture and complaining much about what has or is taking place. That the larger picture appears to show a significant loss of training and skills and facilities in an area of the arts where there is real unsatisfied demand!’
Where is the National voice drawing attention to this ‘death by a thousand cuts’?
Where is the attention being drawn to a widespread closure of courses, closure of kiln facilities, dilution of quality (e.g. Rufford) that is taking place in the name of cost-efficiency?
We feel that what you have told us gives sufficient support for us to spend the next 3 months – until the end of June looking at the possibility of creating a National Ceramic Art Centre in some form and preparing a strategy paper on ‘the way forward’ for discussion with interested parties by the end of that period.
We will look at:
The overall framework and vision
We will start research into what is currently available within other organisations, seeking their advice and avoiding reinventing wheels that already exist
We will explore views on education and start to consider how other countries encourage clay craft/art in schools and colleges
We will look at existing information sources and see if they can be coordinated/enhanced to provide comprehensive coverage
We will explore the possibility of creating a public platform and consider how ceramics can be brought to a more visible position
We will look at exhibitions and the longer term potential for a physical National Exhibition Centre in some form
We will contact other International organisations and identify opportunities for greater co-operation/learning.
The possibility of creating a Trust and start to investigate the structure and formation issues
At the end of 3 months we will let you know our findings to date and what the possible options might be in the next steps towards creating a national focus for ceramic craft/art through a Trust and National Centre.
With best wishes and thanks for your support,
12 MARCH 2008
NATIONAL CERAMIC ART CENTRE SURVEY
DETAILED SUMMARY OF RESULTS
1. The summary was successfully emailed to 1259 individuals (comprising 852, who had completed the ‘save Rufford Petition’ and left an email address, 371 members of http://www.studiopottery.co.uk (makers and galleries) and 36 other possibly interested parties)
There have been 226 replies to 12 March 2008 which when adjusted for replies from those not originally emailed gives 15.9% response to date. For a survey of this type 8% is considered excellent, double that is a huge vote of support!
(Please keep replies coming if you haven’t replied yet – if you can’t get the survey to work email email@example.com for a pdf file and he will input your response)
The results were as follows:
1. Adequate support for Ceramics in the last 5 years?
Yes: 5% (12)
No: 77% (175)
Don’t know 18% (39)
18 individuals indicated areas (courses, galleries, schools programs) where there had been extra support, while 187 gave examples of reductions of support in the same areas, plus a number of examples of reduced funding.
2. Need for a National Centre for Ceramic Craft/Arts
Yes: 97% (219)
No: 3% (7)
3. Should a Trust (National Ceramic Art Trust) be created to run a National Centre?
Yes: 95% (214)
No: 5% (12)
Over 75% (170) would be prepared to be a member or stakeholder if a Trust were created and a similar number would be prepared to offer some financial support – nearly half indicating £25, while a further quarter would think about £50 and the final 25% £100 or more. A strong and supportive result.
4. The location of any Physical Centre?
East Midlands 38%
West Midlands 20%
South West 6%
All other regions had less than 4% support.
5. Facilities to be provided by a National Centre
Description Ranking 4&5*
Real and Virtual Exhibitions 83.0% (188)
International links 81.0% (183)
Information source 77.9% (176)
Education Programme, inc.Schools 73.8% (167)
Provision of a public voice 72.1% (163)
Residencies and Exchange Visits 67.7% (153)
Research 65.9% (149)
Marketing/promotion advice 61.5% (139)
Group Stands at Design/Art Shows 58.0% (131)
Best practice guidelines 53.5% (121)
Electronic forum/news blog 50.0% (113)
Market place for surplus equipment 45.6% (103)
Group discounts 45.6% (103)
Travel and Tours 29.0% (66)
*Survey offered choice of levels 1 -5. (5 being deemed ‘most important’ and this table adds together the number of people selecting 4&5.)
6. Available skills and Resources?
Over half (57%) of those responding offered help of one sort or another, which as we develop the study paper, we will be very grateful for help when this becomes appropriate.