Call for Ceramic Artists


We are pleased to announce that the deadline for applications has been extended to Monday 8th May 2017. Please see the timescales for production below for details.

Bring your unique ceramic skills to a collaborative project for an exhibition organised by ECAlab at the RIBA North, a new national architecture centre on the Liverpool Waterfront. ECAlab (Environmental Ceramics for Architecture Laboratory) brings together ceramicists, architects, engineers, academics, manufacturers and leading professionals to explore the possibilities of ceramics in light control for architecture. We embrace the role of emerging digital technologies while working alongside ceramicists to explore the interpretative possibilities of traditional craft skills. Since 2011, our work has been presented and published internationally, and we have produced a number of physical ceramic prototypes. These are designed in digital platforms and may use emerging file to factory techniques, but fundamentally they are made by professional ceramicists using traditional techniques. We are looking for ceramicists, ceramic artists, and studio potters to collaborate in the development of an exciting new exhibition, Moulding Futures, which will be held at RIBA North (ROYAL INSTITUTE OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS), during October-December 2017. Alongside this exhibition there will be a programme of events, this will include the production of a film, lectures and the Ceramic Futures Symposium. Collaborators will be invited to attend and participate in these supporting events. We are seeking individuals with a proven track record of delivering bespoke and highly crafted ceramic pieces, showing a strong personal signature style, to offer their own creative solutions to a design challenge. This is part of a broader project that aims to inspire a future generation of ceramicists, makers, architects and engineers.

Project Details

As part of the exhibition, we will be making a full-scale ceramic ceiling. This ceiling will be made from a number of ceramic light diffusing ‘cones’. These cones have been designed and engineered to maximise light diffusion within a ‘gallery space’ scenario (this essentially allows the light to bounce diagonally down the cone so that when it emerges at the opening of the cone there is no direct light, which is not desirable in a gallery). We have made in the region of 200 slip cast white high gloss glazed cones which will be hung within a ceiling grid. We would like to use the production of this ceiling as a platform to interrogate new ideas and explore how these cones could be made by a range of ceramicists with very different working methods or techniques, manufacturing processes and knowledge of different clay bodies, to bring individuality and generate new ways of thinking about these cones. Chosen ceramicists will be invited to make a minimum of 4 cones. The cones produced should adhere to the ‘principles’ of the design, such as light diffusion, and the base dimension for hanging the cone within a set size ceiling grid, but makers are asked to question, interpret and interrogate the ceramic surface to make a bespoke and crafted interpretation. The aim of this work is to look at the sustainability of production and as such we are not looking for makers to replicate the white cones that we already have, but to embrace local clays, local craftsmanship skills and their individual wealth of ceramic knowledge.

Manufacture Support

Depending upon the individual’s working methods and particular skills, chosen collaborators will be offered a range of information to produce the cones, which could include:

  • 2d drawings and plans, sections and elevations.
  • Digital 3d modelling files (as a .3dm file) for your manipulation or experimentation.
  • Physical 3d printed objects to use as a mould or former.
  • 3 part Plaster slip cast mould

On the application form, makers should make it clear which information will be required and how you would propose to use this information. Chosen makers will responsible for sculpting, firing and glazing their individual pieces, and testing their clay bodies to achieve shrinkage within set parameters (after final firing) to ensure that the cones fit into a pre-made ceiling grid. Makers will also be asked to commit to completing the cones before August 30th 2017, and ready for installation at the gallery from Friday 01st September 2017.

Collaborators Workshops

Chosen makers will be invited to attend 2 collaborators workshop days. In our first meeting, documents and physical artefacts will be issued to the collaborators. Here full details will be given regarding the design parameters and the reasons for the form of the cones. This will be an opportunity to discuss initial ideas for production and answer any questions regarding manufacture. Whilst ECAlab will provide as much technical guidance as possible, we would like makers to acknowledge that we are looking for personal interpretation and as such we are looking to help sculpt your interpretations rather than define your outcomes. Our second meeting is envisioned as an event in which collaborators will have the opportunity to present their completed pieces, different approaches and production processes, including the exhibition of physical materials. It will also provide the ground for a discussion about outputs, interpretations, and explorations for future research lines. These workshops will be open to the public, and have been proposed as a TATE Exchange project at TATE Liverpool, currently under review.

Collaborator/Maker Credits and Future Works

In the future, we would like to record and present the developmental work for each of the pieces (tests, maquettes, glaze experiment tags, sketch pages, etc.) from the collaborators involved. As such Collaborators will be asked to provide copies of sketches and material testing as outlined in the timescale for delivery. All ceramic work or supporting sketch work submitted by collaborators will be fully credited within the exhibition and symposium. As a Collaborator, ceramic practitioners will be offered a biography page on the ECAlab website which will link to their own web page, the exhibition, the RIBA, and a number of international professional organisations. Collaborators will also be offered the opportunity to attend the Architectural Ceramics symposium as part of the exhibition event. Following on from this exhibition, we hope to exhibit this work internationally within a range of ceramics and architectural fora. It is also proposed that there will be a book/publication in which collaborators will feature alongside international presenters at the symposium.


We can offer chosen collaborators a modest honorarium of £200 towards travel and materials, but makers’ time, materials and expenses beyond this will be covered by the collaborator. Final pieces will be retained by ECAlab for future exhibition (please see details below).

Ownership and Copyright

This collaborative project should generate a minimum of 4 ceramic cones from each ceramicist, but the final number will be confirmed by the ceramicist upon submission of developmental work, so that appropriate space can be allocated. ECAlab will retain ownership and all copyright for the original digital files and physical artefacts given to the ceramicist, which should be returned to ECAlab upon request or at the end of the project. ECAlab understands that ceramicists will invest their own time and materials within this collaboration and as such the ceramicist will retain ownership of their physical ceramic outputs. ECAlab reserves the right to use any manipulated digital files or physical outputs, sketches, maquettes or developmental work resulting from this collaboration for use within future exhibitions or written publications. ECAlab, will retain the finished cones for a period of approximately 12 months after the close of the exhibition in order to carry out physical testing within a heliodon and for publication purposes.

Participation and Choice of Collaborators

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of professionals that will include ceramicists, academics, architects and curators. The panel will assess applications based on the individual’s originality, previous collaborative experience, track record of delivery and ECAlab’s desire to generate a varied range of approaches and techniques. There is currently no fixed maximum or minimum number of collaborators invited to participate, and this will be at the discretion of the panel assessing the applications.

Application Requirements

Collaboration Application Form This includes general contact details and should be completed by all applicants.

Collaborator Statement

In no more than 800 words, you are asked to describe your working practices, Ceramic processes, clay bodies, techniques and inspirations.


You are asked to provide information about:

  • Where you studied, or equivalent experience and where your career has taken you;
  • Any residencies, exhibitions you have been included in, any solo shows, or awards and prizes;
  • Any people that you collaborate with;
  • Any other relevant information.
  • Images of Work

You are asked to provide images of your work. These could include overall images of the piece and detail images of texture and glaze. Images of work should be as .jpegs of no more than 1mb each labelled with the collaborators name.

Digital and Physical Information

You are asked to indicate what information you would need to complete the project, and suggest how you would use this information. If you propose to generate your own moulds or formers please explain how you will do this.


You will also be asked to estimate how many cones you will create (minimum of 4) and include any early thoughts that you may have had.

Timescale For Delivery

1st April 2017 – Call of collaborations launch Information will be advertised through a number of agencies and will be available at and

We are excited by the variety and number of applications we have already received, thank you to every one that has shown an interest so far.

Acknowledging what a busy time it is with the Easter break, we are pleased to announce that the deadline for applications has been extended to Monday 8th May 2017.

Applications should be sent to by Monday 8th May 2017.

Successful collaborators will be notified by Monday 15th May

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or queries.

Collaboration application form, and supporting information should be sent by email/digitally to before the deadline date.

Paper applications should be received before the deadline date and submitted with digital images included on a CD DVD and sent to: Attention Rosa Urbano Gutiérrez Ceramic Ceiling Collaboration Liverpool School of Architecture Leverhulme Building,  Abercromby Square, Liverpool, United Kingdom L69 3BX May 2017 – First Collaborators Workshop (Date and venue TBC) This will be a chance for chosen collaborators to meet, discuss ideas and documents and physical artefacts issued. 28th July 2017 – Sketches and development work Chosen collaborators will be asked to submit images and scans of developmental work and photographs of work in progress by email or paper copy and to confirm the number of cones that they will provide (minimum of 4) By 1st September 2017 – Completed ‘cones’ will be delivered to: Attention Rosa Urbano Gutiérrez Ceramic Ceiling Collaboration Liverpool School of Architecture Leverhulme Building,  Abercromby Square, Liverpool, United Kingdom L69 3BX Collaborators will be responsible for their safe transit and delivery. November 2017 – Second Collaborators Workshop (Date and venue TBC) This will be a chance for chosen collaborators to present their completed pieces, different approaches and production processes, including the exhibition of physical materials.

Contact and Questions

If you have any queries about the exhibition, application requirements or production requirements, or you would like to discuss collaboration with the ECAlab please email [camera slideshow=”block”]