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International judges welcomed as city’s World Craft City status is assessed

Stoke-on-Trent’s bid to gain World Craft City status reaches a climax this week as a panel of international judges from the World Crafts Council arrive to make their expert assessment. Arriving on Staffordshire Day, 1 May, the panel will be welcomed with a civic reception where they’ll be presented with a commemorative plate specially crafted by Duchess China. They then embark on a three-day programme of site visits and conversations across the city.

Achieving the World Craft City title could be a significant milestone for Stoke-on-Trent which would emphasise, on a global scale, our rich heritage in ceramics and crafts. This designation under the World Crafts Council’s Craft City programme would offer the city worldwide recognition, showcasing our area’s unique craft expertise on a coveted international platform. The status could attract more tourists, boost local innovation, and foster knowledge exchange and partnerships both locally and around the world. It would also encourage governmental and institutional support, aiding in the sustainable development of our local craft industries.

Paul Williams, Board member at Stoke Creates cultural compact, and tourism expert spearheading the city’s application, said: “It’s widely acknowledged that Stoke-on-Trent’s geography, history and identity have been indelibly shaped by craftsmanship and making links to ceramics over the past three centuries. As we continue to capitalise on the city’s newfound confidence and our future as a globally significant centre of art, crafts and contemporary culture, the attribution of World Craft City will not only celebrate the contribution made by the Potteries nationally, but help to boost our reputation as a creative destination globally.”

Gaining World Craft City status would also align Stoke-on-Trent with around 60 other prestigious ‘Craft Cities’ globally, enhancing our network and collaborative opportunities. The affiliation could enable the city to share knowledge and best practices, helping to preserve and innovate within the craft sector alongside other recognised craft hubs with international reputations.

The judges’ assessment and recommendation will be forwarded to the World Crafts Council’s next general meeting, leaving the city just a few months to receive news of their decision.



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