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Stoke on Trent, City of Culture

Together We Make the City

We are Stoke-on-Trent; we make things

We make art from dirt. What we make here reaches the four corners of the globe. There is nowhere else like us in the UK. The city is uniquely polycentric – six distinct towns, one city – a radical idea of place. We are the place where art, technology and commerce come together to create beauty through craftsmanship.

We are at a crucial point in our history. Stoke-on-Trent still suffers from the legacy of decades of decline. But in our past success lies the basis of our recovery. Our ceramics manufacturing industry is growing once again; we are still the World Capital of Ceramics. New companies are forming at record levels. We boast world-class cultural assets in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and World of Wedgwood.

Theatre, art and design flourish here. We have a rapidly growing creative sector in which digital production is prominent.

Nowhere but Stoke-on-Trent can tell a story that links the earth we walk upon to the process of creation, and from there to the social and economic development of a community and city.

Image courtesy of Paul Pickard
History

Stoke-on-Trent has been shaped by the business of culture for over 250 years. It is known nationally and internationally as a historic centre of craftsmanship and making. Culture and the creative economy lie at the heart of our identity. We know that culture can support employment, shape communities, instil pride and raise profile and reputation.

Geography

Stoke-on-Trent boasts an unusual convergence of geography and cultural identity: it is still described as ‘The Potteries’ on Ordnance Survey maps and is widely known as such. The city lies at the intersection of north-south and east-west routes and is well-placed to attract a wide audience. There are 3.1 million people living within 60 minutes’ drive of the city.

Assets

We have a strong cultural base with outstanding museums, theatres and creative spaces, all of which deserve a larger audience. In the RSA’s Heritage Index for England, Stoke-on-Trent is ranked 35 out of 325 for museums, archives and artefacts. The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, the World of Wedgwood and the New Vic Theatre are internationally recognised. We have a thriving creative sector which encompasses everything from traditional making to digital production. We are currently investing £52m in improving our key cultural assets, reflecting our belief in the transformative power of culture.

Expertise

Stoke-on-Trent has experience of hosting major cultural programmes and large scale events including the £8m Appetite programme, Art City, the British Ceramics Biennial and the European City of Sport. We have the expertise in our creative sector to deliver innovative arts programming to diverse communities in both traditional and non-traditional spaces.

Need

In 2015 Stoke-on-Trent was ranked as the thirteenth most deprived local authority in England out of 326 districts. We have below average rates of educational attainment and life expectancy, and an above average rate of worklessness. We also suffer from a poor public profile nationally due to adverse media coverage in the past. Yet we also have one of the fastest growing economies in the UK; unemployment rates have declined faster than the national average; and the city has been rated as one of the best places in the country to start a business.