The organisation NACHE (all pronunciations valid) aims to promote ceramics in art and design education, and this has been its remit for almost 30 years.
NACHE was formed in 1983 when a meeting was called at the Royal Collage of Art for BA and MA ceramics course leaders from the UK to discuss common issues and the wider agenda of how to popularise ceramic courses. Since the organization was formed, ceramic education in Britain has undergone significant changes. Perhaps the most visible of these changes is that the majority of ceramic graduates now emerge from trans-discipline rather than single subject ceramics courses. Ceramic provisions are embedded within a whole host of programmes within craft, design and art environments.
Since 2008, NACHE has worked in partnership with British Ceramics Biennial to stage a series of new exhibitions entitled 'FRESH' and research symposiums. The partnership with the Biennial forms a new important platform for the advocacy for sustaining ceramics in higher education. It is important to note that these exhibitions and related events were preceded by the long-standing 'Ceramic Contemporaries' exhibitions, which ran between 1993-2004, which kept the discipline in the public eye and attracted many individuals to ceramics who are shaping the field today.
In recent years post-graduate research in Ceramics has burgeoned in institutions with a significant increase in MA provision coupled with the development of practice based PhD's, as a result academic opportunities within ceramic practice have broadened significantly.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Crafts Council's national programme 'Firing Up' highlighting clay and ceramics has firmly taken route. Now in it's third year and working with a further three host HE institutions, this scheme is supporting schools in using clay creatively and confidently, optimising its educational value for students and creating sustainable local links. There is a wealth of important activity underway, supporting and expanding the field of ceramics at all levels.
We now live in a very dynamic world, where new and emerging technologies are expanding and challenging material practice. Whilst harnessing the rich history of clay, our UK courses provide the opportunity to critique and re-define the role of this medium in today's society.