National Association for Ceramics in Higher Education

NACHE is the National Association for Ceramics in Higher Education, an organisation made up of higher-level ceramics courses in the UK and Northern Ireland. The members meet annually and also organise events, seminars and exhibitions which aim to promote ceramics in art and design education.


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.


British Ceramics Biennale: Original Spode Factory Site

28 September - 10 November 2013

FRESH showcases the best of the current crop of UK ceramics graduates. The exhibition represents the range of activity of graduates within the field, which is anticipated to include work from across the ceramic spectrum: studio pottery, tableware and industrial design, figurative and abstract sculpture, installation.

FRESH is co-curated by the BCB Directors and NACHE. Our partnership with the Biennial forms an important platform for the advocacy for sustaining ceramics in higher education.

Ceramic Contemporaries: Our exhibition history

As educators in ceramics we wanted to bring new works to a wider audience and in 1993 organised the first Ceramic Contemporaries exhibition, run as a national competition for students and recent graduates. This became a triennial event held in high profile venues and working in partnership with national organisations. The first 2 exhibitions (1993 and1996) were held at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the third (1999) was at the Royal College of Art, followed by a tour to 4 galleries and museums. The partner for the 4th exhibition was Aberystwyth Art Centre. It took place in Spring 2002 at the Royal College of Art and Aberystwyth.

Following in the footsteps of Ceramic Contemporaries, since 2009 NACHE have partnered with British Ceramics Biennial to create FRESH, which has continued to showcases the best of the current crop of UK ceramics graduates. The partnership with the BCB marks the beginning of a new era, of collaboration and collective advocacy.

UK Institutions - where can I study ceramics?

The institutions and collages listed here all have provision for the delivery of ceramics within mutli-disciplinary courses and in some cases, as a single subject. Collectively, our institutions cover the broad spectrum of ceramics practice and research - across design, craft and art disciplines. There are opportunities to study at BA, MA and Phd level.


For specific UK course enquiries, please contact courses directly via their universities website.

For more general educational and field enquiries, please contact NACHE representatives:

Helen Felcey:

Andrew Livingstone:

NACHE welcomes involvement from those interested in advocacy, discussion and development of ceramics practice across all educational levels.