Leach Pottery Artist in Residence Programme


The Leach Pottery welcomes a minimum of four resident artists each year and greatly value the exchange of ideas and practices with potters from across the world. We offer the unique experience of working in Bernard Leach’s historic home and workplace, the opportunity to exhibit work in our gallery and to contribute to our learning programme through workshops and master-classes.

For the work made during the period of the residency onsite we allow artists the use of the Leach Pottery stamp alongside their own personal mark or signature, identifying the place of production as Leach Pottery, St Ives. 

The length of stay is up to ten weeks and arrangements for payment of costs are worked out accordingly. A resident may be offered the option to pay in kind for studio space usually through master-classes and sales of work. We do require artists to pay firing and material costs and have limited on site accommodation with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities for use by students, volunteers and resident artists, and for which there is a charge.

Depending on your needs there are different areas of the site where you can work;

  • Clore Learning Studio (Base for L&P Department)
  • Bernard Leach’s old Studio (Used for Throwing Courses)
  • Old Pottery (part of the museum site open to the public)
  • Studio (working studio with up to 7 potters making standard ware

We prefer residents to work in the Old Pottery where they are able to engage with the public. However, all these areas can be used in different ways. There would need to be some flexibility as to where you are based and this may need to be changed if the space becomes temporarily unavailable. We would be happy for you to spend time in different areas of the site during your stay depending on your requirements.


Guidance notes for Residency applicants


The Leach Pottery accepts applications in response to an Open Call for Applications and invites individuals to participate. Please do not submit applications when there is no advertised Call for applications.


These notes are to help applicants apply to the Leach Pottery Residency Programme.


Before you start writing an application, it might be helpful to consider whether you are eligible, and at the right point in your career to undertake such a commitment.  Consider the following points:


Is this residency right for you?

Public engagement is a part of the Leach Pottery residency programme, which sits within the Learning and Participation Department of the Leach Pottery. Residents can hold regular open studios where visitors can come into the studio, see the resident at work and ask questions about their practice. There is also an opportunity to work in the old pottery itself, which is open to the public and there would be a daily interaction with visitors.


In addition to this, residents have the opportunity of working with staff from the Learning & Participation Department and Studio to develop workshops, talks, lectures and activities for a range of audiences. Depending on the resident’s interests and experience, these can include schools, families, students, adults and community groups.


If you don’t enjoy working with the public, and are not comfortable sharing your work in progress through open studio sessions or workshops etc., then this particular Residency may not be for you.


Are you interested in the Leach Pottery collections?

Are you excited about having behind the scenes access to collections, to have the opportunity to study objects closely and to develop ideas around the Museum’s holdings? The Leach Pottery is keen to receive proposals that reinterpret or shed new light on our collections, site and the Leach legacy.


Are you at the right stage in your career?

Are you at a point where you want to have some time and head space to focus upon a new direction in your practice, or develop new skills that will support new work? Are you interested in working on a site with a vibrant community of makers at all stages of their career?


We offer two avenues for participating in the Leach Pottery Residency Programme. There is an open call for applications, which is geared towards two ‘emerging artist’ residencies. We are seeking committed and focused early career ceramicists, who will be able to utilise the Leach Pottery’s resources to assist in establishing their practice. This opportunity will provide you with a dedicated space to make and an opportunity for greater exposure of your work.


We also select two residents by invitation. These are aimed at  ‘Master Potter’ ceramicists who have worked independently for a number of years and have substantial experience in working within the discipline stated. If you believe you fit into this category, and don’t believe the application process is the right fit for you, please get in touch with our office and we will consider your proposal as space allows.


Can you make the commitment?

You will want to make the most of the opportunity if you are offered a Residency. It is understood that you may have other commitments during the residency.  However, we hope that you will be at the Leach Pottery for much of the working week, and sometimes at in the evenings and weekends as part of our events programme. It is an opportunity to leave your normal work behind and free yourself to explore new ideas.



Are you able to fund your residency? We are able to provide a letter of support if applying for grants, but we currently are not in a position to fund residencies. To be determined on an individual basis, we may be able to accept payment in-kind. It is possible that you can mitigate the cost of your residency by offering workshops, talks, or otherwise volunteering your time to the Leach Pottery.


International Residencies

All of our residencies are open to internationally based practitioners, as well as UK residents.  Successful applicants to our resident artist programme who are not UK nationals will need to apply for a UK visa through the usual process. The Leach Pottery will be available to support visa applications.


Application deadline

The application deadlines will be published on the Leach Pottery website.


Preparing your application.

Leave yourself as much time as possible to do some background research and think through your proposal. You should consider the following:


The main aims of the residency programme:

·       To provide early career potters an opportunity for growth and exposure or established potters a break from their routine and a chance to develop new ideas with a fresh audience

·       To draw in visitors and engage with the public, inspiring interest in creative practice and making

·       To illustrate how the old pottery would be like with potters in production and give the public a chance to see the process of making

·       To create links between the Leach Pottery’s collections and contemporary art, craft, and design practice

·       To encourage relationships and cultural exchange with other practitioners around the world


The selection criteria:

Proposals should be dynamic, ambitious and inspiring – pushing forward the boundaries of perception about creative practice. We are looking for an applicant who can adopt a range of different roles and who is keen to draw upon the resources of the Leach Pottery and to enter into a dialogue with the public.


Completing the online form & how applications are considered

Your written application should be completed and sent to our office at office@leachpottery.com



Online Application Questions

Guidance Notes


Essential information



  • Complete Personal Details
  • Supply names, contact details and relationship details for 2 potential references
  • Ability to work in the UK


This section is self explanatory, you should complete this including details of references. Your references should both be individuals who you have recently worked with in terms of your art practice / arts education experience.



Past Experience


Describe your creative practice and the thinking behind it.


The originality and quality of your work, and level of skills used to make the work including your past exhibition / display / exposure record



Give details of any experience you have of working in a community or educational environment, or with working with the public.


Your past experience of working with the public as an artist or designer. An education qualification is certainly not expected, but some experience of working with the public is desirable.


The Residency

The Residency (your proposal)



This section focuses on what you want to do at the Leach Pottery during the residency. Show that you have undertaken some research into the collections, visited the web site. Communicate why the collections of the Leach Pottery are relevant to the project you are proposing.




Give details of how you propose to use this opportunity to develop your practice.


Describe how this particular residency will help to take forward your practice. Discuss what new skills or research you would like to explore and outline why you think this is the right time for you to participate in this programme.



Give details on how you propose to respond to the Leach Pottery’s collections.


This section should include suggestions of areas of the collection or current onsite work that you might wish to use for research, possibly specific objects. You should give a clear indication of how you think you might work with the Leach Pottery’s collections and other study resources and how these will impact on your work.



Give details of how you might engage with the Leach Pottery’s audiences (and those of any associated partner organisations).


You should also propose ideas for hands on working with the public, actively engaging visitors in the LEACH POTTERY collections and enabling them to develop their own creativity. Online activities are welcomed as well as practical workshops and activities.  All residents are expected to open their studio space to the public, so include -some suggestions of how your studio might interpret the creative process for visitors. The Leach Pottery has a diverse audience and so do consider the different audiences that you might wish to work with.



Give an outline of how you envisage engaging the public with the process of developing creative work.


How will you communicate creative process using your practice? How will visitors experience this?



Additional Information



Any other information or skills that you think are relevant to this application.


Give details of any specialist skills that you have which may be relevant to the application.


Please send a recent c.v.


Upload your CV, make sure this includes information on your whole career, including group and solo exhibitions, performances, commissions, publications, your education, teaching or community experience etc.  



Is there any further information that you think is relevant to this opportunity?


Any further information you think is relevant.


Please send up to 8 images at about 70dpi with details of the image, materials used and date made.


Ensure that your images are about the right size to email.


Technical Requirements



Please let us know your requirements for space, clay, glazes, wheels etc.


Do you require accommodation onsite?


What happens next?

Applications are considered by at least three members of staff. Do include all the information you want the panel to see in your online application. Short listing will take place within a few days after the application closing date, if you have been contacted by the Leach Pottery then there will be a timetable arranged to suit your needs.


Once a short list has been selected, unsuccessful candidates are informed by email and short listed candidates are contacted for discussion.


If you are offered the residency, an agreement is sent for you to sign and plans and preparations are then made for your arrival at the Leach Pottery.



Residency Information – support and resources for appointed residents.


  • Residents are NOT expected to pay for the renting of studio space
  • Materials costs to be agreed separately
  • Studio support is provided but the level of support needs to be agreed in advance
  • Accommodation onsite is offered in Beagle Cross. Beagle Cross houses our Clore Learning Space and a 4 bedroom flat above for residents, apprentices and volunteers- for rent see below
  • We are unable to help with travel costs or living expenses.
  • Each studio space will have a wheel, water, electricity, chairs, tables and storage. There is also access to a pugmill, extruder, slab roller, selection of clays, glazes and glaze making facilities. Adaptions can be made for indivduals where we know and agree in advance
  • We have electric, gas, wood/soda, and raku kilns onsite that you are able to use
  • Residents can be given access to a computer for the duration of their residency if required
  • Residents have access to the Leach Pottery library and resource room with over 700 books. Our library catalogue is accessible online for further information