Julian Stair - Biography

Research Profile

Artist Profile


Julian Stair is a potter and writer who has exhibited internationally over the last 30 years and has work in over 20 public collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, British Council, American Museum of Art & Design, Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Museum Boijmams van Beuningen. He is currently working towards Quietus, an Arts Council England funded solo exhibition that will explore the containment of the human body in death at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art before touring to National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and other venues in the UK. Recent exhibitions include a solo show during the Edinburgh Festival at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh 2010. Group exhibitions in 2011 include Award & Explore Spode, British Ceramic Biennial; Overthrown: Clay without Limits, Denver Art Museum, USA; Vanguard Court, Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art, Japan.

Academic posts include Senior Lecturer at the University of Roehampton, London,1987-98; Fellow in Craft & Criticism at the University of Northumbria,1998-9; Research Fellow at the Royal College of Art, 2004; Senior Research Fellow at University of Arts, London, 2002-2011. He has been a regular contributor to ceramic journals since the mid 1980s and completed a PhD Critical Writing on English Studio Pottery: 1910-1940 at the Royal College of Art in 2002. He was a nominated researcher for the AHRC funded project Forgotten Japonisme: The Taste for Japanese Art in Britain and the USA 1920s-1950s (2007-10). Recent publications include ‘The Employment of Matter: Pottery of the Omega Workshop’, contributing essay to Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs of the Omega Workshop 1913-19, Courtauld Gallery.


In 2004 Julian Stair was awarded the European Achievement Award by the World Crafts Council and received a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship to research the making of monumental ceramics at Wienerberger’s brick factory, Sedgley. Since then he has continued to explore the making of monumental ceramics in industry and is currently working in an Ibstock factory in Bristol. He has been commissioned by York Museums Trust to create a site-specific installation within St Mary’s, York, a deconsecrated medieval church dating from the early 13th century. The work will animate both the architectural space of the church and historical collections within York Art Gallery, a museum with an internationally renowned collection of early modernist English studio ceramics including the Milner-White collection.

Work in Public Collections

Aberystwyth University Ceramic Collection & Archive, Abingdon Museum, Arkansas Decorative Arts Museum, USA, British Council, Cleveland Craft Centre, Contemporary Arts Society, Crafts Council, Fitzwilliam Museum, Gallery Oldham, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hove Museum, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Netherlands, Museum of Art & Design, USA, National Museum of Wales, Paisley Museum, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, USA, Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, Shipley Museum, The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A., The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, Ulster Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, York City Art Gallery

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2012 Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK (touring to National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and other institutions tbc)
  • 2010 The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
  • 2006 Galerie Marianne Heller, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2005 Terra Keramik, Delft, Netherlands
  • 2004 COLLECT, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (juried individual exhibitor)
  • 2002 Egg, London
  • 2001 Contemporary Applied Arts, London
  • 2000 Anton Gallery, Washington DC, USA
  • 1999 Lynn Strover Gallery, Cambridge
  • 1998 Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh
  • 1996 Crafts Council Shop, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
  • 1995 Paul Rice Gallery, London
  • 1992 Oriel 31, Davies Memorial Gallery, Newtown, Wales
  • 1988 Anton Gallery, Washington DC, USA
  • 1987 Anatol Orient, London Crafts Council Showcase, Institute of Contemporary Art, London
  • 1986 Westminster Gallery, Boston, USA
  • 1985 Anatol Orient, London
  • 1984 Oxford Gallery, Oxford Crafts Council Shop, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
  • 1983 Katherine House Gallery, Marlborough, UK

Selected Public Appointments & Affiliations

  • 2009-10 Curator of British Entry, Second European Triennial of Ceramics and Glass, Mons, Belgium, appointed by the Crafts Council
  • 2007-10 Management committee, Forgotten Japonisme AHRC Project, University of the Arts, London
  • 2007 Consultant, Arts Council England London Office on formulation of London Craft Strategy
  • 2006- Inclusion in Who’s Who (London: A&C Black)
  • 2000-08 Trustee, Interim & Deputy Chair, Crafts Council, London
  • 2001- Fellow, Royal Society of Arts, London
  • 2000 Editorial Advisory Board, Interpreting Ceramics Research Collaboration
  • 1999 Panel member for Greater London Awards to Artists
  • 1997-2003 Trustee, Contemporary Applied Arts, London
  • 1992 Panel Member, Grants to Artists, London Arts Board

PhD Supervision

2011 Co-supervisor in completion of PhD ‘Towards a Deep Ecology of Art, Technology and Being - an ontological investigation with particular reference to the rock-cut edifices of Ellora, India, and Tadao Ando’s Water Temple’ Raphael Jay Adjanir, University of the Arts, London



Contact details


Selected Awards

  • 2011 Grant for the Arts, Arts Council England
  • 2011 Finalist, International Triennial of Silicate Arts, Kecskemét, Hungary, Highly Commended
  • 2008 Art Fund purchase of Monumental Jar V, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art from COLLECT at the Victoria & Albert Museum
  • 2005 Finalist, Hamlyn Award
  • 2004 European Achievement Award, World Crafts Council
  • 2004 Queen Elizabeth Scholarship
  • 2003 Finalist, World Ceramic Exposition, Seoul, Korea
  • 1998 British Council Grant to Artist
  • 1997 London Arts Board Grant to Artist
  • 1997 Crafts Council Publication Grant
  • 1991 British Council Grant to Artist
  • 1985 Sainsbury Trust, Crafts Council
  • 1981 Setting Up Grant, Crafts Council