16th Annual MMU Graduate Award Winners

16th January - 1st April 2023

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Each year Manchester Craft & Design Centre selects talented students from Manchester School of Art whose work is ambitious, exciting, and demonstrates potential.

We are proud to announce this year’s 16th award-winning graduates – Bruno Schooling, Isobelle Hayes and Carlie Smith. These BA (Hons) Product Design and Craft graduates caught our attention through their creative use of clay in response to nature.

Drawing inspiration from traditional craft practices and nature in urban settings; these bold graduates demonstrate how ceramics and the environment are intrinsically linked. This collection of work reflects on sustainable ceramic practices and encourages the admiration of nature.

Bruno is a multidisciplinary object maker, with an inquisitive, process-driven approach to materials and making. His ongoing, practice-based research project; Ground, has been an exploration of how cooking and craft practices are intrinsically linked through provenance and place. This sensitive body of work hopes to engage his audience with the importance of a circular approach to working, not only through ceramics but also through cooking and organic farming methods. Through collaborating with farmers, chefs, and butchers, Bruno has utilised local materials and by-products from the landscape to create a series of narrative-led, ceramic objects. These ceramics respond to the ethos of seasonal, nose-to-tail cooking.

Terracotta ceramics


Isobelle is a ceramicist driven by a need for change. This series of wild clay vessels on display have been sawdust fired with heather and bracken collected from the local moorland. Working with the same techniques and processes used by our predecessors. Isobelle exclusively uses materials found within the boundaries of the lands to create ceramic vessels that speak to her surroundings. These vessels are hand sourced and processed using a unique wild clay specific to land formed during the carboniferous era around 315 million years ago. Reflecting the materials natural origin in the vessel’s design, taking inspiration from rock forms found on and within the land to create a series of work that is deeply connected to the area.

Boulder with twig


Carlie is a maker exploring the contemporary nature of ceramics. The ‘Pavement Series’ on display is inspired by the untameable essence of nature in the urban environment of Manchester. It centres on weeds growing through cracks in the pavement. This collection features a set of twenty-five wall-mounted objects, in rows of five. Each row is a different cast of the ground, cast using black porcelain. The pieces to the left are un-glazed and the right gradually increases in glaze application, which creates a narrative for the viewer; reading from left to right to visualise the time and growth of plants between the cracks.

Black and white ceramics

Please join us for the launch on Thursday 19th January from 5.30pm – 8pm
Our new cafe BQ Bitesize will be offering a complimentary drink on arrival.

Groundwork opens Monday 16th January – Saturday 1st April 2023
Free entrance
Opening Hours:
Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm
2nd Sunday of the Month, 11am – 5pm (excluding January)

All pieces are available for purchase. Please email [email protected], call 0161 832 4274, or pop into the office on the first floor.