I•CERA is a newly named global brand for Icheon ceramics featuring an image of dynamic yet smooth movement of a pottery wheel which symbolizes Icheon ceramics evolving concurrently with changes in trends and times. The Icheon city government will continue to endeavor to advance the brand to become globalized in name and substance that could epitomize converged culture and craft manufacturing technology covering both traditional and contemporary realms of Folk Arts.
The brand has been hailed a great success on the international stages such as the Limoge Trade Fair and Maison &Object in France and Jingdezhen International Ceramic Fair in China this year. Since its start in 2012, the largest-scale of domestic ceramic fair which has been held under the name of Icheon Ceramic Fair has been recently rebranded as the I.CERA Fair to promote high-quality Icheon ceramic more effectively and to grow into a truly global event. The city will continue to spare no efforts to vitalize the ceramic industry in the region and to contribute to the globalization of Icheon ceramic
World Ceramic Road
World Ceramic Road (WCR) was created at a meeting of Urban Network for Innovation in Ceramics (UNIC ─ also known as European routes of ceramics) in June 2010 to fulfill a role as a ceramics information sharing platform promoting communication and exchanges in the areas of culture, academics, tourism, heritage and economics among member cities. Along with nine UNIC cities including Limoges in France, Aveiro in Portugal, Delft in the Netherlands, Pecs in Hungary, Castellon and Seville in Spain, Stoke-on-Trent in England, Faenza in Italy, and Cluj-Napoca in Romania, the members have been expanded to include Iznik in Turkey, Eger in Hungary, Gangjin and Icheon in South Korea, Seto in Japan, Jingdezhen, Tangshan, Yongchun and Zibo in China, making a total of 19 cities in 12 countries.
In June 2010, Icheon, representing the Republic of Korea, joined to sign a charter of creating WCR in Limoges, France and contributed to the joint declaration of intent on specific roles of each partner, and objectives, as well as future projects, in a preliminary meeting held in Tangshan World Ceramic Road in 2014. Since then, Icheon has put strenuous efforts into fostering exchanges among member cities by signing MOUs and sister city agreements to promote the holding of exhibitions and participating in ceramic fairs.
Icheon, Korea’ First UNESCO Creative City
In July 2010, the city of Icheon was designated as UNESCO Creative City, the first of its kind in Korea, in the realm of Crafts and Folk Arts. Since its designation, Icheon has been actively taking part in annual meetings and sub-network meetings of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network to discuss a multi-faceted approach to generating tangible outcomes and to share achievements and cooperative projects to be initiated.
Largely due to constant interest and endeavors, Icheon signed a sister city agreement with two internationally renowned cultural cities to promote cultural, arts and educational exchanges: UNESCO’s first U.S.-designated Creative City, Santa Fe, in November 2013; and the European capital of ceramics and France's host city of World Ceramic Road, Limoges, in May 2015.
The city is also seeking to augment infrastructure on a par with a mecca of Korean ceramics by establishing the Ceramic Arts Village to be completed by 2016, located in Gocheok-ri, Sindun-myeon, Icheon. The village will be projected to consolidate scattered kilns and create a higher level of economic value, offering various events and facilities such as ceramics experience, exhibition and sales and with subsidiary facilities including performing arts center.
Meanwhile, with a view to enhancing the global competitiveness of the locals engaged in craft, the city has been providing foreign language programs in English, Chinese and Japanese since 2014, as well as operating a ceramic apprentice program to train people in advanced ceramic manufacturing techniques, both domestically and internationally, since 2013.
With enhanced international recognition since Ichoen has joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in line with Icheon's long-established ceramic industry competitiveness, Icheon-based ceramic artists have been receiving prestigious awards in several global competitions: the bronze prize and the runner-up prize at the 2014 Nantong International Contemporary Craft Biennale and in the 2015 edition of Shenzhen Design Award for Young Talents (SZ+DAY) respectively. I•CERA, which the Icheon city government promotes as the global brand for Icheon ceramics, participated in one of the world’s largest trade fairs of home and lifestyle fashions titled Maison &Objet, held in Paris in Sept, 2015, with high-end ceramics of 12 selected designers ─ and for a first-timer, Icheon garnered a lot of attention and scored remarkable achievements.