In its first phase, the project evolved out of six site-specific residencies with a range of multi-media responses centred primarily around the former Spode ceramics factory and broader post-industrial landscape of Stoke-on-Trent. It positions itself within recent cultural discourse that critically interrogates the transformation of places, communities and sites of abandoned industry. The lure of ruination and ‘materiality of dereliction’ has endured in contemporary art to examine cultural and political concerns, which Topographies of the Obsolete extends, but has been distinguished by its analysis of a particular locality and industry. Focusing on the singularity and associated histories of the Spode site, phase one questioned how ‘ceramics’ can be interrogated via site-specific engagement beyond the traditional scope of its materiality. Through the perspectives of artistic research it has examined the geological, anthropological,socio-economic and global/historic dimensions of ‘ceramics’ to offer new insights into the complexities of deindustrialisation.