Virtual International Clayfest 2020 – ‘building’ skills and building ‘skills’

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Clayfest 2020

It’s a highlight of the natural building calendar not to be missed. EBUKI share news of this year’s upcoming virtual Clayfest, exploring and celebrating all things earth building on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th November 2020.


This will be EBUKI’s 12th annual conference. The theme this year is ‘Building Skills and Building Skills’.

This theme includes exploring actual skills involved in earth building, how we can build and develop our own skills as professionals and how we spread our skills and teach others, particularly in the ever-growing digital world.

We are blending academic talks, vocational talks and skills workshops, our usual approach to bring different voices, new perspectives and discussion to the world of earth building, research, training, engineering, business and architecture.

This year, though, Clayfest is going online! This is the very opposite of where Clayfest usually comes from: normally it’s a chance to cultivate conversations about clay, develop skills with a trowel in hand, as well as the opportunities to physically network with a big group of like-minded people from near and far.

But don’t despair! Going online means we are really fortunate to be able to host speakers, who we couldn’t afford to bring, from places like Africa, America North and South, to add to those nearer home in Europe, Ireland and the UK. Of course you can join us too, whether you are in Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Iceland or Zimbabwe!

We hope this will bring you some knowledge and understanding of what is going on in heritage, new build, design, research, standards and training – a full range of skills in building and building skills. All of this helps us all to promote this hugely environmental building technique, which could be seen as critical, at this time of mass extinction awareness.

When you join this Clayfest you can stay ‘in the hall’ right through, or dip in and out and listen to the bits you think are most relevant to you. Remember, though, that the Clayfest spirit is also to bump into things you never expected, to learn about topics you thought irrelevant, which will suddenly take a shape and significance you never expected. Take a look at the information below and come and find out what is going on in this and other corners of the earth…

Here’s what’s on the programme:

  • The Creation and Implementation of the First Cob Building Code in the USA – with John Fordice and Anthony Dente
  • Flood-resilient earthen construction technology and the Case-Study of Pakistan – with Scarlett Lee
  • Earth Building in Arizona, New Mexico and Beyond – with Bill and Athena Steen
  • Building Skills – The Trainee’s Perspective – with Jeffrey Hart
  • Experience of lime stabilised earth and cob – with Tom Pollard
  • Wobbly buildings and digital surveying – with Róisín Nic Cóil
  • Did it work? Gauging the success of preservation methods at Çatalhöyük, Turkey – with Dr Ashley Lingle
  • The Pitfalls of Energy Retrofit of Earthen Architecture – with Peter Cox FRSA
  • The secret of the Nile: microbiological nanotechnology clay code and devolution of the porous pharaonic civilization – with Alaa Emam
  • How the roles of young women, dedicated training and climate-change adaptation support the earth building revival Nicaragua – with Helen Shears
  • Using earth with waste materials – with Lizzie Wynn
  • Building with Kersheef in Siwa Oasis – with Fiona Mckie
  • Retrofit materials decision making: a case study of a 17th Century Cumbrian farmhouse – with Amy Hield
  • Building trust, cooperation and change through JUMP! – with Becky Little and Rowland Keable
  • Climate Change Housing: A new form of cob and tyre design and a call for volunteer designers – with Tim Baddeley
  • Cob bale construction: earth slip pre-coated straw bale for efficient labour based construction, tailored to community building in South Africa – with Andy Horn
  • CobBauge – with Tom Morton
  • Fighting the dark side: how can we maintain and increase the use of natural non-toxic plastic materials in buildings? – with Dr Tom Woolley

Tickets cost just £35.00 – this includes access to all the events going on this year, including recordings of them all. Find full details of the event and how to book here on the EBUKI website.


Rowland KeableAbout the author

Rowland Keable of Rammed Earth Consulting helped set up Earth Building UK & Ireland, to promote all kinds of earth building. He works on construction projects, consultancy and on developing and harmonising national standards for earth building.