The Department of Ceramics and Glass is one of the oldest departments at the UIAH. The Anglo-Belgian painter and ceramist Alfred William Finch (1854-1930) was invited to establish the ceramics curriculum in 1902. Elsa Elenius (1897-1967) followed Finch as teacher in ceramic until 1962. Professor Kyllikki Salmenhaara (1915-1981) modernised the teaching curriculum in the late sixties. The research on clays and glazes done by her laid the foundation for the development of material studies in ceramics. 

Tapio Yli-Viikari, (b1948) a designer and head of the art and design department of the Arabia porcelain factory, joined the UIAH in 1987 to lead the ceramics department. During the following years a glass programme was established and a research laboratory was founded. 

What is the market for graduate students of ceramic and glass design? Some of the students will be able to set up as ceramic artists or studio potters in Finland, but as designers they will have to become international. Information technology and computer aided design have become the key skills for a designer for industry. When porcelain factories began developing CAD/CAM technology the same software was immediately introduced in teaching at the UIAH 

The aim of our new research programmes is to tackle the problems of developing new materials and to introduce new, flexible technology for ceramic and glass production. The laboratory is focusing on deepening the understanding of design concepts and encouraging medium size industry to invest in design. The strength of the research team lies in its active international network and in its use of the latest information technology. The designer's point of view and mastery of the whole process of production, from materials to the end product, will give the department's projects a competitive edge.