Gabriella Broadley

Jewellery and Objects BA (Hons)

After returning to education to pursue her passion for jewellery, Gabriella is now the School of Jewellery’s Artist in Residence and Diversity Champion, committed to breaking down barriers to jewellery making.

“Going back to education was something I decided to do because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It made me stop and think about what I really love, and I realized that I've always had a passion for being creative, especially when it comes to making jewellery.

I went to a secondary school here in Birmingham and, in all honesty, with undiagnosed ADHD, studying for my GCSEs was a real challenge. At 16, unsure about my academic path, I decided to work in retail since it seemed like the most practical option.

After deciding to return to education, I enrolled onto the Higher National Diploma course at BCU's School of Jewellery, which turned out to be a transformative experience for me.

With support from BCU and the School of Jewellery, I rediscovered my passion for learning; I gained confidence, explored different ideas, and developed various skills.

The university also provided crucial support for my ADHD, making learning more accessible and helping me to get an official diagnosis. In my second year, I transferred to the Jewellery and Objects BA degree course.

Looking back, returning to education at BCU's School of Jewellery was the best decision I've made. It reignited my love for learning and provided a supportive environment for both personal and academic development.

My experience at BCU really fuelled my love for what I do. My teachers and classmates were amazing, creating a space where I could really let my creativity shine. The classes covered a wide variety of techniques and ideas, which helped me grow and learn more about design and making jewellery.

Now, I’m the Artist in Residence at the School of Jewellery which allows me to continue pursuing my artistic endeavours while also engaging with students and faculty to promote innovation and creativity within the school. This unique opportunity is made possible through funding from De Beers, the global diamond dealers.

A typical workday involves designing jewellery, experimenting with various techniques, and exploring new materials to push the boundaries of my craft. I devote time to refining my designs, honing my skills, and bringing my creative visions to life through hands-on work in the studio.

Since graduating from BCU, my journey has been a blend of creative exploration and advocacy for diversity and inclusion within the jewellery industry. At first, I jumped into the field as a practising artist, honing my craft and pushing the boundaries of traditional jewellery design.

One of my proudest achievements since graduating has been my involvement in organising projects like the "Streets Paved with Gold" exhibition at Vittoria Street Gallery, in collaboration with the Masterpeace Academy. It showcased culturally relevant jewellery designs and celebrated the diverse talents within Birmingham's renowned Jewellery Quarter, reflecting our progress in promoting diversity and inclusion at the School of Jewellery. This achievement shows the positive impact of my roles and the opportunities I've had to make a difference in the industry.

My passion for inclusivity has also led me to take on the role of Diversity Champion at the School of Jewellery, where I actively work to foster an environment that celebrates diversity and empowers individuals from all backgrounds to excel in the field. In this role, I help plan and run events like workshops and educational programs to promote inclusivity, as well as meeting with stakeholders, working with community groups, and handling admin to make sure these initiatives are a success.

Navigating traditional structures and norms in the jewellery industry while advocating for diversity and inclusion has been the toughest part of my career journey, requiring resilience, persistence, and a readiness to challenge the status quo.

My course at BCU laid a solid foundation for my current roles and equipped me with essential technical skills and creative insights.

For anyone considering studying at BCU's School of Jewellery, I would offer the following advice; embrace your creativity, take advantage of BCU’s resources, pursue your passions and, most importantly, network and collaborate with fellow students.

In the future, I see myself getting more involved with the School of Jewellery, all aimed at making positive changes in the jewellery industry. I also want to work with community charities that use crafts to bring people together.

By combining my love for jewellery with community work, I hope to inspire individuals through creativity and build connections in different communities. I'm also dedicated to learning and want to keep improving my skills in jewellery design and craftsmanship. Whether it's through classes, workshops, or hands-on practice, I want to learn more about the art and techniques of making jewellery.

My advice to fellow BCU graduates embarking on their careers would be to network effectively, seek mentorship and guidance, and be resilient. The journey to building a successful career is often filled with challenges and setbacks. Stay resilient in the face of adversity, learn from your experiences, and keep pushing forward with determination and perseverance.

‘I AM BCU’ represents identity, belonging, and pride within the BCU community. It signifies inclusivity, unity, and empowerment, highlighting the diverse contributions of individuals and their collective pursuit of excellence.”