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Jewellery and Related Products - MA

Our postgraduate degree in Jewellery and Related Products is a highly respected, innovative course, which develops your creative potential and in-depth knowledge of theories, processes and techniques. Students on our course demonstrate understanding, and a critical awareness of current issues and/or new insights.

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  

 

Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • School School of Jewellery
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

Our postgraduate degree in Jewellery and Related Products is a highly respected, innovative course, which develops your creative potential and in-depth knowledge of theories, processes and techniques.

Students on our course demonstrate understanding, and a critical awareness of current issues and/or new insights.

Drew Markou

Expert help and advice

Our graduates are shaping the world, achieving things they never imagined.

Drew Markou gives you his top tips on how to get ahead in jewellery, silversmithing and succeed in your chosen career.

Drew's Top Tips

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The focus of this course is very much on developing your entrepreneurial spirit and helping you become the designer you want to be.

You will use a variety of materials, manufacturing techniques and processes.

The scope for design is very broad and builds on knowledge in the area of personal ornaments, body signification and decorative metal objects.

There are affinities with industrial design, fashion design, fine art and sculpture and content is often informed by philosophy, conceptualisation and critical theory.

Project-based activities will develop creative, design and making skills and enhance your professional skills. You will develop concepts and products, analyse problems and reflect on the relationships between personal objectives, cultural values, market identities, prototyping techniques and new technologies.

You will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your own research and advanced creative activity, alongside exhibiting originality in the application of knowledge.

You will demonstrate your practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in our discipline and create innovative new designs in jewellery and related products.

The course is based at our internationally renowned School of Jewellery, in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. The historical facade of our Vittoria Street building conceals a contemporary environment including workshops, a specialist library, an atrium gallery and exhibition space.

On the MA course, we are constantly questioning why we make decisions, this has allowed us to have a better, deeper understanding of what we are developing. The course allows us to have a deeper understanding of our own work.

Fanmiao Tang, MA Jewellery and Related Products student

Why Choose Us?

  • Founded in 1890, our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery is the largest in Europe, located in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. An estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is still made there today and you’ll gain contacts, inspiration and experience.
  • Staff are experts in their field and support award-winning students through their chosen course and into professional life.
  • The broad scope of design potential gives you the freedom to be creative and develop your own unique style.
  • We have an excellent reputation for highly employable, creative graduates and professional outstanding links with industry to help you develop your career.
  • Our staff expertise includes a very wide range of industry-related techniques, including CAD and manufacturing, rapid prototyping, surface finishing, reverse engineering, creative project management and the curation of exhibitions.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Essential

A good degree in Art and Design or recognised equivalent subject (degrees in business related and other theoretical subjects without evidence of advanced creative practice are not recognised as equivalent subjects).

A study proposal and portfolio that indicates development potential supported by evidence of high level creative work.

Extra information for EU/International students
Essential

International students must hold a qualification recognised as graduate status and agreed by the Academic Registrar. They must also have appropriate English language skills.

Candidates may be admitted without a first degree via APEL/APL subject to agreement of the Academic Registrar, eg high level of educational, industrial, or professional experience.

IELTS 6.0 with 5.5 min in all bands.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Tuition fees shown are for the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £7,900 per year

International students

Tuition fees shown are for the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £16,300 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected, but are likely to be in the region of £500 - £800.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities.

Media consumable items (mandatory)

This course requires the use of consumables.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including a jewellery tool box and specialist handtools (from £350).

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Portfolio Guidance

You will be required to submit a digital portfolio to complete your application. This can be submitted via your applicant portal. Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Modules

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 credits):

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to some of the key methods and approaches of arts enquiry. You will be guided through the process of developing your proposal, and encouraged to engage with a range of methods for testing ideas, exploring materials and process and taking creative risks. You will be supported to develop skills in articulating your ideas in a range of forms: visual, verbal and written.

This module provides the framework to explore your initial ideas in greater depth and with a higher level of intellectual engagement. Creative risk taking will be at the core of your enquiry and a rigorous approach to identifying and solving problems will be a continuous threat throughout your investigation. You will conclude the module by collating this body of work as a portfolio of evidence, illustrating the breadth of your enquiry via practical, visual and written investigations.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

This module will introduce you to a range of discipline-specific approaches to research, and guide you through the process of exploring an aspect of your practice in a systematic way, bringing both theory and practice into play. You will be supported to select and apply an appropriate methodology, manage the project, analyse the results, and critically reflect on the insights gained.

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers. It is also possible to fulfil this module via a shorter placement duration and a linked ‘live’ project set by the employer.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

The course is delivered through a variety of formats including: self-directed studio time, e-learning, formal lectures, tutorials and workshop activities. Staff contact and group work will enable the free exchange of knowledge and experience through discussion and practical exercises.

Alongside a staff team of professional, practising artists and designers, you will also engage with professional practitioners who are Artists In Residence, study visits and other live projects. The School can offer support through a variety of interdisciplinary methodologies and techniques through its specialist staff and technical support team. Practice-led, knowledge-based learning enables key skill based competencies to be individually developed, building in complexity throughout the duration of the course.

You will then apply the skills you learn to the development of your own self-directed and self-motivated design project. The project will allow you to explore and appreciate the potential of your design abilities, and your emerging knowledge and understanding in a professional context, while building a portfolio of work which will reflect a high level of professional accomplishment and leadership in the field.

You are supported to work individually, and in group settings, to develop interpersonal communication and collaborative skills. You will continue to develop your reflective practice which helps to develop self-confidence and the responsible and methodical approaches required by the industry, the art and design ‘world’ and other culture of entrepreneurship. 

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

Our course philosophy encourages your individual enquiry and innovation. Modules are structured to enable progressive identification of assessable outcomes throughout, and require research based engagement with creative practice to enable you to make choices, solve problems and define your individual direction.  This practice progressively leads to ownership, independence and employability. We incorporate activities, which involve you as active learner.

We embrace a high, professional level of excellence appropriate to the industry and area of focus for each student. Excellence is demonstrated in artistic integrity, a self-directed and ambitious design project at Master of Art level. Professional practice and employability skills are demonstrated in team projects and by accessing external audience appreciation. In all of our activities we celebrate and foster innovation and entrepreneurial enterprise in an international context.

MA Jewellery and Related Products graduate outcomes are of high profile and are leading in the field, as is widely evidenced in the successes our graduates. They represent Birmingham City University’s graduate qualities of being professional and work ready, they are creative problem solvers, enterprising and have a global outlook.


Links to industry

The MA in Jewellery and Related Products course has built particularly strong links to galleries, arts agencies and professional bodies, which support the creative industries and provide relevant real world experience, support and advice.

The course is proud to have professional links which include: Craftspace Birmingham, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), Midland’s Art Centre (mac), Jewellery Quarter Museum, British Crafts Council, AXIS, The South Square Trust, Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Handwerkskammer Munich, Germany, and the international e-platforms and web-hubs: Klimt04 (Spain), Kitandcaboodle (Germany), Crafthaus (USA), Art Jewelry Forum (USA).


Graduate stories

Drew Markou is a self-employed artist and jewellery designer-maker whose work is exhibited internationally. Since graduating, Drew has gone on to wow crowds at the RHS BBC Gardeners' World Live show, where his design was named 'Most Creative Small Garden', winning a Silver Gilt award.

He said: “For me my MA was a milestone in achieving a higher level of education and thinking about the way in which I work. It was vital for me to gain a greater understanding about my own art and design work as well as a greater understanding of the context and industries in which it fitted.”

Lucy Harvey completed a commission for the National Glass Centre in collaboration with recycling company, Nulife Glass. The work explored the alchemical processes used by Nulife in separating lead and glass from cathode ray tubes found inside old TVs.

She has showcased her artefacts and jewellery collection at various exhibitions and fairs.

Farrah Al-Dujaili is a British Art Jeweller. She set up her own workshop to continue her practice. Her work has been exhibited internationally in shows including ‘Talente’ and ’25 Years of Galerie Louise Smit’. Farrah was also the recipient of the Art Jewelry Forum ‘Emerging Artist’ award and subsequently had her work exhibited at SOFA New York in 2012.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Our international students

The international reputation and outstanding location in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter attracts students from all over the world. Our course is particularly popular with students from the Far East who want to study advanced design techniques from top professionals.

Many of our very successful international students returned to their home countries to set-up their own businesses and design studios. Some work in shared studio collectives and work through an international network of galleries and design shops. Others work as sole-owners designing and making bespoke pieces of jewellery of their own designs.

For example one graduate opened a very impressive space in Chongqing in China, a combination of designer gallery and lifestyle meeting place. Another opened her own gallery and studio in Copenhagen.

Some of our alumni have been able, on return from their MA studies, to compete for prestigious teaching jobs, including at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and the China Academy of Art.


Student stories

Julia Toledo, Brazil

"After releasing my first jewellery collection in a small home-studio I decided I wanted to engage in further exploration and study of all possibilities of jewellery design. 

"I found out about the School of Jewellery online and after extensive research was really attracted by the idea of studying in a well known university abroad. 

"Through the images and explanations on the MA description online I saw the possibility of opening my practice to a practical engagement between other areas of design such as industrial design, fashion, fine arts and intellectual content that I had not yet applied to jewellery, such as,  philosophy, conceptualisation or critical theory.

"Until then I had never imagined that jewellery wouldn’t 'need' to be a wearable object! Coming to the School of Jewellery was altogether a big challenge, a mind blowing surprise and a great opportunity to let go of old boundaries and explore the new and unexpected field of 'related products'.

"I've joined the team of Artists in Residence at the school, working directly with new MA Students. I have also started my small business where I develop a range of wearable jewellery applying both my jewellery background and the contemporary concepts.

"Since 2013 I’ve joined exhibitions in England and internationally. And have been recently awarded Artistar Jewels 2015 – Best Goldsmith Craftsman Award, and the first prize at Arts & Crafts Design Award – 2014."

Atushi Verma, India

Atushi is now a jewellery designer maker. She said: "I found my way into the western education and now a Contemporary Jewellery Maker, Designer and Artist; looking to create my niche, whilst straddling both my loves: contemporary and 'fine' high-end jewellery."

Facilities & Staff

Jewellery facilities gallery image

Our Facilities

The School of Jewellery's Vittoria Street building is inspirational and functional. A blend of traditional historic and cutting-edge contemporary, it is light, spacious and extremely well-resourced.

An extensive refurbishment programme integrated the Victorian Gothic building of 1863 with the adjacent 1912 extension and a site further down the road. The architects’ success in doing so resulted in awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Civic Trust.

You’ll have access to industry standard equipment, studio workshops with specialist tools and a shared machine workshop with a wide range of powered equipment, a casting facility and an electroplating laboratory. The School’s main computer suite includes CAD design software and Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll have access to a specialist library.

Our staff

Sian Hindle

Course Director - MA Jewellery and Related Products

Sian is an academic and researcher, exploring the role that jewellery plays in articulating aspects of the self. Trained as a jeweller, she is now developing a reflective and iterative drawing process to explore and document the sometimes strange and unstable nature of our bodies and their limits. Her doctoral research explores the wearer’s experience and the role that jewellery plays in performing identity. She coordinates Contextual Studies delivery across the undergraduate programmes at the School of Jewellery, encouraging students to examine the social, cultural, historical and theoretical context to the production and use of jewellery and related products. Students connect theory and studio work, in order to bring depth to their practice and to critically engage with the cultural field they aspire to work in. She also facilitates the School of Jewellery’s Talking Practice series of lectures, in which artists, designers and researchers reflect on their research and practice.

More about Sian

Rebecca Steiner

Lecturer - MA Jewellery and Related Products, Graduate Diploma

Rebecca Steiner is an award-winning goldsmith whose work has been exhibited across the UK and Europe. Her research interests include crafts education, professional development for practitioners and the wider benefits of crafts practice in relation to personal autonomy, agency and wellbeing.

She holds a Masters Degree in Design: Critical Practice from Goldsmiths University of London.

She currently lectures on the MA Jewellery and Object and Graduate Certificate courses

More about Rebecca

Bridie Lander

Course Leader Foundation, Course leader Graduate Diploma

Bridie is an experienced jewellery designer/maker and lecturer. She spent several years as an artist and academic in Australia where latterly she was Coordinator of the Jewellery and Object Studio at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.

Some of her work was recently included in a group exhibition, “Transplantation: British and Australian Narrative Jewellery”, that is touring UK and Australia.

Bridie worked with a Sydney colleague as co-curator of “By Example” – a significant exhibition of contemporary Australian jewellery shown at the Itami Cultural Foundation, Itami, Japan.

Her personal research interests include issues of the handmade and the digital, intersections of art and design. She considers art jewellery as a medium, an interface of the virtual (interiority, the imaginary) and the real.

She uses a variety of materials in various combinations with metal, including plastics as well as found material, minerals (non precious stones) and organics (shell, horse hair).

More about Bridie

Iona McCuaig

Lecturer, MA Jewellery and Related Products

Iona McCuaig is a jeweller, artist, researcher and educator. Her work explores the themes of narrative, value and materiality through object making. Historical references are strongly embedded in her practice and are playfully juxtaposed with contemporary observations. This results in a re-appropriation of history, allowing for a commentary of contemporary life often drawing on cultural, social and political influences. Researching topics and uncovering information drives her creative practice as she applies her training as a jeweller alongside mixed media techniques. 

Iona has over ten years' teaching experience within the visual arts, teaching in secondary schools, at undergraduate and postgraduate level and is involved with museum and gallery education.

More about Iona