BA (Hons) Jewellery and Silversmithing- Design for Industry Course Director
Could you tell us about your experience and how this feeds into your course?
I worked as a jewellery designer in industry for several manufacturing companies, using 3D CAD software to design and create platinum and diamond jewellery. As a designer I was instrumental in the new product development process, creating design concepts, CAD design, rapid prototyping and producing a sample product range for production, including costing and quality control, which has all contributed to the course content.
What is the philosophy of your course?
We aim to support students’ personal goals and career aspirations in developing a sustainable future in the industry. We also aim to ensure graduates understand and have experienced the technology and the production processes that are inherent to our area of specialism, as well as working alongside industry to create networks for our graduates and to ensure the course content is current and relevant to the industry it feeds.
If you had to name one thing about your course that makes it distinct, what would it be?
Industry! The location with industry, the links with industry and the focus on each student’s future in the industry. It’s one focused year that prepares students for graduation into industry.
Why is Birmingham a good place to study?
The School of Jewellery is centred in the historic Jewellery Quarter which is a hub of workshops and larger manufacturing companies that students can visit, gain experience with and be employed by. Birmingham is a diverse and vibrant city offering a wealth of cultural and social opportunities for all ages and many employment opportunities for students to work alongside studying. Being central in the UK ensures other cities are in easy reach with opportunities to visit events in London and elsewhere.
Why do you believe it’s important to study a degree and why might students want to study your course?
A degree enables students to direct their own learning and to develop skills and a portfolio of work that is pertinent to their future aspirations. The tutorial process is integral to all aspects of the course and ensures the modules are tailored to the student’s individual requirements and area of interest, rather than a prescriptive series of tasks.
Where will the students be based in their time here and what will their learning environment be?
The School is in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter and the Design for Industry course has a purpose equipped studio in the school, with design desks, and jewellery work benches. Each student has a laptop with industry relevant CAD software and access to a variety of 3D printers and digital production methods. Talks, tutorials, training workshops and activities can all happen in the studio and provides a space for students to fully immerse themselves in their work.
What can students do to help prepare them for the course?
Visit as many industry events/outlets as possible to understand what the industry consists of and where you might begin to develop your career. From industrial centres, Birmingham, London, Sheffield, retail outlets, trade shows, industry organisations. Be inspired, travel, draw, design and create ideas for products that you can develop into your portfolio that will make you stand out. Gain experience in the industry, understanding and experiencing how jewellery is manufactured, produced and sold are all valuable opportunities that can support career progression.
What’s your favourite element about working at the School of Jewellery?
The community of the School and the wealth of resources we have. Being in the Jewellery Quarter makes the links with industry so much more relevant as the students can create their own contacts to pursue opportunities. Our alumni are part of our industry and it’s brilliant to see how their careers develop when they come back and talk to our current students about their own experiences.