Rebecca Skeels

Rebecca SkeelsCourse Leader and Senior Lecturer - BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects

What is your background/experience prior to BCU? 

I started my business in 1994 after graduating from the University of Wales. Since 1994, my thirst for knowledge and passion for sharing has led me to graduate from Central Saint Martin’s (MA Project by Design) and achieving a PGC in Higher Education from the University for the Creative Arts.

I am also a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, a Freeman of the City of London, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Director of the Association of Contemporary Jewellery, on the board of the Trade Advisory Committee for the Goldsmiths Centre and continue to run my own jewellery practice.

As a designer maker, my work has exhibited across Europe, in the US and in China. I continue to explore ideas and work collaboratively with like-minded designer makers of different disciplines utilising different materials.

I use my experience of learning, developing, teaching and supporting to assist students with their own journeys of discovery and development to forge their career paths for a successful future.

What is your favourite thing about BCU?

There is an amazing number of experts at the School of Jewellery, from the staff teams to artist in residents and visiting scholars, to the students and researchers, all are willing to support and help each other. It makes a wonderful supportive and friendly atmosphere for anyone to learn, develop and grow through exploring, trying out new things and fun.

What inspired you to teach BA Jewellery and Objects at BCU?

My passion is to share knowledge and support students into the career they wish to undertake. The BA Jewellery and Objects course aims to support students through a journey that equips them with skills, knowledge and experiences they can use in their careers within the jewellery and objects industries or to transfer into the specialist areas they wish to pursue. The jewellery industry has a lot of options to offer, and we hope to allow students the safe space to discuss and explore what would suit them and their passions.

The BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects course allows students to add to their study with opportunities to undertake placements, work experience, study abroad, live projects, alongside focussing on jewellery, silversmithing, object making business, design and making.

What are the benefits of studying BA Jewellery and Objects in Birmingham?

Birmingham has great resources for inspiration, research and industry, as well as a huge variety of places to distract yourself and relax when needed. The School of Jewellery has some well-established industry links that support and nurture the students through their education, providing work experience, funding, competitions, projects and valuable learning experiences all on the doorstep of the School.

The student's main campus will be the renowned School of Jewellery located at the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, the contemporary award-winning environment includes multiple jewellery studios, a horology suite, specialist lower ground floor technical workshops, the CAD CAM Technical Hub & Research Centre, and a gallery. Each student has access to a broad range of facilities across campuses in Birmingham, they can rub shoulders with product designers, fashion designers, photographers and researchers to name a few.

The spaces in the School are vibrant and welcoming, to be used by the students for their study, practising their skills, meeting and discussing their work or attending set and open lectures, seminars, exhibitions and workshops.

Students explore and gain experience in a huge variety of options within the jewellery and objects industries, from technical and making skills to design and design development, business and marketing, researching, reflecting and ways of thinking. These put every student in a good position to follow their career aims that they enjoy and have passion for in the areas they discover through the course experiences.

What can students do to help prepare them for the course?

As well as preparing portfolios and questions for the staff team, students interested in the BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects course can prepare by visiting exhibitions and looking at books and makers websites to see the huge amount of career options available to them. It’s a great way to start to imagine what inspires them, what aspects they would like to explore through the course and what they may experiment with once they arrive. If they get the opportunity to also draw, attend making workshops and play with materials, that’s even better.

Lastly, do you have any advice or tips for working in the industry?

The Jewellery and Objects industries are really friendly places to work, throughout your career you need to embrace new opportunities and experiences, share, debate and discuss and continue to learn and develop. Early on in in a jewellery and object design and making career try to gain a balance of design, practical skills and creativity to support your futures and the journey you may take.