Sian has a background in English Studies, with a Master of Research exploring Modernist literature and theories of the self. After studying at the School of Jewellery from 200305, Sian initially combined freelance design work for a range of jewellery manufacturers with teaching on a growing portfolio of Contextual Studies modules. Sian is now the lead academic for contextual studies at the School, alongside studying for her PhD.
Sian’s lecturing work focuses on the social, cultural, historical and theoretical context to the production and use of jewellery and related products, with a student-centred approach from the outset. Sian works across most of the undergraduate programmes within the School of Jewellery, providing Industry Studies for the vocational programmes (such as HND Jewellery and Silversmithing, and BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies) and Contextual Studies for the more art jewellery-focused BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects.
Throughout her teaching, Sian aims to provide students with the conceptual tools to be able to deepen their practice and to engage critically with the cultural field they aspire to work in. This study may involve applying theory to the analysis of artefacts, or applying project management techniques to research projects. In addition to her lecturing work, she also convenes the School of Jewellery’s Talking Practice series of lectures, helping to create a vibrant research culture and raise the profile of the School.
Sian’s own research explores the role that jewellery plays in symbolically marking the boundary of the body, allowing us to tell ourselves and others who we are and how we want to be treated. She is particularly interested in how the experience of wearing jewellery impacts on the performance of identity, and participants’ responses to both art jewellery and more normative forms of adornment are compared in order to explore what happens when our sense of self is challenged. This is a practice-led project and drawing is central to her enquiry, with both participants and Sian herself being involved in documenting embodied responses through mark making.