Knowledge of heritage artefacts uncovered by BCU students

Students gathered round a table looking at work

Foundation Year students within Birmingham City University’s (BCU) School of Jewellery (SoJ) have uncovered new knowledge about historical artefacts in Birmingham.

Art, Design and Media

Birmingham City University

Earlier this year, Foundation Year students had the opportunity to explore some of the objects within the Research and Cultural Collection (RCC) at the University of Birmingham (UoB).

The detailed notes and drawings they produced after they observed and handled the objects has led to new knowledge for the RCC curatorial team. 

After their visit, the students created reports based on their own observations, questions to the curators, and independent secondary research for more in-depth insights.

BCU students’ discoveries about the objects’ functionality, history, and the people who made and owned them, have been added to the curation files, crediting them for their findings.

Jenny Lance, Curator of Art, Research and Cultural Collections at UOB, said: “They really are a rich resource that would enhance future researchers’ ability to engage with the objects.”

Nuala Clooney, BCU Foundation Year Lecturer, worked with UoB’s Research and Cultural Collection curatorial team to select heritage artefacts, including jewellery, clocks, and metalware objects.

Nuala said: "Working first hand with heritage objects allowed students to gain an in depth understanding of how to extract and gather information from an object. The experience of handling, making observations, and drawing from these artefacts within the research collection, as well as working alongside curators, gave us all a special experience.

"The fact that our students’ discoveries and reports are now credited in the curation files, highlights the importance of the impact makers can bring to making insights to their creation."

The project gave students an introduction to the research methodology of material culture.

Finley Lloyd, Foundation Year student, commented: “The fact that I was able to view the object first hand and handle it, meant that I was more invested in the research process and finding more information about the object.”

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