‘Tis the season of conferences and I’ve got four this month. Unfortunately, the Australian Ceramics Triennale and JMGA conferences clashed this time, so I had to dash from one to the other (this may not have happened if Australia had a national craft organisation where this could have been noted early on).
I found the organisation of the JMGA-NSW jewellery conference in Sydney quite inspiring. Both the ceramics and jewellery conferences demonstrated the strong participation in studio craft. There were more than 400 at the ceramics conference and the auditorium in Sydney was full. But the jewellers certainly showed how to manage an event.
These were some highlights that raise the bar in conference organisation:
- Clusters of exhibition openings scheduled on different evenings
- Car pool stickers to help participants get to exhibition venues
- Beaded conference tags subtly indicating registration stream
- Delicious lunch alternatives with vegetarian options
- Flower decorations
- Billeting for interstate guests
- Lawn diversions courtesy of Roseanne Bartley
- Time for questions during each each session
- Well-promoted hashtags: #edgesbordersgaps #jmgaconference2015
- Offer of community announcements at conclusion
Of course, there’s always room for improvement. Some outside voices from allied domains could have opened up the conversation further. The odd cantankerous voice could also have added a little salt to the discussions. There are some complex issues about the growth of post-object jewellery that could be teased out. And the issue of the global jewellery scene, prompted by the presence of Thai gallerist Atty Tantivit , could have been further explored.
To the challenge will now be continue this dialogue. Who will wear the JMGA crown next? Canberra, Melbourne, Auckland… They have a tough act to follow.