Signs of Change – are you interested?



The election of Barack Obama seems to have galvanised the world at a time of great social risk. Some have seen the current financial crisis as an important opportunity to ‘re-boot’ the system, to develop more constructive bilateral relations and initiate more inclusive policies. With the glow of change in the air, there is a new jewellery exhibition in development. It has the working title, Signs of Change: Jewellery Designed to Make a Better World. Developed by FORM to coincide with the next JMGA conference in Perth, it provides the opportunity to re-think jewellery as something for the many, rather than the exclusive few. They are currently calling for expressions of interest, due end of January 2009.

Here’s a brief outline (the full document is available here):

Exhibition Curator: Elisha Buttler/FORM (
Exhibition Guest Curator: Kevin Murray ( Exhibition venue and dates: April-June 2010, Midland Atelier, Perth

Can jewellery function as an instrument of change?

Jewellery is expanding in scope. Traditionally, the production of a beautiful adornment served as a marker of individual status. Emerging trends in jewellery and related object design are beginning to challenge many customary ideas of jewellery. The creative power of the jeweller is extending beyond the bench to the world which the object will inhabit.  This includes jewellery as a functional device, an agent of social change and a way of bringing people together. These trends provide the basis of a FORM exhibition in development for 2010.

Concepts such as ‘functionality’ and ‘change’ are open to multiple interpretations. However for the initial purposes of this exhibition, they have been grouped into two key categories:

1. Function and Technology

This category includes jewellers and related designers who create products possessing tangible functions or new technologies which aim to deploy specific benefits to individuals and/or the broader community. Emphasis will be placed on designs that point to long-term benefits, rather than one-off, largely conceptual pieces.

2. Sociology and Symbolism

This category includes the less tangible elements of contemporary jewellery which have potential to alter perspectives and promote action through their symbolic connotations. Like the Function and Technology category, the underlying themes here are designs which focus on benefits and heightened social awareness for individuals and the broader community.

The exhibition will explore jewellery that fits into either (or both) of the above groups, while focusing on the varied levels of ‘change’ jewellery can wield; namely in the areas of health, technology, sciences and community.

This is a relatively new area of development but one which possesses immense potential for groundbreaking innovation and cross-disciplinary, cross-industry advancement. A central aim of the exhibition will be to highlight this potential for innovation and cross-sector collaboration through jewellery design, and the strategies, investment and other conditions required to foster these new directions.

Also key to the exhibition will be examinations of the crossovers between the two categories, and the relationships between aesthetics and practicality.

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