The UJ FADA Department of Jewellery Design and Manufacture is widely recognised as one of the leading jewellery schools in South Africa. Farieda Nazier, who is head of the department, provided further insight into their vision for 2018 and the future.
Currently, 80% of South African jewellery is imported – of which the designs are generally appropriated from historical European ‘canons’. Also, the inevitable rise of the machines is creating a rift in terms of the viability of transferring jewellery crafting skills in its traditional sense. In addition to this, numerous recessions have had devastating effects on the luxury goods sectors. Subsequently, the size of the industry has reduced from approximately 3 000 jewellers nationally, to merely 800. Against this backdrop, the UJ FADA Jewellery Design and Manufacture Department has identified that a differentiated model of education is required to generate diverse opportunities for our graduates towards a more dynamic and resilient industry.
At present, the jewellery design landscape is not geared towards the harnessing of entrepreneurial thinking. As a result, many of our students are forced into retail and manufacturing careers, which in turn maintains the status quo of inherited design canons. This is counterproductive – as it has led to the lack of transformation in terms of leadership, the position of creative and novel design, as well as the development of a South African design identity.
Based on these realities, UJ FADA Jewellery Design and Manufacture Department has restructured the Diploma programme to incorporate a) a rigorous design curriculum (instituted since 2009) and b) pertinent elements of jewellery entrepreneurship (flagship content developed during 2017). These include the re-curriculation of the Design Management module framework, the introduction of a Retail Focussed Learning Unit, and the infusing of best practices throughout the Jewellery Practice module. In addition to this, the Gemmology and Technology modules have been redirected to encompass the implications of methodologies and skills taught on an entrepreneurial venture. The new direction aims to maximise economic viability through excellence in design. This innovative new approach to jewellery education will result in the 300 Art Ornaments Exhibition hosted by UJ Art Gallery from 16 May 2018.
The aim of UJ FADA Jewellery Department is to be the leading jewellery design department nationally and on the continent, by providing jewellery design programmes that are transformative in society and lead the industry. With the exciting changes in our offering and the additional enrichment elements such as the Contemporary Jewellery Forum, we can safely say that we are merrily on our way. For further information visit https://www.uj.ac.za/faculties/Pages/Jewellery-Design-and-Manufacture.aspx
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